Mobile Retailing 101, p.2

What is mobile retailing?

Simply speaking, mobile retailing is the act of taking the ecommerce we’re all familiar with from shopping the Internet on a personal computer, and applying it to mobile devices. Of course, there’s a bit more technology that goes into it since we’re dealing with a handheld device. But the main idea is to eliminate the need for a PC and be able to market to your customers any time of day or night since most people always carry their phones with them. Let’s look at some individual components and the different ways in which they are used.

  • SMS short message service) marketing is exactly what the name implies—short messages (texts) sent to the customers you target. Once you start building a list of opt-in subscribers, you can send texts (sparingly) to announce store promotions, deals, coupons and any other alerts that might entice a customer to come in. Many companies are skilled in preparing you for a SMS campaign when you’re ready.
  • QR (quick response) codes work just like a barcode, allowing users with a QR-scanner application installed on their phones (free to download off the Web) to scan the small code and pull up information via their phones such as product information, a website, instructional videos and more. Manufacturers have started adding these codes to productsso that customers can learn more right at the point of purchase; you can easily generate your own codes and use them to lead customers to your website, special product promotions and more.
  • Mobile applications, or apps, can most easily be compared to software for a computer. There are hundreds of apps available that help users be more productive or organized in their lives. Check into existing shopping-based apps to see if your store shows up, and consider contacting an app designer to create your own app that ties into your store.
  • Location-based/geo-targeted mobile marketing uses GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology to pinpoint customers and allows you to market to them where they are. If a customer is in your neighborhood or walks through your door, you can instantly send her a coupon or a notice about a special promotion.

How can mobile retailing help my business?

In this age of information overload, mobile marketing reaches consumers where they are—everywhere! Another study by ABI Research predicted that 7 trillion text messages would be sent during 2011; Nielsen Mobile reported that the average consumer sends 600 messages per month. No other advertising medium provides access to the consumer 24/7 with the same instant results. And a 2010 study by Borrell Associates found that mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more often than their print counterparts, which could translate into a boost in coupon redemption at the cash register. This is just the tip of the iceberg as mobile POS systems make their way into stores along with self-assisted ordering and cashless payments.