4 ways mobilecomm services help retailers reach customers

By Jonathan Crowl

| Retail

A smiling man and woman using mobilecomm on a smartphone while shopping in a mall

Bigstock

Whether shopping from the couch or at a brick-and-mortar store, consumers rely heavily on their smartphones to supplement their shopping experience.

According to Retail Dive, 58 percent of in-store consumers use their smartphones for product research, while 54 percent conduct price comparisons. Seeking out online coupons and accessing individual retailer apps are also key benefits of mobile devices for retail shoppers.

This reliance on mobile makes it crucial for retailers to develop a mobilecomm presence that turns individual smartphones into customized channels for engagement, communication and personalization. Similar to how chatbots have created new efficiencies when communicating with consumers via desktop channels, mobile communication channels are elevating the customer service experience by helping retailers respond faster and more accurately to customer needs.

Here are four ways mobilecomm services are helping retailers improve their communication with customers:

1. SMS messaging

SMS may not be as flashy as other forms of mobile communication, but its ability to reach consumers is hard to beat. When customers opt into receiving text messages from brands, those messages can be used for a number of promotional strategies, whether it’s delivering coupons, alerting consumers to flash sales or sharing links to the brand’s new retail app.

SMS messaging may be particularly beneficial to global retail brands, including brands serving regions where smartphone adoption isn’t as frequent as in more developed parts of the world. As Open Market reports, 84 percent of the world’s population has a device capable of receiving SMS messages, so this channel remains the most reliable in terms of helping brands reach mobile consumers. Meanwhile, its ability to promote other types of mobile content and communications channels makes it a worthy supplement to any campaign targeting greater mobile engagement.

2. Push notifications via mobile apps

A retail mobile app offers significant value that spans a wide range of benefits for retail brands. Communication with consumers is near the top of the list, largely because the app can support multiple forms of interaction. But arguably a unique opportunity for these interactions comes in the form of push notifications delivered to smartphone users.

Push notifications offer an expansion of the capabilities offered by SMS: Retailers can implement in-store beacon technology to deliver push notifications based on a consumer’s location in a store, and location data can be used to notify shoppers that they’re close to a nearby business location.

These notifications can then send consumers directly to the app-based store or to other content available exclusively through the app. In this way, retailers are able to encourage consistent engagement and communication with customers while strengthening the value of their digital assets.

3. Virtual shopping assistants

As shoppers turn to their smartphones to improve their shopping experience, virtual shopping assistants are on the rise as a technology able to improve personalization while leveraging user data to provide smarter, more responsive service. Virtual shopping assistants look and interact similarly to how chatbots do, but they’re connected to machine learning solutions and analytics tools that allow these interactions to be more intuitive and personalized over time.

As The Drum reports, retail brands such as H&M and Sephora are already using virtual shopping assistants to provide one-to-one shopper support that cultivates a more rewarding customer service experience.

4. In-store digital signage

Faster in-store wifi is helping retailers leverage digital signage as a responsive, engaging communication channel. Digital signage can elevate the shopping experience by improving navigation in a store or simply alerting customers to limited-time offers. Responsive signage can even be connected to real-time inventories to inform customers about the availability of an item in the retail store’s back room — or to immediately tell shoppers if the item they want is available at another store location.

Ultimately, digital signage could leverage in-store beacons to provide responsive communication to individual shoppers as they pass by a display, changing quickly to a different message when other customers approach. The goal is to use these signs to assist customers before they experience friction in the shopping experience and to guide them toward experiences and purchases they may not have discovered on their own.

Mobilecomm in retail makes good business sense

Mobile communications are vital for any retailer seeking to stabilize their brand in the face of expanding online retail giants. By leveraging first-party data to improve personalization, retail brands can use better communication to improve their customer relationships and see repeat visits and increased loyalty.