Retailers told to go mobile for sales success
Experts have urged struggling retailers to turn to digital technology to drive both online and in-store sales.
Shoppers have embraced mobility, with a NetSuite and Australian Retailers Association study showing 52 per cent of consumers now use a smartphone or mobile device at some stage of their shopping journey.
But chief executive of digital agency Bonfire, Clay Cook, told Marketing & Media retailers were being left behind. Just 30 per cent of them offered a mobile website.
“Digital doesn’t just drive e-commerce, it also gets consumers into stores, ” he said.
Australian retail spending is now about $24 billion a month. The trend nationally is for increasing retail turnover, though Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for March show turnover in WA down 0.3 per cent.
Having a digital presence can make all the difference, Mr Cook said.
“A recent Google study showed customers want more information and customised experiences during their in-store shopping visit, ” he said. “In fact, two in three customers are not finding the information they need while visiting a store.
“One in three shoppers prefer to use their smartphone to find additional information rather than ask a store employee for help.
“These insights present a huge opportunity for Australian retailers to improve the in-store shopping experience of their customers with the help of digital.”
Mr Cook said Officeworks understood how digital could drive in-store sales, citing the Wesfarmers-owned stationery chain’s “product availability at a nearby store” feature on its website.
“It understands its customers don’t have time to waste when stocking up on office supplies so they also offer free in-store pick-up, ” he said.
“In the US, big retailers like Macy’s, REI and Sephora are ahead of the pack by connecting digital traffic and foot traffic.
“Dick Smith is one Australian retailer that understands the connection between digital and in-store. The iPhone app allows customers to scan and buy instantly from magazine and newspaper ads, catalogues and in-store.”
Mr Cook acknowledged developing and maintaining a full inventory app was a huge investment.
“But it’s time and money that is likely to be well spent, ” he said. “Today, the app market has matured to the point where app usage currently sits at 86 per cent of all mobile activity.
“It’s a market that is also saturated with developers who build apps specifically for small business, so getting an app up and running could be easier and more affordable than you think.”
Mr Cook said the key was to “be clever and spend your budget wisely on activities that are going to give you the best bang for your buck”.
© The West Australian
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