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Mobile's Role in Omnichannel Retailing

BAMBORA OPINION

11 December 2019

Victoria Galloway

The mobile experience is quickly becoming the new norm thanks to emerging digital trends. It is omnipresent, carried everywhere, used anywhere and unifies all the other channels. More and more retailers are developing mobile apps, which have opened up a world of opportunity to appeal to mobile-first and readily adaptable consumers.

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Consumers have been omnichannel for a while. It's retailers who need to play catch up.

An omnichannel strategy is about making shopping experiences as seamless as possible by unifying your channels to create one, consistent brand experience instore and over web, mobile and tablet.

Mobile is the pivotal piece of the omnichannel puzzle and has completely changes consumer behaviour and expectations. It is omnipresent, carried everywhere, used anywhere and unifies all the other channels. It is the only true omnichannel device. If there's one experience you'll want to get right, it's mobile!

In this post we'll look at how important mobile is for retailers, how businesses can improve their mobile offering and the associated benefits of creating a frictionless mobile - and unified shopping - experience.

HOW IMPORTANT IS mCOMMERCE IN TODAY'S ONLINE WORLD?

According to the latest PayPal mCommerce index, one in four shoppers in Australia will purchase items from their mobile phones and 55% of Australians shop via mobile at least once a week.

Research from Statista reveals that by 2023, about 37% of online payments in Australia will be processed via digital wallets. AliPay, Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal are all on the rise.

The mobile experience is quickly becoming the new norm thanks to emerging digital trends. More and more retailers are developing mobile apps, which have opened up a world of opportunity to appeal to mobile-first and readily adaptable consumers.

Mobile is part of our routine

The same PayPal index sheds light on consumer mobile shopping behaviour. While shopping on the go is popular, it's not as popular as shopping in our downtime. Turns out we do most (68%) mobile shopping while we're relaxed on the couch, followed by when we're watching TV (40%) and in bed browsing at the end of the day (38%).

Mobile is also where consumers are more likely to make spontaneous purchases.

Mobile is a big indicator of consumer buying behaviour

Mobile if the unifying force in a connected world. While online retail accounted for 9% of Australia's total retail spend last year, more and more consumers are choosing to complete transactions via their smartphones - up 28.8% from last year.

For consumers, the biggest drivers behind mobile commerce are its convenience, simplicity and time saving qualities:

  • 58% of consumers pay bills via mobile because it saves them time
  • 51% find it easy to make payments via mobile
  • 40% use mobile to purchase items they want immediately

MOBILE CONNECTS ONLINE AND INSTORE SHOPPING

There's no more online vs offline. For consumers, the merge has already happened.

The omnichannel consumer wants to use all channels simultaneously. Digitally savvy consumers are entering stores already well-informed about products, features and prices - and 45% expect store staff to be just as informed about online products.

The importance of mobile for retailers operating over multiple channels is firmly established. According to Retail Dive, 87% of shoppers start product searches online and 71% of shoppers use their mobile devices in stores.

For price comparisons, product reviews, product information and payments, mobile offers consumers a convenient path to browsing and purchase.

How can offline and multichannel retailers bring the mobile experience instore?

Achieving an omnichannel customer experience doesn't happen overnight. But mobile isn't going anywhere. For retailers on a path towards connecting their channels, leveraging customer behaviour instore can pay off.

  • Offer reviews at the point of sale: retailers, like book sellers, with reviews and ratings on their websites can easily bring this information into stores to help push products
  • Make sure you have a mobile site or app: consumers will always pick up their phones instore, so persuade them to visit your site
  • Mobile vouchers: allow online voucher codes to be redeemed instore and do some cross-selling when consumers arrive
  • WiFi and efficient customer targeting: instore WiFi services provide an easy way to capture customer details and target them with offers

OPTIMISING YOUR MOBILE APP FOR OMNICHANNEL

Research from eMarketer reveals 90% of all time spent on mobiles is spent using apps. Create an innovative mobile app, or be left behind!

The mobile app has become a vital part of omnichannel strategy. It compliments the online and offline experience, drives eCommerce and helps connect brands with customers.

A truly omnichannel strategy should integrate with a mobile app. Here's three ways your brand can create a more holistic approach to mobile:

  1. Personalise the mobile app experience: consumers use apps because they're convenient and more likely to be tailored to them. Ensure you're providing highly personalised experiences that delivers the right messages, at the right time and to the right person.
  2. Have the ability to track mobile behaviour: these days, we all complete tasks going from one device to another. This includes online shopping. Truly get to know your customer by capturing valuable data directly from their mobile device. This will enable you to trigger automated, and specific, communications.
  3. Leverage data from all your channels: mobile app data doesn't begin and end with mobile. Once you've received and analysed mobile data, you must apply actionable insights from other channels to create the best way forward. Combining mobile data with other channel data will enable your business to adapt quickly to consumer behaviour and meet the evolving customer experience.

BENIFITS OF AN OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE

At this point it's important to distinguish the difference between an omnichannel and multichannel experience. All omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multichannel experiences are omnichannel. A multichannel experience is worthwhile, especially with it involves mobile marketing, engaging social media platforms and a fantastic website but if those channels don't work together, it doesn't add much value to the consumer.

An omnichannel experience focuses on personalising experiences for the user. It uses consumer perspective and delivers interesting and effective brand experiences.

  1. Strong brand identity: unifying your channels enforces a consistent brand image, from browsing through to checkout.
  2. The opportunity to personalise all consumer touch points: consumers want to engage with your brand in different ways across different platforms. Habits and preferences vary from channel to channel. Omnichannel highlights these factors and allows retailers to tailor communications.
  3. Your customer sits at the core: omnichannel strategy will always put your customer first.
  4. Enhanced customer experience: 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience. Omnichannel uses data to analyse consumer behaviour and aims to eliminate effort from shopping.

IMPROVE YOUR MOBILE OFFERING WITH BAMBORA

Google report that omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop over one channel.

At Bambora we undertstand that you don't 'go omnichannel' in a week. Channels need to be un-siloed and connected - this can take years of operational changes. For retailers looking to start the path to a connected customer experience, start by improving your mobile operations: ensure your mobile website is healthy, your online and mobile payment pages are optimised and function effectively and you're gathering customer data. Interesting in finding out more? Get in touch!


About the author

Victoria Galloway has been writing and producing in the payments and eCommerce space for a number of years, both in the UK and Australia.