Twas the weeks before Christmas and all through the towns, retailers are stirring over chaos all around. The shelves were stocked with ultimate care, in hopes that Black Friday shoppers soon would be there.
The holiday season is coming and brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the pressure to handle high store foot traffic and satisfy customer demand throughout the omnichannel path-to-purchase. According to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday, the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season, can account for up to 30 percent of retailers’ annual sales. To whip up a holiday buying craze with their customers, retailers are offering early bird promotions and discounts. However these strategies backfired last year, with Black Friday sales falling to $10.21 billion in 2015 — nearly a 12 percent decrease from 2014.
So how can retailers prepare for the seasonal rush and revive Black Friday? By providing the right offer to the right customer at the right time, contextual mobile engagement will boost brand affinity and create additional upsell opportunities for brick-and-mortar retailers. More specifically, we suggest the following proven mobile engagement techniques:
Create a seamless shopping experience
Stores will be packed throughout the holiday shopping season, from Black Friday through the New Year. To provide unique and enjoyable holiday shopping experiences while optimizing in-store spend, retailers should harness the power of smartphones to deliver location-driven welcome notifications, “right-time” customer service, and push notifications promoting convenient in-store services such as self-service kiosks and electronic check-out queues.
Personalized mobile engagement strategies enable retailers to streamline the in-store shopping experience for their customers, while also providing individualized services that promote brand loyalty.
Make-over your mobile app
With 88 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 – 65 using retail mobile apps, it’s imperative for retailers to optimize the functionality and user experience of their mobile app. By gathering contextual customer insights via opt-in mobile data collection, retailers can gain near-real-time information about their customers such as: dwell-time at a specific location, frequency of visits, mobile app downloads and on-device behavior, in-store device usage and much more.
Equipped with this insight, retailers can answer questions like: How long do customers stay when visiting my stores? In what areas of the store are they likely to “showroom” and leave?
Additionally, by knowing how and why customers use mobile devices in-store, retailers can improve the overall shopping experience and uncover missed engagement opportunities. More importantly, collecting and acting upon this kind of first-party intelligence will increase customer loyalty and the profitability of brick-and-mortar retail locations.
Offer Hyper-Personalized Discounts
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, retailers inundate shoppers with offers and promotions to maximize revenue derived from holiday shopping. To rise above all of the promotional “noise” during the holiday season, “right-time,” personalized promotions are absolutely critical. By providing each customer with convenient access to relevant promotions via smartphone, retailers can improve the fragmented omnichannel path-to-purchase for consumers while maximizing marketing campaign performance. Plus, by standing out with hyper-personalized interactions during the year’s busiest shopping season, retailers will make a lasting impression throughout their customer base – a benefit that should pay lasting dividends.
While Black Friday is still one of the busiest shopping days of the year, it has recently taken a hit with the rise of e-commerce. To recapture the attention of more digitally inclined consumers, brick-and-mortar retailers must revamp customer engagement and promotional strategies to reconnect with shoppers that look to digital options like Cyber Monday to save money and beat long lines.
Context-driven engagement via mobile apps will not only provide your customers with what they need when they need it most, it also provides rich insights into customer behavior that can be used to optimize in-store experience and future engagement campaigns. To revitalize the traditional sales boom associated with Black Friday and holiday shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers must continually exceed customer expectations and provide a compelling reason to leave home this holiday season.
How do you prepare for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season? Sound off in the comments below!