A Stranger Comes to Town: How Mobile is Influencing Shopping
Mobile at Retail
Molly Garris | Digital Strategy Director | Arc Worldwide
Bryan Gailey | VP Retail Design Director | Arc Worldwide
Hi - I’m Bryan Gailey and I’m Molly Garris and we’re here to today to tell you a story. We call it “A
Stranger Comes to Town”.
This is a story about Mobile, Retail, and Shoppers. Is it a business story?
This story is both.
This is a story of love and desire. Friendships made and torn apart. Winners and losers. Power.
Money. and Satisfaction.
you’re in it.
What’s more, you’re in it. Our question is, where will you end up when each chapter is written?
(cue ominous dramatic music)
Our story opens with two characters: a Retailer and his beloved shopper
“I’ve got what you
Their relationship is good, but not always stable. And our Retailer is always trying to ﬁnd new ways
to keep her love.
Then one day, a stranger comes to town - he calls himself Mobile!
He has powers and capabilities that make him the big new player on the block. (click) He tempts
the Shopper with exciting, new ways to get what she wants from her favorite brands and stores.
He's a ﬂirt.
And he’s ALWAYS with her. 24-seven. He even sleeps over at her house!
And . . . to make matters worse, he even shops with her, accompanying her into the Retailer’s own
And with the help of the seductive Amazon Price App, he could transform that store into a mere
product showroom, where she, the Shopper, could touch, test and try things on, but then purchase
them somewhere else entirely!
Because of Mobile, what happens in retail
no longer stays in retail.
So because of Mobile, what happens in retail no longer stays in retail. (Molly makes a snarky
remark . . .)
Because of this, the Retailer, the Shopper and Mobile ﬁnd themselves in an awkward menage a
“If I could just wrap up
my entire store in tin foil,
I could block his signal...”
The Retailer tries to think of smart, traditional tactics to romance his shopper and keep her. (click)
He thinks - “If only i could wrap my store in tin foil . . . then this whole problem would go away . . .”
Other retailers, noticing that their Shopper being promiscuous, try to do the same.
Their friend Target, had just taken some bold action. Target, in a letter to suppliers, threw down a
gauntlet. “What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-morter stores as
a showroom for their products and undercut our prices . . .” Target then talked to suppliers about
creating exclusive product and competitive pricing . . .
Would it work? Perhaps. But this was a new kind of battle.
It would take new kinds of weapons to win. And it would take a new strategy.
The retailer thinks: “Mobile is my enemy. But . . . he can also be my friend. Is he my new
“he’s just a tool”
The retailer continues to think, “I must engage him, and make him work for me. After all, he’s just a
“he’s a tool
But my shopper is passionate about him - that’s how he lures her.
“I must work that
to my advantage”
The retailer was determined to ﬁnd an upper hand and work it to his advantage.
“I can help you”
Soon, the retailer feels something vibrating in his pocket - it’s his phone . . . it’s Mobile. Mobile is
calling to offer his help. He’s not such a bad guy after all -
“sure, I’m just a tool”
“Sure”, Mobile says, “I’m just a tool, . . .
“but I am always
with your shopper”
but I’m always there with your beloved shopper . . . . every step of the way”
“And since I'm always with her, here’s our plan - and here are my eight acts of shopping. There’s:
Help Her Prepare, Invite Her Inside, Show Her Around, Help Her Decide, Encourage Her to Share,
Make the Transaction Easy, Make Sure She’s Satisﬁed, and Invite her Back. Each one of these
steps provides opportunities to speak passionately and differently to your shopper and make sure
First, there’s Help Her Prepare - in the old way of doing things this was making a list or clipping
coupons out of a circular. And you can even do these kinds of things in the notepad on your phone
- but it’s still basically just a list - how can we add make your shopper passionate about her
Allow shoppers to browse the Weekly Ad,
create a shopping list and manage coupons
When it comes to grocery shopping, she rarely leaves the house without her list and coupons.
Retailers like Kroger know how easy it is to forget the list and coupons and have built an app that
allows her to browse the weekly ad, create her shopping list and even add deals to her Kroger
card, all saving her time, money .. and piece of mind that she won't forget her list!!
The list making process may not
necessarily start on a mobile phone –
consider your shopper’s journey.
And while Kroger has the perfect on-the-go solution, Target has been thinking about the shopper
journey a bit differently. They realized that with the uptick in tablet adoption, many shoppers start
their journey 'leaning back' - maybe browsing Target's Weekly Circular on their tablet. With the
Target tablet app, shoppers can begin building lists - weekly trip, Bridal Registry, etc. and once they
get into the store, they have the same lists sync'd to their phone. With the Target app or mobile site,
they can see all of their items and even identify if a product is in stock and where it's located inside
The next step in her shopping progress, or act, is to “Invite Her Inside” - think of a sandwich board
on the sidewalk or a roadside sign - the most basic way to invite her inside is to tell her where you
are located and hope she’s interested. McDonald’s does this basic function on their store-ﬁnder
app. But how can a retailer take this to the next level and give her something more than just an
Reward shoppers for coming into
your store or for trying clothes on.
Sure, you can invite her in with a 'BIG SALE' sign but modern techniques are starting to emerge.
For example, American Eagle Outﬁtters has partnered with an app called ShopKick. When
Shopkick users open their app, they see which stores are around them and while stores, like
American Eagle, will reward them for walking into the store. Even more, shoppers who try on
clothes at American Eagle can scan a barcode in the ﬁtting room to earn even more rewards.
into your store when
they come within
a certain distance
from your store.
Or forget opening an app and to locate rewards. Some retailers are sending the rewards to right to
shoppers via text message.
Once a shopper has opted into the program, technology called 'geo-fencing' allows retailers to
trigger these text messages when shoppers come within a certain distance to the store. Let's watch
a quick video of how this works for DDR properties ..
Cool, right? Even better:
Placecast, the company powering the technology:
53% of participating shoppers have visited a speciﬁc retailer after receiving a location-based alert
22% of consumers reported making a purchase after receiving an offer
That is amazing participation, though we can credit them to being very far down the purchase
funnel since they are nearby and likely in the shopping mindset.
The third act of shopping is to Show Her Around - to make sure she knows where to ﬁnd things
when she’s inside. Traditionally, environmental graphics would do the trick for this - and even
though they communicate to the shopper, they rarely speak personally to her. How can we make
our shopper feel more personally connected to the retailer while she’s ﬁnding her way around the
Give her tools that help her ﬁnd what she’s looking for
Superstores like Meijers understand the massive layout can make ﬁnding items a bit tricky.
Thankfully, apps like Meijer's Find It help shoppers locate products' aisle location and even helps
set a parking reminder.
Plus up that experience with new technology
like Aisle411 that actually maps your shopping list.
The plus up to being able to locate a product in-store is rolling out nationally in the form of an app
called Aisle411. Shoppers can open their app, identify the store they are shopping at and the app
can map her entire shopping list. Additionally, if she's looking for meal items, over 130,000 recipes
are in the app to inspire her .. and of course drive basket size for the retailer.
Aisle411 is doing a great job of helping the shopper truly love both her using her Smartphone but
also the grocery shopping experience.
Use iPad retailing experiences to show her more choices and customized solutions
Another way to 'show her around' is by installing a tablet in-store. For example, Clinique, as shown
here, has installed an iPad retailing experience that helps her identify her skin type and makes skin
care regimen suggestions. This is great for a busy shopping day where she may not be able to
speak with an associate right away.
This is a trend we are starting to see emerge quickly. All Saints, Guess, Eastern Mountain Sports
stores are also piloting iPad solutions that help her style an outﬁt and identify other additional
colors / sizes or options that may not be in stock at the store.
Our 4th act of shopping, Helping Her Decide, used to rely on an informed salesperson or an
authority, like Consumer Reports. These days, not so much . . . sales associates are stretched thin
and sometimes woefully uninformed . . . and shoppers are less inclined to go to them for guidance -
but shoppers still need help, and, most importantly, they are looking for help that they can trust.
Use technology to make product comparison simple
In the past, stores were able to staff expert associates in each department but with today's
economic challenges, this is becoming less and less of a reality. Best Buy's was an early innovator
on mobile. They added QR codes to each of their in-store product tags. Using the Best Buy app,
shoppers could scan the QR codes of up to four different products and see the products compared
side-by-side. This allowed their shoppers to feel empowered and knowledgeable about not only
choosing the selection on sale but ensuring clarity on features they might gain / loss. Another
example of truly winning her love.
Spend some time in your store or in your
consumers’ shoes to understand their needs.
But what's interesting about Nordstrom, is that they didn't just copy Best Buy's solution. To
understand how their customers shop and what their needs were in the apparel category,
Nordstrom's Innovation Lab spent a week in-store watching people shop for sunglasses. They
quickly developed an iPad solution prototype that would address their shopper insights and
Provide customer feedback or
expert tools that help her decide
And while tools can be built for 'Helping her Decide', don't forget to tell shoppers about these tools
while they are in-store. Sephora started placing occasional customer review tags around shelves
that would direct shoppers to their mobile website for more reviews - absolutely great idea! But they
also have other great tools with their app, like the 'Try It On' tool that allows her to view different
OPI nail polish shades against her own skin tone. Again, these are great tools to help her make a
selection if an associate is not available.
Price comparison apps can be an opportunity
I realize that on the spectrum of mobile being a 'Frenemy', most retailers would rank Price
Comparison apps like ShopSavvy and RedLaser as purely the Enemy .. but these can provide
opportunities to both the retailer and the shopper.
Shoppers at Best Buy who scanned an iPad2 around the holidays received a notiﬁcation about
'Best Buy Buy Back Savings' on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. This is such a smart way to keep price
sensitive shoppers in the store and again, make her love you for showing her a relevant deal.
The 5th act of shopping, Encouraging Her to Share, exists because some aspects of shopping are
inherently social. Friends are trusted advisors with whom a shared shopping experience can be a
pretext to meaningful social connections.
Allow her to try on and solicit feedback from a friend or social network
With always-on access to friends / family via text and social networks, shoppers are having a much
easier time soliciting feedback when they are shopping. Converse released an app called The
Sampler that gives shoppers a chance to try different styles of Converse shoes and easily share a
snapshot via email or Facebook.
Create amazing experiences that
she’ll want to tell friends about
Some retailers even allow shoppers to share their shopping experience with friends and family.
Macy's, for example, brought joy to holiday shoppers with their Believe-o-Magic mobile app. By
pointing the app at an augmented reality marker on the store's ﬂoor, characters start coming to life
and the app user can snap a picture of the experience. The photo could easily be shared via email
or FB to remember the fun.
Doing something good?
Remind her to spread the word
And it's not always about the product or the retail experience. Retailers are doing great things and
can leverage mobile to spread the word. Walgreen's was donating ﬂu shots to those in need and
reminded shoppers that when they checked in to their store on FourSquare or Facebook Places,
not only would that trigger a ﬂu shot donation on their behalf but it also helped spread the word
about this initiative to their social circle.
Nobody likes to wait, and basically, nobody really likes to pay either. So Making her Transaction
Easy can lessen a potential pain point of every shopping journey. Express lines, and self check-out
kiosks have helped expedite this process, but any incremental streamlining of this transaction will
make a shoppers experience less painful and more enjoyable.
Make checkout lines a thing of the past
Forget making her wait in a line. Fashion retailer, C.Wonder, has deployed a mobile POS system in
stores. Associates are now free from the cash wrap and can easily assist shoppers around the
store and ring them up with iPod Touch devices.
Forget bringing along loyalty cards
and gift cards
And we're all likely to be clued into the Starbuck's app. Another early innnovator, Starbuck's brought
mobile payments to life by allowing shoppers the ability to load their Gift Cards into the app. Then,
when it's time to pay, they don't need to fumble around their wallet looking for the cards. They can
simply open the app, present their phone and the associate scans their phone to debit the
purchase. Super quick, easy and most importantly - Starbucks visitors love this since they don't
have to carry around their Gift Cards and can easily view card balances on the app.
Soon, she can even
forget about bringing
a wallet along.
Starbuck's is no longer the only way to pay via phone. The mobile payments space is really hot
right now and vendors like Google and Isis are in a race to rollout technology so that shoppers can
leave their wallet at home. That's right - with an app like Google Wallet, shoppers store all of their
credit cards, loyalty cards and deals - making it super easy to pay, earn and redeem. Let's take a
look what some of the early adopters from Macy's, Subway and American Eagle are saying .
While Google Wallet and Isis are in the process of rolling out, it's possible to get involved in pilot
programs to prepare for your savvy shoppers that would like to use this.
After her transaction is complete, Make sure she’s satisﬁed . . . it’s more than just a ritual - do
something that’s relevant and meaningful to help her enjoy her purchases.
Provide product-related content to guide her every step of the way
Retailers like Home Depot earn trust and loyalty from their shoppers by offering an app full of rich
tools. Buy paint at Home Depot and they become your painting partner, providing tools and demo
videos to help make sure your painting project is perfect
and your entire shopping experience is great - keeping her satisﬁed . . .
Work with brands to create a holistic
experience that lasts beyond the aisle
Or buy Kingsford charcoal at CostCo and you've got an entire BBQ experience.Costco partnered
with Kingsford charcoals to provide the ultimate barbeque experience. By scanning a QR code at
retail or pack, shoppers access a
web experience with grilling recipes, tips and even a Pandora radio station for music to grill by.
Provide ongoing support from deals to recipes
And don't think of satisfaction simply post-purchase, Sam's Club supports shoppers on Twitter with
deals, recipes, new product announcements and of course post-sale customer support. Customers
simply Tweet to @SamsClub with feedback or questions.
And ﬁnally, Invite Her Back. Following up and checking back in with your shopper cements the
relationship that you established and keeps you top of mind for her future consideration. An old
school thank-you note used to do the trick, but there are ways to follow up that can be really
relevant and useful for your shopper - helping her out as well as demonstrating that you really care
Give her a reason to return like a ﬂash deal
or a prescription reﬁll
The Walgreen’s app offers an exclusive mobile coupon that expires in several days, urging her in
store to get the offer.
For prescriptions, they offer text alerts letting you know when your prescription is ready to be
reﬁlled. Simply reply with the word REFILL.
Pilot mobile loyalty programs
to encourage repeat visits
Victoria's Secret earns repeat visits through loyalty efforts like this FourSquare special. After
checking into this VS store three times, she can unlock a special deal.
So, back to our retailer, who has been listening to all of these ideas that mobile has been telling
him . . . The retailer has a revelation! (click) “Before, I thought you were trying to steal my beloved
shopper . . . now, I understand that you can help her to love me even more than before!”
And as long as Mobile’s helping me help her along every step of her shopping journey, I can also
enchant her in ways that delight her senses in the physical world. With tastings, ﬁttings, personal
service and shows - I can engage her with experiences that she can’t ﬁnd on her phone . . .
So thank you, mobile - I couldn’t have done it without you!
. . .happily
And so our story ends happily . . . ever after . . . the end.
(Molly asks if anyone has any questions . . . )