Meet My Shopping Assistant - My Phone!

Meet My Shopping Assistant - My Phone!

You’ve probably seen me in your store a couple of times, with eyes glued to a four-inch screen and fingers tapping and snapping as I walk around. To say I am ‘in love’ with my phone would be an understatement – I am rather obsessed!  

I can assure you that I’m not the only Millennial who can’t imagine a life without my beloved smartphone. So, dear retailers, do you know what that means? If you want to engage with us, you need to speak our language – mobile. Why? Because whether we Millennials are just making an everyday purchase, comparing prices, curious about product details etc. we will always turn to our phones.

So, to be more specific: online presence is no longer enough, my generation and I want an integrated seamless experience across ALL our devices, especially our phones. We want you to invest in mobile solutions to improve our experience – inline (online & offline).

I’ll give you some tips and trends for you to consider if you want to reach my generation.

We are information hunters.

Times when a customer entered your store knowing less than the sales person is long gone. In fact, we pursue information on our palm-sticking devices all the time, anywhere and through different touchpoints: before visiting your store, while in your store and after visiting your store – and we will continue to do so.

Did you know that 79% of us turn to our trustworthy personal shopping assistant while we are at your store? That’s right. We go through your website, product reviews, content etc. – we’re not just texting and liking pictures on Facebook. And I can tell you we’re strongly influenced by what we find out about you and your products online. So much that it affects our buying decision right away.

I remember visiting my favourite cosmetics store to buy a liquid foundation the other day. At the store, I was looking at two different brands, trying to understand why they differed in price by $10 (the more expensive one coming in a smaller tube). So, I pulled out my shopping assistant out of my pocket to do a quick search for product reviews, right there in the store. Which one did I end up picking? The higher rated product, which was the more expensive one. Yet I realized looking back that I would have probably picked the cheaper one, if I didn’t have my smartphone on me.   

And my friends tell me many similar stories.

What can I say? We are just so focused on finding what’s right for us and sourcing information to help us with each and every decision. It's how we roll. With that in mind, it might be worth all your product information easy accessible?

Consider offering mobile applications that enable us to scan different items in your store, providing us with product information. And if you want to take it even further: product reviews, which holds a tremendous weight for us, because we trust the opinions of our peers more than the information on a branded website. 

Your website better be responsive.

According to Ian Carrington, Google’s mobile and social advertising Sales Director, more people in the world have access to a smartphone than a toothbrush! That’s a hard fact to swallow huh? Let me just say, I have both...

Having access to a smartphone, means we will use it. If you don’t see us standing in the store aisle tip-tapping on our phones, it’s most likelu because 87% of us have done our homework, when we were bored in class, stuck in traffic or couldn’t fall asleep at night.

But you still see us in your store, right? So, we are not only obsessed with the online world. Just a little... You see, we’re the generation who invented the ROPO effect (research online -- purchase offline). Even though we browse your product online, a big percentage of us are still making the final purchase in your store. What does this means for you as a retailer? It means your website has to be responsive on mobile.

What happens if your website is not mobile friendly? A big percentage of us Millennials might not be encouraged to interact with you. Trust me on this one. Have a responsive website to inspire us, one that reflects your product stories and provides valuable information. Because in the end, this will create further interests in your products and generate more visits to your physical stores.

Make shopping a personal experience.

This can’t be emphasized enough: Communication should be with customers as individuals! We’re not all alike, we have different preferences, different needs – so we want to be treated as individuals and not like a part of a segment.

Some of you retailers are getting it right, sending me personalized product recommendations on my laptop as I work or update my Facebook status. But have you thought about delivering the same personalized experience into your stores? Remember many of us still make the purchase offline.

Don’t worry. Physical retail is not dead… Yet. (thank God for technology!)With Beacon technology, for example, personalization is no longer a gut feeling. You can deliver a tailored connected in-store experience, by sending my friends and me relevant personalized promotions, offers and product news on our phones, based on our shopping preferences, as we move throughout your store. 

I must say, what I really like about beacons is that the technology anticipates which products I like, triggering offers I can’t ignore, leading me directly into the store to purchase a product (some which I probably didn’t even know that I needed). Rather than having a sales rep convincing me for a sale and leaving me with this “what-the-heck-are-you-trying-to-sell-me” feeling, I am greeted with products within my range of interest.   

I forgot my wallet… But don’t worry, I still have my phone.

I think it happens a couple of times, that I will forget my wallet. But as a Millennial, forgetting your phone is absolutely impossible. So guess what retailers? We expect to use our phones to pay for products at your store. If you still haven’t updated your point-of-sale systems to accept mobile payment, you probably should.

Again… Why should you speak mobile?

If you want to engage with me and other Millennial shoppers, you need to understand that we simply can’t exist without our phones, so it might be a good idea to look into how to enhance your in-store experience through the phone.

We are constantly looking for convenience and value the opinions of our peers. So make sure it is easy for us to pursue information before and while visiting your store. You can do that by offering QR codes or other methods to make product information easily accessible.

You should also consider investing in technologies, such as Beacons, which can be connected via Bluetooth and send your connected customers personalized offers inside and nearby your store. Remember to make mobile payment an option, just in case we forget our wallet!

To make it short you should start taking some language classes in mobile, because if you can’t speak our language, you obviously won’t be able to fully engage with us. And in today’s digital age, we expect you to speak mobile. Or more precisely, we demand it.