As a person changes, so do their habits–which means it shouldn’t surprise anyone that shoppers are demanding quicker, more instantaneous in-store experiences. Do me a favor and think back to the last time you went shopping. How long do you typically spend in an aisle? If your shopping habits are anything like mine, it’s never more than a minute or so before you’re hurrying on to the next aisle, nose buried in your grocery list. In fact, 80 percent of the time we spend in a supermarket is not associated with us engaging with and buying products–most of our time is spent moving about the store from one shopping event to the next. On average, shoppers spend about 41 minutes in the grocery store during a trip, so it’s important to make those minutes count.
This change in consumer behaviors isn’t all bad, though, because it points us straight to the next consumer trend that we can capitalize on: meeting today’s on-the-go shoppers on mobile. Shoppers are craving a new (and more digital) experience when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Just like in other parts of their lives, consumers are actively on their mobile devices while in store. In a survey done by Research Dive, consumers identified that not only were they using their phones in stores, but shared what exactly they were using those phones for. Fifty-eight percent of consumers research the products they are considering, 54 percent price check items, and 40 percent access and download coupons. We talk a lot on the blog about touchpoints in the customer journey…and these shoppers have literally laid out their touchpoints for us! Now, it’s time to take jump on this opportunity and use mobile to really enhance each of these moments.
Although providing an integrated mobile and in-person shopping experience should be at the top of the agenda, it’s important to do it right so the experience doesn’t feel disjointed. You may be thinking that the only way to integrate mobile in your shopper’s experience is with a traditional native mobile app…but not so fast! The average smartphone user has 100 apps on their phone, yet they only use about 40 of these on a monthly basis. And, as we touched on before, most of the time spent in stores nowadays is hurrying from aisle to aisle, which means we’re hard pressed to stop mid-grocery run to search for, download, and engage with a native mobile app. So, how do we interact with shoppers on mobile in a way they actually will buy into, in-stores? We have a few ideas:
- Responsive Website
Having a mobile version of your website is no longer optional. Consumers aren’t dragging their laptops to your store to engage with your brand in the aisle…but they do have their phones in their pockets! Which is why your mobile website should look and act like it was made for mobile. Enter: responsive web design, which is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. These websites are accessed through a URL and are easily found via a search engine.
- Progressive Web App (PWA)
PWAs are often seen as the best of both worlds between a mobile friendly website and a native mobile app. They have the ability to integrate with the native hardware on the user’s mobile device–which allows for super rich, app-like functionality like push notifications, camera integration, and geo-location. The important difference here? They are hosted in the cloud and can be saved to the home screen just like a mobile app–but unlike native apps, PWAs skip that annoying app store download process, meaning your users can engage with an app-like experience without any of the friction of a download.
- Cloud-based Mobile App
The future of mobile apps is officially here. Cloud-based mobile apps take PWAs to the next level. These PWAs can be activated instantaneously using smart activation methods like NFC, QR codes, or text codes–so it’s easy for shoppers to quickly engage with amazing mobile experiences while they’re flitting from aisle to aisle. (Imagine the possibilities of including a smart activation method on a shelf or floor talker! Your engagement rates would skyrocket compared to asking shoppers to download an app.)
For today’s on-the-go shoppers, mobile is a non-negotiable. But the friction of finding, downloading, and engaging with native mobile apps leaves CPG brands with big mobile investments that see underwhelming results. It’s time we start thinking differently about how we engage shoppers in the aisle–and it has to start with more accessible and engaging mobile experiences.