Leveraging mobile technology in unique ways
October 23, 2013

The growing popularity of smartphones and tablet devices among U.S. consumers comes as a boon to most retail organizations. Businesses can gain unique opportunities to maximize revenue and retain a larger number of customers when they invest in technology that makes it easier to accept mobile payments.

Acquity Group, a digital marketing agency, recently released the results of a survey examining shopper preferences in today's increasingly digitized retail environment. The report, titled "Desktop vs. Smartphone: Technology's Impact on Omnichannel Behavior," interviewed more than 1,500 smartphone users about how they use their mobile devices to interact with brands. According to the study, businesses shouldn't simply focus their efforts on investing in dynamic electronic payment systems. In fact, there are a variety of other strategies store owners can use to supplement transaction processing capabilities.

The importance of in-store Wi-Fi
Mobile technology doesn't just apply to payment portals on the back end of retail operations. Consumers are now using these tools to research products, compare prices and find coupons and other discounts. The Acquity Group survey concluded businesses should leverage these trends to make the integrated shopping process as convenient as possible. For example, the report found 50 percent of smartphone owners would feel more confident making a large purchase if they had the ability to further research the product using free Wi-Fi within the store.

"Retailers are looking for ways to increase in-store sales, while also pushing online spend[ing] in an age of showrooming, but several are eliminating some of the best opportunities to drive a greater amount of in-store revenue," Chip Knicker, vice president of eCommerce at Acquity Group, stated in a press release.

Offering in-store Wi-Fi can even encourage shoppers to purchase more items than they originally intended. Thirty percent of respondents said they would be more likely to browse additional items that weren't on their shopping lists if they could access the Internet from their smartphones in store.

According to CMS Wire, an online customer experience publication, the availability of free in-store Wi-Fi can also complement a store's existing gift card programs and loyalty programs. A reliable Internet source will likely encourage shoppers to participate in these rewards initiatives. Integrating loyalty programs with mobile technology also makes it easier for consumers to shop with their favorite brands through their preferred methods. Ultimately, businesses will be able to experience an increase in profit margins as they are suddenly able to process payments from a variety of channels.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2