The interplay between digital marketing and in-store purchases is one that until recently has been left untouched on mobile apps. Mobile is for increasing mobile purchases; in-store sales are for increasing in-store traffic. Recently, though, mobile marketers have rethought this relationship: the two are hardly so mutually exclusive.
For companies that have numerous locations throughout the country, or even the world, delegating mobile marketing control to local managers can result in both higher mobile engagement, as well as in-store traffic. Say you’re in the corporate offices of Chicago. In L.A., you have a store manager or a hotel concierge who interfaces with your target audience on a daily basis. Corporate will want the ability to give permission-based login to the store manager so that they control their own target audience, and can drive in-store traffic through deals like ordering in-app and then picking up the product in-store. This increases mobile shopping baskets as well as in-store traffic in one fell swoop.
Mobile can also be used exclusively to drive in-store purchases. For instance, Sephora’s app asks user’s permission to track their location, and when they are in a store the app will offer discounts and deals specific to that location. It’s a similar idea to the airline app that gives partner discounts to hotels and restaurants in the city where the customer is traveling.
Sephora’s app also focuses on enhancing the in-store experience. A scanner in their app allows shoppers to scan the barcode on a product in order to see its ratings and reviews. The results from their mobile services were astounding, especially considering that they only launched their mobile app in 2010. Since then, mobile orders went up 167% in one year, traffic to mobile increased 75%, and loyalty members spent twice as much annually and purchased twice as frequently as other Sephora customers.
Sephora used their mobile app to both drive mobile traffic and usage and also to enhance the in-store experience. The results are increased mobile conversions and reduced logistics and hard-selling by in-store representatives.
Best Buy has taken a similar, but more direct route through mobile to increase store traffic. Their check-in feature rewards loyalty members for shopping in-store, based on a geo-fenced area around the location. The app also offers targeted offers and price comparisons within this geo-fence, enabling store managers to target locally.
This brings up an interesting conundrum for many store managers, though. How do you restrict your targeted audience? Should it be to people who are literally in the store? So do you restrict your local audience to people who have visited a location more than once in the last month? What is a “local” audience? The great part of audience segmentation and reporting tools is they allow you to A:B test with limited audiences and see how shoppers respond. These digital marketing teams should define specific audience sets then test, repeat, test, repeat. Soon, a coherent set of data returns which informs the digital marketer on how to move forward. These test can even be tied directly to revenue production.
Mobile gives corporate a fantastic opportunity to delegate to local managers, but defining what exactly “local” means is the real challenge to using mobile for in-store interactions. To get there, though, brands need to recognize that mobile doesn’t exist in the ether, but rather in real peoples’ hands as they move through different geographic locations. Tying the phone to its owner’s position results in better customer service, higher in-store traffic, and increased revenue. What a win.