How can I use mobile technology to encourage people to buy in store?

Retailers can create apps or use in-built smartphone technology to drive sales

A lot of retailers are nervous of customers comparing prices on their mobiles while in store. Retailers need to get ahead of these consumers and convert them into purchasers before they’ve bought something from a competitor while under their roof.

Sarah Cantillon, client services director at mobile marketing agency Movement, says mobile coupons and sales promotions are perhaps the biggest opportunity.

Free Wi-Fi in store could be a good first step, and will also allow retailers to target showrooming customers by offering mobile coupons for purchasing items there and then.

She adds: “Retailers should also get creative. Meat Pack, a sneaker store in Guatemala, created an add-on called Hijack for its loyalty app. Every time your GPS showed you entering a competitor’s store, the app counted down how quickly you could run back to Meat Pack, offering an in-store discount that decreased by the second.”

There doesn’t always have to be a specialist app – retailers can come up with ideas using the technology already available in smartphones.

Retailers can trial a programme at a select number of stores rather than having to launch it across every branch, because mobiles have built-in location information.

Cantillon adds: “Retailers are just scratching at the surface. We’re looking at a world where customers can purchase physical items with their mobile phone, through mobile payment, on the shopfloor. There are already self-checkout apps, like AisleBuyer, that support this.

“But what retailers shouldn’t do is try to ban or discourage mobiles in store. That will only turn customers away.”