Personalizing the Mobile Experience to Combat Showrooming

Retailers must embrace personalized mobile messaging in order to appeal to the connected consumer's desire to seek deals elsewhere, and override the growing presence of online competitors.

Today, the average consumer reaches for his or her smartphone more often than a glass of water. From perusing the Web to answering emails, society's screen addiction has also infiltrated the way shoppers behave in-store and online. Yet, while all retailers are aware of showrooming's potential threat to sales and revenue, such actions have become mainstream habits, making the typical shopper savvier than ever. Brick-and-mortar stores are thus beginning to recognize and adapt to the increased need for personalized mobile messaging in order to connect with consumers where, when, and how they want to be engaged.

Vibes' "2013 Mobile Consumer Report: Combat Showrooming with Personalization" examines how smartphones impact the consumer's path to purchase and shopping experience. The study, which polled 1,000 smartphone users across the U.S., explores consumers' attitudes and behaviors with regard to showrooming, as well as the average shopper's perspective on personalized engagement strategies and mobile messaging. The survey offers insights into how retailers can embrace these common habits in order to build and maintain customer relationships, so they may drive increased loyalty both today and in the coming year.

The following statistics demonstrate how smartphone usage continues to impact today's shopping experience and how personalized mobile messaging can enhance and strengthen the evolving customer relationship:

  • While 44 percent of those polled admit to engaging in showrooming tactics frequently, 36 percent claim to use their mobile device when shopping in-store more than they did two years ago.
  • To combat showrooming, retailers typically offer price-match guarantees (59 percent) and in-store incentives to ensure consumers convert and purchase in-store.
  • Consumers who use their phones to compare prices while in-store then use the information to either get a better price where they're shopping (37 percent) or purchase the given item online via Amazon (31 percent), highlighting the need for more aggressive in-store strategies.
  • Eighty-nine percent of consumers would sign up for mobile messages if they were personalized.
  • Though 35 percent of respondents believe retailers do a good job personalizing the mobile experience all or most of the time, 28 percent are typically dissatisfied with mobile messaging.
  • When it comes to opting into a retailer's mobile database, 79 percent of consumers are looking to receive incentives and coupons. However, 66 percent would unsubscribe due to too many messages or updates, and 56 percent would unsubscribe if the content weren't relevant.
  • Thirty-nine percent of consumers prefer personalized experiences delivered via mobile phone, 20 percent prefer personalization via in-store personnel, and 27 percent prefer a mix of both.
  • For 60 percent of respondents, the most important aspect of personalization comes from retailers that cater to the customer's preferences, including favorite sizes, brands, and shopping categories, while 20 percent value timeliness during the consideration process.

Key takeaway: Though consumers who remain attached to their smartphones may appear to pose a challenge to marketers working to cultivate and maintain customer relationships, such shoppers also bring numerous opportunities to the table. While mobile messaging has existed for some time, Mobile Relationship Management (MRM) now allows companies to bring technology, strategy, execution, and data together as they work to deliver personalized mobile experiences throughout the customer journey. With an endless supply of insights allowing marketers to put themselves in the customer's shoes, retailers can begin to understand what shoppers want at each point in the buying cycle so they may seamlessly integrate mobile with their omnichannel strategy, enhancing relationships and fostering loyalty every step of the way.