Mobile Engagement Drives Retail in 2018—And Beyond

Brian Gallagher

I had the pleasure of attending the Global Retailing Conference at the University of Arizona in April.  After sharing ideas with hundreds of retailers, it was clear that there are two trends leading retail’s path to success: mobile engagement and data analytics. The two go hand-in-hand.

I was blown away by some of the data behind this trend. Global giant Alibaba notes that 75% of all Alibaba ecommerce purchases made in China happen on a mobile device, and this is expected to reach 90% in 2020. Neiman Marcus has provided every associate an iPhone and designed custom apps for training and engagement with a spin toward the personal shopper experience—positioning themselves as a leader in customer experience.

As a retailer, you must define your mobile engagement strategies before doing anything else. How will you engage, train, and communicate? At Connection, we’ve partnered with Bigtincan to help retailers enable hardware solutions and develop engagement tools. As a former retailer, I sure could have used a partner like Connection to help support my retail business. Our experts can help you determine:

  • How do I actually deliver a world-class Wi-Fi experience to my employees and guests?
  • How do I maximize security across my devices?
  • How do I decide which device is right for my store?
  • How can I take existing legacy applications and make them mobile?

It is critical to develop a clear path to success for your business. This path starts by understanding the customer and the value they expect from a shopping experience. A New York Times study noted that the average American looks at their smartphone every 12 minutes. From similar studies, we can learn a lot about what consumers and employees expect from mobile engagement today:

  • Customers want to feel supported by knowledgeable associates. According to a recent Zebra Vision Study, 60% of customers say they feel better about employees that engage with a mobile device. The customer knows the employee has information at their fingertips.
  • Customers want to purchase from a human being. Accenture notes that 83% of consumers still prefer to complete a purchase from an associate if given the choice.
  • The average retail associate (Millennial/Gen-Z) has barely lived in a world without mobile devices. This vital employee and customer base lives in a mobile world and expects the same experience when engaged with a brand.
  • Customers want a personalized experience. The old saying of “treat others as you want to be treated” is no longer relevant for retailers. The truth is we must treat each customer how they want to be treated as individuals. Mobile shopping puts this power in their hands.

Mobile technology is only going to grow in importance to the retail experience. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to define your mobile strategy and work with a partner like Connection to effectively and securely deliver an amazing experience to every customer.

Brian is the Retail Strategy & Business Development Director at Connection. Brian joined Connection in 2016 as the Retail subject matter expert (SME) after leading National Store Operations teams for more than 20 years. Brian has a deep understanding of today’s Store Experience and Customer Engagement solutions requirements and works collaboratively with customers and partners to create complete business solutions to drive customer engagement and revenues. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling with his wife and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.