All of our web site designs are "responsive" meaning the screen display adapts to the screen size of the device on which it is displayed.
We could not have said this any better. This recent article below by Patricia Mejiapresents one of the best statements of why your small boutique store, independent party system, needs to embrace current technologies to get customers into the store and buying.
The latest mobile shopping trends you can't afford to ignore
It seems like every year we need to forget everything we know about mobile buying behaviors -- because they're always changing. This year especially, they seem far more complex, with consumers using multiple devices to get the kind of information they want, when they want it.
Last year, our own research revealed increases in the rate of smartphone conversions, tablet conversions, consumers who prefer to shop via mobile apps, and increases in the popularity of incentives like special offers and loyalty benefits.
This year, the data reveals a different story. Based on our most recent industry insights, we see five trends that reveal surprising changes in how consumers are using mobile.
Marketers who fail to keep their finger on the pulse of consumer preferences will lose out on big opportunities to build lasting connections, trust and loyalty.
Shoppers prefer mobile websites -- unless apps are faster
Tablet and smartphone users prefer to use mobile websites to browse product information and/or to make their final purchase rather than using a mobile app. One explanation is that mobile websites provide more information than in-app experiences. While consumers value simplicity when it comes to apps, they also need enough information to make their experience worthwhile. Sometimes dumbing down functions and/or information limits consumers who feel constrained when they want to use an app to browse and explore.
It's harder to get shoppers to download an app
Special offers and loyalty benefits are no longer as compelling as they once were. Rather, mobile users value speed. Insights reveal that speed is the number one characteristic that would encourage a person to download an app, even over a more streamlined check-out process and other perks.
Online shoppers love to "piggyback" devices
Mobile experts say that mobile conversions might be down this year because people are taking different routes to purchase. For example, experts suggest that people might use their desktop or laptop to browse products because pictures and product information are easier to view and read than on smartphones and tablets. Consumers might have a mobile coupon that is only good in-store, or perhaps they prefer to speak with a customer representative and then buy online to avoid long wait times at the register.
Consumers have a multitude of ways to buy, but it's clear they are maximizing their devices in a way that offers the fastest and most convenient path to purchase.
Day-to-day utility trumps sexy features
People are using mobile for simple tasks -- such as finding product information, store hours, and store locations. Mobile consumers value immediacy and hassle-free shopping, meaning that finding products easily makes their shopping experience more enjoyable.
Using smartphones and tablets for utility functions are common, according to Pew Research Center. A recent report says that people are using their mobile phones for quick tasks, short searches, brief references, and entertainment on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Pew data shows that people who used their cell phone and smartphone in the last 30 days used them for what they call "just in time" activities, such as setting up a meeting, solving an unexpected problem, finding information to settle an argument and deciding whether to visit a particular business, like a restaurant. People want to find the right information at the right time.
In addition to utility functions, we noticed that people like to see user ratings and reviews -- however, they don't necessarily need the ability to share news of their purchases with their friends. In other words, the social aspect of their actions isn't as important to them as it once was.
Cross-channel integration is critical
Mobile is an integral part of the in-store experience. Companies that can successfully bridge the offline and online experience will have the best chance of building lasting connections with shoppers, enticing them to engage more and longer with their brand.
A recent Forrester report shows that 75 percent of marketers consider digital marketing to be a highly effective brand-building tool. However, less than 45 percent actually have all-inclusive strategies in place.
Bridging the offline and online experience requires marketing teams to think about their digital properties holistically. Recall the old adage, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Marketers who think of mobile as just a bolt-on strategy -- or that create an app that works independently of their digital properties -- are not maximizing the sum of these channels.
Marketers should ask themselves how mobile can create different levels of conversation and uncover hidden needs that strengthen connections between their company and their customer. They should examine where digital connection points exist now and where they want these points to be, given that mobile is the default device preference for the majority of consumers.
Understanding your brand's relevance in the mobile landscape along with customer preferences, frustrations, and values will undoubtedly result in greater customer loyalty and higher profitability across all your digital channels.
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9 ways mobile and social tech improves the retail shopping experience
With the continued growth of ecommerce and in-store comparison-shopping via mobile devices, it’s become harder for many bricks-and-mortar retailers to get customers to make on-the-spot purchases. However, instead of seeing mobile and ecommerce as a threat, some savvy retailers have embraced the adage “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
So how are these bricks-and-mortar retailers using mobile and social apps to their advantage – and what can you do to keep consumers from going elsewhere to shop? Follow these nine suggestions to make the sale.
1. Provide free Wi-Fi. Consumers want to use their phones to shop (or while shopping). And if they can’t use their smartphones or tablets in your store, they are likely to leave. So consider providing free Wi-Fi.
“Retailers should look to deploy secure public wireless networks that support consumer apps that drive engagement with mobile shoppers,” says Greg Griffiths, vice president, product marketing, EarthLink, which provides managed network, security and cloud solutions for multi-location retail and service businesses. Using Wi-Fi and beacons, “retailers can interact with mobile shoppers while gathering information on who's in the store and how long they stay to learn more about shopping patterns.”
Moreover, “a recent IHL Group study showed
2. Station self-service kiosks around the store. Not every customer has or wants to use her mobile device when in a store, which is why retailers should consider self-service kiosks.
“In-store kiosks that integrate with the [retailer’s] point of sale system and online store can show customers what options are available online and in store, and even direct them to where they [can find items] within the store,” says Andrew Van Noy, CEO, Warp 9, digital commerce, mobile and security experts. “In addition, these integrated kiosks could make product recommendations that may have not been previously considered.”
3. Showcase user-generated content next to products. “Bazaarvoice research shows that mobile shoppers who view consumer-generated content [have a] 133 percent higher conversion rate,” says Lucas Tieleman, director of in-store product innovation at Bazaarvoice, which provides user-generated content marketing solutions. “Using a mobile phone's geolocation features and beacon technology, brands can push relevant product reviews to a consumer's device in their exact moment of need, enabling the consumer to read reviews from likeminded shoppers and make a more informed purchase decision.”
Similarly, “retailers can take a page from the Target and Macy's playbooks and draw attention in store to items that have been featured or highly popular on Pinterest [or Instagram],” says Michelle Stinson Ross, who handles social media outreach at AuthorityLabs, which provides search engine rank monitoring software. “Take it a step further with pins that demonstrate how a product can be used.” For example, “a cake pan can be featured in a creative summer recipe. A scarf can be featured as a way to change up several outfits.”
4. Create a branded retail mobile app that can be used in store to provide shoppers better service. “When a shopper enters a physical store, encourage them to launch a branded app to see available loyalty credits, view products they tagged as favorites and get suggestions on products based on their profile and past purchases,” suggests Tom Redd, global vice president, strategic communications, SAP. “This connects shoppers with products matched to their preferences, and helps them find new products to complement ones they already own. This is highly effective in fashion, but also tools, electronics and housewares,” he says. “After purchase, shoppers can use the app to post purchases to social sites for extended marketing reach.”
“Retail mobile apps allow customers to opt-in to sharing personal information in exchange for receiving more knowledgeable customer service,” says Alison Clark, product manager, RhoMobile, an enterprise app development platform. For example, “Neiman Marcus is finding success with its NM app, [which provides] store associates with information like a customer’s shopping history, product preferences, location and Facebook profile image,” she notes. “Associates can then locate and greet customers in store, and provide smartly tailored offers and product recommendations.”
5. Offer mobile coupons to customers while they are shopping. “Shoppers [often] forget they have mobile coupons while they are in a store aisle,” says Liz Crawford, senior vice president, Insights & Strategy, and head of ShopLab, a division of Match Marketing Group. However, apps like “Target’s cartwheel have successfully overcome this issue.” Target shoppers unaware of sales or promotions “can grab a discount on the spot by scanning a code on the endcap at Target stores [with cartwheel],” she explains. Then “the shopper’s cartwheel account code is shown, via smartphone, at checkout.”
Another popular in-store rewards and deals app is shopkick, whose retail partners include Macy's, Target, Best Buy, JCPenney, Kraft, Unilever, P&G and many others.