Retail in Asia

In Trends

Asian retailers use mobile engagement to grow sales

Mobile devices have become an essential tool for retailers across Asia looking for more effective ways to engage their customers. Whether using a smartphone or tablet, and whether comparing products and prices, reading product reviews, or making purchases, consumers’ always-on mobile devices are now a pivotal feature of the retail experience. Mobile is now the logical centrepiece for enhanced customer engagement.

A recent global study by Nielsen found that Asia Pacific leads the way when it comes to mobile shopping, with use above the global average for every mobile shopping activity.

Customers are engaging more of the in-store experience on their mobile devices, with Nielsen finding that more than half of shoppers use their mobile device when shopping to compare prices or look up product information.

Progressive retailers are embracing cross-channel engagement strategies, which extend the physical contact that customers have with the store into all possible digital touch points. 

Two of the main ways that retailers across Asia are using mobiles to engage their customers are for promotional offers to drive sales, and for after sales support and feedback capture to continuously improve the customer experience.

Driving sales

Based on customer preferences and purchase history, retailers may send rich, on-brand offers to customers, refined by attributes like market segment, location or social media interaction. These can include text updates announcing upcoming sales as well as discount codes sent directly to native apps or rich messages within the phone browser. Geolocation allows timely, contextual offers to be sent to customers when they are actually in-store, prompting high, immediate redemption rates.

SEE ALSO: Korean retail concept Kioda comes to India

Nielsen found that almost half of shoppers use their device to look for coupons or deals (44%), make better shopping decisions (42%) or make shopping trips quicker or more efficient (41%).

Mobile messaging allows an unprecedented level of real-time contact with customers and it’s vital to maintain trust and add value when communicating this way. Giving customers the ability to opt in and out of contact, as well as setting their personal preferences ensures that contact is both welcome and relevant. 

Customer satisfaction

Given the general preference for rapid, easily accessed communication, SMS is a viable initial channel for customer service, lowering costs, and keeping contact concise and focused.

More complex conversations can readily be facilitated by seamlessly pivoting from SMS into mobile web, app, phone or email, allowing customers to engage further via their preferred contact paths when it suits them. This provides immediate options for customers to feed back negative responses for action, reducing risk of social media venting, and brand impact.

SEE ALSO: Connected consumers driving growth of smart devices in Asia Pacific

Best practice mobile engagement insights

There are a few elements that all retailers should consider when designing effective mobile management to grow sales and improve customer service.

  1. Multi-channel communication – send messages to customers in the way that suits them, whether that’s voice, SMS, push, social media, rich messages or email, to improve the rates of delivery. Knowing that customers will almost always have their mobiles close allows retailers to provide messages on all these channels
  2. Geolocation – GPS-enabled smartphone applications allow users to share real-time location information, with relevant data and offers matching the customer’s location.
  3. Automated and integrated messages – incorporating messaging systems with other customer facing and internal technologies such as CRM, marketing and billing systems reduces the need for manual intervention, providing a range of automated, high value communications options, including: customer surveys for generating instantaneous feedback; voucher and barcode downloads; loyalty program offers; time based offers; multilingual support options; and mobile catalogues. 
  4. Consolidate and simplify communications – combining communications streams into a single platform, provides a single view of the customer engagement, regardless of their preferred medium or location, while vastly reducing cost and complexity of managing diverse communications tools.

This article has been written by Andrew Fry, Vice president Asia at Whispir.