Merchant Innovation

Shoppers Say Personalized Mobile Experience A Must

Mobile devices are quickly becoming the main search tools for shoppers, and retailers are increasingly investing in ways to turn mobile searches into consumer benefits to drive sales. A new Retail Consumer Sentiment Survey published by Merkle Inc. shows that if a brick-and-mortar or online store makes purchasing totally mobile, as well as offering personalized coupons, shoppers will be more likely to spend, especially the young.

According to the survey, 67 percent of shoppers under the age of 50 stated that they want retailers to offer a totally mobile path for purchases, while 46 percent of that age cohort want personalized offers for in-store purchases on their mobile phones, resulting in an urgency to make deals specific to the store as well as urgency. For example, American Eagle has begun using Beacon technology in its efforts to geo-target consumers with specific deals on its mobile app as well as a chat function should they have any questions regarding sales or specific products.

“We have reached the point where delivering personalization does not just refer to content, but will also need to reflect time and location,” said Paul Schottmiller, senior vice president of strategy, retail and consumer goods for Merkle. “Consumers expectations are high and retailers have never had more options for using technology to deliver differentiated customer experiences.”

At first glance, it would seem like this would also be an opportunity for stores to capitalize on their existing loyalty programs, but less than a fifth of shoppers would consider loyalty programs a focal point for where they take their business. According to the survey data, this is largely due to loyalty programs being driven by prices and specific locations, part of the stand-alone tradition of American retail loyalty programs.

This is a market that Schottmiller believes is ripe for disruption thanks to increased emphasis on omnichannel and real-time rewards. The survey found that consumers who participate in real-time discounts can generate up to 10 times the revenue non-program consumers use, which illustrates the lucrative nature of mobile-targeted promotions. Another potential innovation could be the shift to coalition loyalty programs that use a set reward like gas discounts, which are popular in Europe and Canada.

The Merkle survey follows the findings made by other consumer surveys over the past few months.

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