Retailers must gear up for mobile influenced cross-channel sales

Retailers must gear up for mobile influenced cross-channel sales

Published on: August 08, 2014
Author: Lloyd Buxton - Business Development

Cross-channel sales, also known as web-influenced sales, are purchases that are touched by a digital channel but are not completed online.  According to US data from Forrester, cross-channel sales are becoming increasingly important and are worth four times more in total than online sales alone. In fact, the analyst estimates that cross-channel sales will reach $1.8 trillion by 2018.

A big part of this new trend involves people using mobile devices at the pre-shop phase to gather more information about products and comparing different options before they buy. Often this is while they are actually in-store ahead of making an online purchase. That’s not to say that mobile sales conversions are not rising also. According to UK figures from IMRG, much of the £91bn shoppers spent online in 2013 was driven by mobile commerce, with over a quarter (27%) of internet sales coming directly from tablets and smartphones.

So consumers are increasingly more inclined to both use their mobile devices in-store ahead of making offline purchases, as well as using their tablets and smartphones to buy online.

Consequently retailers need a clear mobile strategy that is integrated into the customer journey if they are not to fall behind. This isn’t just about retailers having a mobile optimised web site. Retailers need to think about the wider customer experience. Questions to consider include:

  • Do they provide free Wi-Fi in-store to make it easier to engage with customers on mobile devices?
  • Do they know the type of information in-store customers tend to look for on their mobile devices - and is it quickly available on their sites?
  • Are online assistants armed with up to date information?
  • Can customers scan barcodes for more information?
  • Do you provide money off coupons via mobile?
  • Is it easy for customers to see view social media conversations about specific products?

Looking forward, here are four key areas to consider, when developing mobile strategies that cater for cross-channel sales:

  1. Ensure frequently needed information, such as store details, product stock levels etc, are easy to find using small screen devices
  2. Help customers get fast answers to their questions by extending technologies such as web self-service and proactive chat to mobile
  3. Use the location information available for mobile devices to help give customers a more personalised experience
  4. Ensure mobile is integrated with other channels, such as the web and telephone, so customers are not forced to repeat themselves or re-enter information

The indications are that mobile-driven cross-channel sales are going to be the new normal.  Retailers must therefore ensure they incorporate it within their plans for developing the customer experience moving forward.

Tags: ecommerce, Eptica, Forrester, IMRG, mobile commerce, Mobile device, online shopping, retail, Smartphone
Categories: CRM, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, E-commerce, Mobile, Multichannel Customer Service, Retail

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