By now we’ve been involved in well over 50 mobile retail projects ranging from fashion and accessories to cars and property. This has resulted in a wealth of information about what it takes to succeed in retail on mobile devices. Here are our top 6 tips:
1. Use Case driven
Forget about how your customers interact with your website from the desktop today. Start over by thinking about how customers will engage with your services on the mobile, in-store, outside of the store, on the way to the store, from the office, at home or while at dinner with friends in the future. Describe the use cases, test with customers and prioritize based on customer feedback and complexity. Use this as input to the functionality and look and feel of your mobile app or site.
2. Give users a good reason to sign up and drive loyalty and engagement.
One of the greatest advantages of an app is that it’s installed on the user’s phone. But this doesn’t help much unless the user is reminded about it. Almost all popular apps use e.g. notifications, reminders, weekly updates and offers to engage the user. Several recent studies point to the fact that a small group of customers make up the bulk of the revenue for most retail brands so make sure you take care of them. Get customers to sign up with enough information to personalize the communication and to opt in to notifications and news updates.
3. Interruption and distraction friendly
The fact that the mobile is always with us and used in conversations with friends, in front of the TV, in the queue, in a boring meeting and all kinds of other situations is both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand this means that there is an infinite amount of situations to use your app but also that there are always distractions. Think about how you can design and inspire a shopping user journey that thrives in interruptions.
4. Get your analytics in from the start and use to optimize
Analytics have a tendency to be the last thing on the requirement sheet and are frequently deprioritized and sacrificed for other functionality. But without analytics you cannot determine who is using your services, what they are doing, how often they return and what doesn’t get used. Always prioritize from the start and make sure you dedicate time to extract learnings from analytics.
5. Test, test and test with customers
I don’t think we can ever emphasize this enough. Testing with real customers as early as possible is the key to success for almost every project whether you call the methodology scrum/agile, MVP or use a more traditional model for specifications. Test every concept/use case with sketches, test mock-ups using prototyping services such as Prot.io. Test apps/sites from the first working delivery sprint and use the customer feedback as input to future sprints and roadmap. Try to test with customers within your target audience who are unbiased.
6. Personalize and segment the user experience over time
Usually personalization and recommendations is the first thing that every retailer thinks of thanks to Amazon; which has made personalization into a core differentiator. However, personalization can be very complex and expensive to get right. First you need to get the user to register (see above), build up a customer profile and have enough different products and services in the offering. Then you need to have an engine to analyze the data and serve up the right content including how you present it for each user. Finally you need to optimize the communication across different channels (e-mail, SMS and push notifications) to remind the user to come back and engage. Although there are lots of personalization and artificial intelligence tools available, most of them require between 6-12 months to set up, configure and optimize for a commercial launch. Our recommendation is to start simple with segmented personalization and then build out a more advanced personalization over time.
So there you go. Out top 6 tips to succeed with your mobile retail strategy.