5 Ways to Engage More Shoppers and Increase In-Store Sales

Why do up to 80% of shoppers walk out of stores without making a purchase? Equally important, how do you convert them?

The question weighs on retailers, but most aren’t equipped to answer it. Traditional receipt-based surveys can tell retailers what made 20% of their customers buy. But receipt-based surveys can’t help retailers reach shoppers who walk out without buying. What’s more, they can’t help retailers directly engage their mobile-savvy millennial and Gen X consumers at the decisive moment in their shopping experience. Real-time mobile customer engagement solutions change the game by offering retailers a means to connect and communicate with all shoppers, understand why they don’t buy and turn them into loyal customers.

Why real-time mobile customer engagement matters

Recent studies show a positive correlation between engaging with shoppers and increasing in-store sales conversion rates. A report by Kurt Salmon determined that by engaging with 30% more shoppers, retailers could increase their conversion rates by 50%.

The key for omnichannel retailers is to create more opportunities to engage and communicate with in-store shoppers in real time. Connecting associates with shoppers at the decisive moment in the shopping experience can help retailers convert more sales and create more upsell opportunities. These interactions also uncover operational issues that hinder the shopper experience. By addressing customer questions and concerns in real time, retailers can improve customer satisfaction, increase same-store sales and generate new revenue opportunities.

A failure to engage: Where receipt-based surveys fall short

Traditional receipt-based surveys aren’t operations-oriented and are not designed for real-time communications. They don’t capture or address concerns that can arise when a shopper ponders a purchase in a store. The main purpose of receipt-based surveys is to collect data that can help retailers react to trends and bolster their marketing campaigns.

Insights from survey data come too late to influence shoppers’ buying decisions, address operational issues or enhance the shopper experience in real time. Shoppers who complete surveys typically do so well after they’ve left the store. It can take months for retailers to collect responses, analyze data and extract meaningful insights. Retailers can try to apply these insights to shopper interactions, but they’re always reacting based on aggregated data. And aggregated data won’t help them connect with shoppers and showroomers on a personal level, engage them in meaningful conversations or turn them into customers.

The narrow scope of receipt-based surveys limits opportunities for engagement. At most, surveys target the 20% of shoppers who make in-store purchases. But growing survey fatigue continues to drive completion rates down. Even with prize incentives, fewer than 1% of in-store purchasers — the vocal minority — take the time to respond to receipt-based surveys. What about the other 99% of buyers? And what about all those shoppers who walk out without buying?

Engaging a new generation of mobile-social consumers

Mobile devices and social media give a voice to the silent majority. A study conducted by Motorola Solutions revealed that 81% of millennials and 73% of Gen Xers use mobile devices for shopping. This behaviour highlights a new culture of connectedness, brand co-ownership and immediacy. Mobile-social consumers feel strong bonds with their brands. They want a say in these brands in exchange for their loyalty. And when they shop, they expect to have their questions and concerns addressed on the spot, while they are in the store.

Omnichannel retailers want to capitalize on this cultural shift and connect with mobile-social consumers. Mobile customer engagement solutions help retailers succeed by giving them a means to focus staff attention on each shopper’s experience as it unfolds. Instead of reacting to aggregated receipt-based feedback, retailers have the opportunity to connect shoppers with associates, establish a real-time dialogue and resolve their concerns before they leave the store. These connections can be made in person, through a call centre, via a mobile website or over SMS.

5 key benefits of mobile customer engagement

Real-time mobile customer engagement solutions empower omnichannel retailers to connect and communicate with shoppers on their own terms, in real time, using their choice of media. These solutions help retailers achieve five key outcomes that aren’t possible with receipt-based surveys:

  1. Connect with all shoppers — Mobile customer engagement allows retailers to communicate with buyers, showroomers and non-buyers during their experience. The ubiquity and ease of use of mobile-based engagement generates high response rates (15% to 34%) compared to receipt-based surveys (<1%).
  2. Improve operational excellence— The real-time operational capabilities of mobile customer engagement solutions make it easy for shoppers to get help and offer valuable insights on products, prices, selection and service. Retailers can use shopper input to motivate employees and improve operations before the next shopper walks into the store.
  3. Create a private, shopper-led dialogue— Mobile customer engagement solutions foster two-way dialogue between the shopper and the retailer. The shopper gains a chance to be heard. The retailer gains an opportunity to respond in real time to satisfy the shopper, convert a sale, resolve an operational issue and build a customer relationship.
  4. Drive real-time action and resolution— Mobile-based engagement empowers associates to take responsibility for the customer experience. Staff members (associates or call agents) are notified when shoppers ask for help — and armed with operations-oriented tools and insights that can help solve the problem and convert the sale.
  5. Pre-empt negative reviews— With mobile engagement solutions, retailers can connect with shoppers privately and resolve issues before they reach social media. Real-time action can help retailers overcome negative experiences, draw out positive reviews, and inspire new levels of brand evangelism.

In-store mobile use is a central part of the shopping experience for millennials and Gen Xers. For omnichannel retailers, the mobile device represents a promising new medium for connecting with — and winning over — these prized demographics. Real-time mobile customer engagement solutions offer retailers the means to use the mobile device to communicate in real-time and forge stronger bonds with mobile-social shoppers. By adopting real-time mobile customer engagement solutions, retailers can increment the value of receipt-based surveys and realize a tangible return on investment through improved customer satisfaction, increased in-store sales conversions and new revenue opportunities.

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