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How to develop an effective omni-channel retail experience

Nowadays, it’s not enough to merely have a mobile presence. Even though mobile has been used by retailers as an engagement tool for the last few years, there are still many aspects that brands and retailers have to consider to ensure its success.

In the UK, 45% of all e-commerce traffic is driven via smartphones and tablets, according to an IMRG report. As mobile’s impact continues to rise, we see a significant increase in e-commerce activity. Just as Facebook and other online platforms have found, it won’t be long before mobile outstrips the desktop – talk about disruption. Companies need to make sure that they have a mobile strategy in place to compete in the market. If not, retailers collectively risk missing out on £6.6bn a year in untapped potential, according to research by Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.co.uk.

That being said, it’s not enough to merely have a mobile presence. Even though mobile has been used by retailers as an engagement tool for the last few years, there are still many aspects that brands and retailers have to consider to ensure its success.

Last week, Tom King, Mubaloo’s Partner Programme Manager presented at the FMCG Ecommerce workshop hosted by Brand Online. During his presentation, on optimising the use of mobile to ensure a great omni-channel customer experience, Tom discussed the following 10 key points that Mubaloo has identified:

  • Technology first has caused issues for many businesses
  • The customer owns the trends and mobile shifts, not the brand
  • Businesses who don’t have a central mobile ‘strategy’ are still suffering
  • To innovate, businesses need to be agile, take risks & test; API first
  • Omni-channel is the norm
  • Personalisation is king
  • Mobile champions are essential
  • Often the biggest ROI for mobile comes from the enterprise

The retail industry is all about the customer. Customers dictate whether anything retailers implement, be it store design, products or mobile apps, are successful and this ultimately comes down to value. Therefore taking a user centric approach is crucial.

‘It’s about listening and reacting’

With mobile, analytics, prototyping, user testing or developing a Minimal Viable Product, businesses can get a better idea on how customers are interacting with their app. Learning from this user feedback, and reacting accordingly, will ensure that issues are resolved, expectations met and therefore true value provided.

For a better omni-channel experience, some retailers and brands have deployed beacon technology to increase engagement with customers, and with good reason. 80% of shoppers use a mobile phone inside of a physical store to either look up product reviews, compare prices or find alternative store locations. This is where beacons can be used by retailers and brands to take advantage of this opportunity.

By detecting a customer’s micro-location, the beacon can trigger contextually relevant information to improve that customer’s experience. For example, this can involve providing product information, stock levels and recommendations. However, as explained in another talk at the event by Mike Crooks, MiBeacon’s Development Director, the value lies in analytics, as it allows you to have a better understanding of your customer. Without analytics and being able to learn from the data collected, you are missing the opportunity to understand your customer better and make improvements to increase value. Tracking data such as dwell time, unique visitors and number of visitors can help business better understand customer behaviour, as well as provide intelligence on how to improve in-store operations.

Some retailers are further ahead than others. We’ve seen that many retailers are still struggling to keep up with the changing dynamics of mobile in their ecosystem. Though they believe that beacons can bring value, they are also aware that their CRM systems are disjointed or that they lack the ability to utilise the data they collect. To learn more about the opportunities for retailers, click here to read our white paper.

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Contact Mubaloo by phone +44 (0)203 327 8333 or email

  • Deloitte Tech Fast 50 winner 2014
  • Appsters winner for best use of API 2014
  • Ranked as the top app developer outside of the US by research firm Clutch
  • UXUK Winner 2014
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Registered address: Mubaloo, 3 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0BD