Back in January @ryankim of GigaOm posted some new stats on how shoppers use their smartphone while in-store to collect product/price information. Kim stated that 33% of users do this and I’m sure this number will continue to grow based on increasing smartphone adoption and increasing consumer sophistication.
What does price transparency and real-time product information mean for brick and mortar business? It means you better get smart, real quick. The first trick is to code “location determination” into your mobile site by asking them if they’re willing to share their location. (I’ve been recommending this for a long time and now I have a shiny new reason for this.) Once you know where they’re located, you can address their needs. Below are two potential scenarios:
Scenario 1 – A potential customer is in the store of one of your competitors and is researching a product you both sell. (You know this because they’ve opted to share, their location when they come to your mobile site.) When the request comes in from the smartphone, their location is known and your system provides them with a slightly different version of your site. When the user searches for and finds the product – because your site search is just that good – you highlight price matching or a more compelling offer if they come in within the next hour.
Scenario 2 – A potential customer is in your store researching your products on your site. You know they will soon be on your competitors site, so you go with the “Progressive Insurance” model and give them prices/etc of your competitors. If you have price matching for these items; you let them know. If you don’t; your system provides them with a complementary offer.
And now for a spooky example of what you could do . . .
Scenario 3 – A rewards customer is in your store and is researching competitors for better deals. You know this because you offer free WiFi (w/ a unique ID) as apart of your rewards program and they’re utilizing that to save on their minutes. When someone accesses the site from inside your store the person’s rewards information, including picture is sent to a sales associate and they find the customer to offer them something to stay. (Yes. This could be very creepy but sales associates will be trained to “happen to show up” at the right time.)
If you really think that your rewards points users are loyal and would NEVER do this, think again. Who doesn’t have mileage plans with every airline?
Now if you’re in retail, you’re thinking: who has money to do this? The answer is: You do. If you want to stay competitive. This behavior is not going away and if you don’t get flexible you’ll lose market share. This is different from the “should I launch a website?” from 15 years ago. This impacts your in-store revenue. It won’t be easy, but start . . . now!