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Mobile Insight for Retail: Smarter Stores at your Fingertips

This post is guest authored by Peter Krensky, Research Analyst & Business Intelligence at Aberdeen Group.

Retailers are using mobile devices to collect, analyze, and present data on everything from customer preferences to sales patterns. Aberdeen’s Mobile Retail study gathered data on the motivations and implications of mobile and tablet strategies in the retail market.  According to Aberdeen’s research, only 14% of retailers have had mobile initiatives in place for more than five years, suggesting a low process maturity curve. Still, steadily growing adoption rates in recent years demonstrate that mobile technology is consistently delivering quantifiable benefits in customer experience, sales, and operations.

Aberdeen asked retailers what their foremost goals and desired outcomes were for customer or employee-facing mobile functionality (Figure 1). The top two goals both revolve around leveraging mobile insight to boost sales.  Forty-two percent (42%) of survey respondents expect mobile technologies to improve cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Mobile insight in the hands of a sales associate empowers that individual with a tailored approach to each customer. Associates will maximize opportunities with customers by guiding them towards the ideal products.

The other top goal for mobile technology is increasing top-line revenue. One way to boost revenue is superior inventory management. Mobile devices can provide mangers and associates real-time actionable information on store operations. An alert can go out to all store employees before an impending stock out. Other such alerts can go out to the appropriate staff member whenever a critical task needs doing. Stronger, smarter operations will drive desirable revenue numbers.

Figure 1: Top Goals Motivating Mobile Technology Investments in Retail

Finally, 38% of survey respondents cited improving customer retention as a top goal. Associates armed with mobile insights create a better overall customer experience. This level of intelligence enables associates to provide a helpful, personalized experience that makes customers want to come back for repeat business. Associates carrying knowledge on consumer preferences and trends in their hands will close more business with more customers.

Mobile insights for retail won’t appear overnight. Here are some steps that retailers have taken:

  • Identify the readiness of stores for implementation of mobile and tablet commerce. Develop best practices for stores and personnel to fully leverage mobile functionality. Define the service culture and lay out process transformation needs for all stores. Finally, maintain associate training focus at all times to ensure devices are used to their full potential.
  • Measure, track, report, and enhance internal and external mobile, tablet, and device-centric retail results by using an analytics application. Identify trends in customer behavior, satisfaction, and inventory and convert that insight into intelligent action. Applying knowledge of online commerce behavior and in-store performance analytics is a good place to start.
  • Develop in-store extensibility for mobile and tablet initiatives. Identify all in-store customer service touch points and associate use cases (e.g. POS system, store / inventory locator, location-based promotion finder, guided navigation, product information, loyalty program integration, and check-out using all tenders).

Smarter stores and customer management are within reach for retailers, they just need mobile tools and solutions to bring insight to their fingertips.

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