Building Strong Retail Relationships through Mobile Applications

Posted on November 26, 2012

We’ve just lived through another Black Friday and the impetus to buy products at the lowest price possible. But the current and prevailing economic climate has led consumers to change their purchasing behaviour.

Indeed, we are seeing an increasing number of people spending more on each purchase, but spending less overall. They are looking to buy better quality that will last longer, be more reliable and be more pleasurable to use. It’s possible to see this phenomenon in the increasing number of luxury cars on the road.

The impact on retailers is that the relationship they build before, during and after the purchase will become much more important. Purchasers of higher value items expect better service, and that promise of better service can help sustain higher margins and sales price. This is part of the reason that Apple is successful. Think of the difference between taking your computer to an Apple Store to be fixed versus Best Buy where you expect to be fleeced.

How can Mobile Help Retailers Build Relationships with Customers?

Mobile devices are the most intimate devices that we have. They are with us all the time, they are the device we turn to first when we need assistance, when we want to be entertained and when we want to communicate. Isn’t this the perfect place upon which to build a sustained relationship with your customers?

Of course it is. Throughout the purchase cycle mobile can be a source of product information, a channel for the customer into a retailer, whereever they are. Imagine, mobile enables your customer service people to be with a customer at any point. You can send to your customer pertinent information for their potential purchase, and have it accessible for them on their device. They can securely and easily communicate with a retailer on any question they may have, especially if they are in the process of comparing a product with another.

Effectively, mobile devices are enabling retailers to be with their customers at all times throughout the purchasing decision.

But mobile support doesn’t end just with the purchase, and in many ways it becomes more important afterwards as the purchaser can be supported and educated through the use of mobile.

Some products do require support. Cars, for example require service and maintenance. Other products require education for the purchaser to extract the most value and hence perceive the most value. Other products benefit when the purchaser feels increasingly good about having bought it. Participating in a community around that product can help that effect, driving future sales and word of mouth value.

The Future of Retail is Mobile

However mobile supports a product or a retailer, it’s clear that the future of retail, especially around higher-value products, is mobile. Retailers with a clear understanding of how mobile can provide value will be the most effective in this new future world, will loose less business through showrooming and will have stronger relationships with their customers.