Mobile technology has created the most demanding and powerful customer the world has seen, Ryan Craver, SVP strategy and emerging brands at Lamour, said Tuesday during his keynote at the CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit in Chicago. What that means, he said, is that retailers must connect with customers on their turf, which is social media via smartphones.
“Mobile is present in all (customer) experiences,” said Craver, who prior to joining Lamour was in charge of the core department store strategy at Lord & Taylor/Hudson’s Bay Co. He believes three components are necessary for a successful mobile experience. Retailers must:
- Create intrigue.
- Provide immediacy.
- Create frictionless experiences.
The most important aspect of creating intrigue is to understand where traffic originates, said Craver. When it comes to general searches, Google is where people start their searches, followed by Safari, Chrome, map searches and voice searches.
When it comes to shopping, however, it’s a lot different. The No. 1 engine people use to begin their searches for products is Amazon. Google is No. 2, which is followed by eBay, Wal-Mart and Target.
The way to create intrigue is to be on as many as those channels as possible and personalize the experience and messaging by using technologies, including beacons and banners, Craver said.
“There’s nothing worse than receiving an ad that has no context behind it,” Craver noted, citing Facebook's success of using gender, age and interests to generate customized ads for its members. Despite the "creep factor," users have come to expect the Facebook ads and don't mind them because they are well targeted, meaning they are seeing ads for only the products that intrigue them.
“You need to provide intrigue because there’s a lot of crap out there,” Craver said.
Customers want what they want when they want it, so a mobile app must provide immediacy by allowing a customer to be as self-sufficient as possible, Craver said. Restaurants have been some of the first to adopt this approach; Taco Bell, for example, allows mobile ordering and payment, and when the customer gets within 500 feet of the store, the order is dropped and customers choose via the app if they want to pick it up in store or via curbside. This gives the power to the customer and will often result in them spending more money because they can order at their own pace.
Other examples of immediacy include Amazon’s one-hour and same-day shipping options and Sears’ automated pick-up option.
Create a frictionless experience
A frictionless experience is imperative when it comes to offering a solid mobile experience, considering that by 2020, 80 percent of all adults worldwide will have smartphones and often use them to make purchases.
Customers already become annoyed when they have to enter their credit card information when shopping online.
“It’s not fun; it sucks,” Crave said, and the retailer who fixes that problem will win the sale, he said.
There are a variety of platforms businesses can tap to provide customers with a frictionless experiences. A few include:
- Seamless, an online and mobile food-ordering service that allows users to order food for delivery and takeout from restaurants.
- Cover, an app that allows customers to easily split the check at restaurants.
- Happy, an app that gives users limited-time discounts and allows them to organize happy hours and invite their friends.
- Reserve, a digital concierge to help users book tables, order and pay without talking to a server.
There are also the bigger mobile payment players – Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, etc.
“These are big-time platforms providing reach and audience that have transacted with customers already,” Craver said. “If you aren’t on them, then you are doing self a disservice."
Cherryh Cansler Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com. www