It’s no secret that as the technological world advances, the retail industry becomes increasingly competitive.

Whether that’s online retailers providing same-day delivery to customers or shoppers using smartphones to compare products in-store, the use of mobile plays an influential role in enhancing the customer experience. To succeed, retailers must keep evolving to be winners in the industry—but how?

The last decade alone has shown large shifts in customer behaviour and how retailers think about the customer journey. When thinking about mobile strategy, retailers shouldn’t lose sight of how it aligns with their overall digital strategy and user experience. It’s important to consider if the introduction of a mobile strategy fulfills what your shoppers are looking for.

Before deciding on a mobile strategy, use your CRM tools to look at past information on your customers to forecast your business strategies.

You might find you have different types of shoppers: the shopper who knows exactly what they want in-store, the shopper who prefers to window-shop for hours before making a decision, or the shopper who prefers the convenience of ordering online and picking-up the product in-store.

Whatever customers frequent your store, capture what they’re looking for and when they’re looking, in order to use mobile to further personalize their experience. Whether that’s through using geolocation for proximity-based coupons or identifying micro-moments throughout the customer’s journey, the timing of when to target your customers is incredibly important.

Here are a couple of companies I think do this really well:

Starbucks


What was the business problem to solve? 
Starbucks delved into how their consumers behaved and found that they normally stop by the shops between travelling to and from their homes and the office. The coffee chain giant wanted to remove friction between consumers and their expectation of quick product delivery.

How was mobile used? Starbucks introduced one of the first apps that enabled consumers to order their caramel macchiatos over their phones before walking into the store, allowing them to skip the line and pick up their order without waiting. The customer experience was enhanced by creating more touch points between the Starbucks brand and the consumer. By knowing the schedule and purchasing behaviour of their busy customers, Starbucks saw when to target them and how to personalize their mobile app experience.   

Nike

What was the business problem to solve? Nike is another example of a company that uses digital solutions to provide personalized experiences to their customers’ needs. Aside from just offering athletic apparel, Nike wanted to add technology to expand how their customers experience the Nike brand as a lifestyle.

How was mobile used? Nike introduced the Nike+ app that’s a one-stop shop for training advice from professional athletes, personalized and hand-picked product recommendations from Nike experts, and direct access to online Nike stores. Nike used the data and information gathered from their target customer base of athletes to create a community of users that resonate with the Nike brand.   

The retail industry is a fairly advanced domain in the mobile world compared to other industries, but with the speed and pressure to keep up with the advancing world, it’s important to remember that technology is just an enabler to an overall strategy that’s fulfilling a business need. Don’t forget about your company’s brand and what your customers are wanting from you—keep their experience in mind and stay consistent in what you promise.

For retailers and customers alike, attending the 2017 Mobile World Congress is a great opportunity to learn about the latest mobile technologies and trends, and how they are used to extend and improve the customer experience. The conference will be taking place towards the end of this month where leaders of large and growing companies will be sharing their thoughts on upcoming mobile trends. I’m excited to be representing Aequilibrium and heading to Barcelona to hear world-renowned speakers discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the mobile industry. If you’re attending, I’d love to hear about specific sessions that you’d recommend checking out!

Posted by:Adrian Moise

With a track record for building and leading high performance Agile teams and delivering great software products and engaging user experiences, Adrian’s focus has always been on delivery excellence. Adrian is the Founder and CEO of Aequilibrium—a Vancouver-based digital product development and design agency dedicated to creating winning web, mobile and IoT solutions. Adrian also makes a mean espresso and can teach you a killer chess move or two... in English, French, Romanian or Italian.