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Leveraging Online Shopping Tools To Boost Sales

By Nick Nayfack

Smartphones have been widely adopted by Americans, with 58 percent of the population owning one.(1) The average American spends 3.3 hours per day on his or her smartphone, doing everything from consuming media to engaging on social media platforms.(2) Smartphones have also influenced and changed how your customers interact with your business. But what are some of the ways they do this? Here are five smartphone-powered behaviors to consider.

Showrooming
Showrooming is when a customer uses a mobile device while in-store to research the price of a product online. Oftentimes this method is used to locate an online store with a cheaper price so the product can be purchased at the lowest cost. Because eCommerce businesses don’t have the same overhead costs as physical stores do, showrooming can eat into brick-and-mortar businesses’ profits. Be aware of how your prices stack up against online retailers by showrooming for the items you carry.  Also consider what value-added services you can offer exclusively in-store that online vendors can’t. For example, free tailoring or hassle-free returns.

Special Offers, Coupons, and Discounts
Special offers, coupons, and discounts can all be sent directly to smartphones. Consider using technology that can send these directly to your customers via email, social accounts, and text messaging.* Using digital bar codes can facilitate their use and make it a natural part of the point-of-sale (POS) checkout process. Some businesses have taken this a step further by employing indoor positioning systems to identify customers when they enter their stores and sending customized offers directly to their smartphones upon entry.

Shopping Apps
A well-designed shopping app can give your customers a new way to interact with your business. The shopping experience can either be conducted entirely online via the app or complement your brick-and-mortar location by allowing your customers to comparison shop, check inventory availability, and/or purchase online with in-store pickup. Another way to bridge the online and offline shopping experiences is to allow customers to shop online and return in-store, so they can conduct the refund/exchange process in a face-to-face environment. It’s another touch point for your brand to interact with your customers and enhance the overall shopping experience.

Mobile Payments
Smartphones can now replace your customers’ wallets, too. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay® and Google Wallet™ allow your customers to pay at the point-of-sale simply by bringing their phones in proximity of a Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled POS terminal. Supporting mobile payments gives your customers another way to interact with your business through their smartphones.

Social Media Sharing
When customers get a great deal or has a less-than-ideal experience, sharing their positive or negative feedback is possible in real-time from their smartphone. From social platforms to online reviews, news about your business can quickly spread. If your business is active on social media, be sure to regularly monitor your accounts and proactively respond to unsatisfied customers. And don’t forget to respond to the positive reviews, too. Active and consistent engagement via social media can be a powerful way to communicate with and serve your customers though new communication channels.  

How are smartphones impacting your business? Talk to us today.
 

1 Pew Research Center, http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/, 2014.

2 Penny Stocks Lab, http://pennystocks.la/blog/golden-age-of-mobile, 2014.

Apple Pay® and Google Wallet™ are registered or unregistered marks belonging to one or more unaffiliated third parties that do not endorse or sponsor Vantiv Integrated Payments, LLC.

* The foregoing is provided for information purposes only and without analysis of applicable state or federal laws, rules, or regulations that may apply to your use of electronic communications or social media with your customers.  Please consult with your own legal or other advisors for advice on compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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