It is one of the great ironies of multi-channel retail: once a consumer enters a store, where the overwhelming percentage of overall retail sales occurs, the retailer loses visibility to the consumer’s experience with the brand. Countless fortunes have been spent to lure consumers into the brick and mortar, yet the retailer has very little idea what happens once they enter the front door.
In mobile, as with any new and engaging medium, the rush to create the newest bright, shiny object is the natural inclination. Mobile application functions designed to leverage location identity, camera-enablement, accelerometers, and instantaneous brand to consumer communications have provided entertainment and engagement for shoppers.
Functions like location-triggered proactive communications, on-premise check-in, and QR code scanning provide that bright, shiny object appeal that is the initial allure of any new communications medium. What has been ignored in the rush to consumer engagement, however, is how the medium can provide retailers with the tools to measure and glean important insights in terms of how shoppers interact and behave in store.
The ability to illuminate the black box of the in-store experience can be facilitated by mobile devices and applications. A glimpse into a prototypical shopper engagement lifecycle through various mobilized touch points produces a wealth of valuable information on in-store behaviors and the measurability of the effectiveness of the store interaction.
KPI One: Measuring the Efficacy of Brand Communications
Measuring the effectiveness of communications designed to drive store traffic has historically been an exercise in extrapolation. The concept of store check-in allows marketers to more efficiently close loop on the effectiveness of such messaging because check-in confirms the intended behavior has occurred. The check-in is a powerful trigger in the in-store mobile engagement model. It alerts the retailer that a shopper has entered one of their stores and provides an opportunity to reward that shopper with loyalty program credit for their visit or perhaps push a time-sensitive promotion to incent positive purchase behaviors. Many retailers already accept mobile promotional offer redemption at point of sale, which provides increased measurability of the success of their mobile communications.
KPI Two: Measuring Product Popularity Through Mobile Focus Groups
Bar code and QR code scanning capabilities in branded apps or third party apps have become fundamental functionality. The power of allowing shoppers to conduct product research and solicit experience feedback from their social sphere through the scanning trigger instills the consumer confidence necessary to help drive positive purchase behaviors at the brick and mortar level. Again, however, this only tells one half of the story. The insights retailers collect through the analysis of scan behaviors can provide measurable data on product popularity. Armed with this behavioral data, regional and district level management can make more educated decisions on product placement in-store, and buyers at the corporate level can leverage trends analysis in popularity to guide sourcing and buying decisions from a more educated perspective as well.
KPI Three: Measuring Individual Store Performance
In the eCommerce arena, the concept of site encounters or the solicitation of product experience feedback via consumer reviews has provided insights into how to improve site performance.
Store surveys have existed in a manual format for decades to solicit feedback on the shopper store experience. Mobile, however, represents a medium capable of collecting instantaneous commentary on store performance and empowering retailers with mobile focus group analytics. Through location coordinate tracking capabilities embedded in mobile apps, sensors can identify that a shopper who has subscribed to the retailer’s branded app is leaving a store and can trigger a solicitation to participate in a short survey about their experience. This instantaneous feedback loop provides authentic performance analysis and supplies regional and district level management the analytics required to make necessary improvements at the store level.
In our haste to create the next new bright, shiny object in mobile application design and development, focus should be given to analyzing shopper behavior in terms of how they engage with the brand as well as with product at the store level. Mobile devices and apps can provide the ability to gain insights that drive improvements in-store, where the magic of the retail experience occurs. The question is, is anyone listening?