It's the dawn of a new mobile era for shopping

While most of us were still enjoying the January sales, a number of known and loved brands announced their collapse.

Many of us were particularly surprised and disappointed by HMV’s demise, even though alarm bells had been ringing for some time. As most of us have nostalgic affection for the brand, perhaps we took it for granted that it would always be there.

But it’s the result of consumers’ evolving shopping habits. Smartphones, tablets, apps, and cheaper online alternatives take the hassle out of shopping and save money.

However, for retailers who embrace the new ways that people are shopping, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

For many consumers, bricks and mortar stores have become showrooms; somewhere they might go to demo or try on products. Often, they’ll have already researched the products they’re interested in online. And once they’ve physically seen the product, there’s nothing to stop them leaving the store and making the purchase on a tablet or smartphone – and that purchase could be from a different retailer altogether if it’s cheaper.

From our work with retailers and from running our own 450 stores, we know that mobile plays a big role for many of today’s shoppers. Here are some tips to engage the mobile generation:

  • Ensure customers can reach you through every channel – in store, mobile, online – and provide a seamless experience across each channel.
  • Use apps to provide in store offers and drive footfall into physical stores.
  • Roll out free in store wifi so customers can easily use their apps on-premise.
  • Use the in store wifi and arm staff with tablets or smartphones so they are better equipped to help customers and quickly answer any questions.
  • Using insights from the in store wifi data trail, retailers can build a truer picture of their customer preferences, helping to create more targeted offers.

Debenhams did it. They decided to trial O2 Wifi in three stores. The results were one million downloads of the Debenhams app and 250,000 barcode scans in store via the app. Now, 30% of the retailer’s website traffic comes from mobile devices and the store has launched free O2 Wifi throughout all its 167 shops.

Fiona Lay, Head of OnlineDebenhams, said: “We’re seeing the shape of shopping in the future emerging right before our eyes… free wifi in stores has the potential to transform how people shop.”

To be part of the High Street revolution, visit o2.co.uk/enterprise/our-solutions/joined-up-customer or call Matt Worth on 01235 433507.

Read our recent article ‘How digital is paving the way for the future of High Street retail.’