A Look at How to Drive Shopper Engagement Via Digital Technology
It's official: Digital technology has permanently altered the retail landscape. To examine why and how, Synchrony Financial took a deep dive into this reality with its current report, "Driving Shopper Engagement Through Digital Technology," which includes data from the 2016 Synchrony Financial Digital Study.
The study, which gathered insights on mobile adoption and digital usage, found almost 70 percent of U.S. consumers now shop digitally. In addition, it saw increases in the use of digital and social tools in almost every category. In the report, Synchrony laid out five key digital technology insights, and then outlined strategies retailers can use to help drive shopper engagement through them. What follows is a list of the five insights and highlights around the strategies. Enjoy!
Insight No. 1: Overall adoption of smartphone technology has continued to increase, driven by Gen X, baby boomer and silent generations. Given this reality, the report suggests that retailers "create a digital experience using responsive design to make it easy to view on a smartphone, tablet or laptop." It also suggested creating "content that's intuitive and easy to read," and that readers take security seriously. "Ensure strategies are in place that protect the privacy of the customer."
Insight No. 2: Mobile technology for shopping-related tasks increased dramatically in almost every area of the retail experience. Since consumers are shopping more frequently with smartphones, the report recommends that retailers ensure that the experience for them "is intuitive, frictionless and fun." It also suggests retailers communicate brand values through social media channels, YouTube videos and influential bloggers, as well as design apps with high functionality.
"The best shopping apps authenticate with a thumbprint and don’t ask the customer for the same information every time they engage. Biometrics makes this possible."
Insight No. 3: Providing mobile offers drives shopping behavior. Since consumers are becoming much more open to retailers using text messaging and location-based offers to communicate discounts and promotions, brands should create personalized offers through their apps or via text messages, as well as allow customers to set up mobile alerts when items become available or go on sale, the report said. What's more, retailers should pay close attention to the customer experience.
"There needs to be synergy between the mobile experience and native app," the report said. "Too many steps to access the offer leads to lost sales."
Insight No. 4: Mobile wallet awareness has skyrocketed, but regular usage has lagged. Since many shoppers have only recently become aware of mobile wallet functionality, it will take some time before they feel comfortable using the technology. To encourage shoppers to use mobile wallets, the report suggested that retailers give them reasons to do so, including providing offers or a unique value proposition to load their credit card and try the wallet.
Insight No. 5: Social media is now a significant sales driver, and the rise in social media influence is apparent in all age groups. To meet the needs of consumers that rely on social media more and more, the report suggests that retailers maintain a social media strategy tied to brand identity.
"This strategy should feature helpful content, not just a sales pitch," the report said. "Social media content that makes an emotional connection to the brand is the most successful." Synchrony also suggested keeping social media engaging by creating games and encouraging social interactions while customers are in-store.
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.