Aligning Your Business to Changes in Consumer Behaviour
Do you own a smartphone? How many times a day do you think you touch it, look at it, or use it? A study says we touch our phones on average 2,617 times a day, 80% of us check our phones before brushing our teeth in the morning, and it doesn’t stop there - on average we check our phone 80 times a day (and for millennial's that number is almost double at 150 times a day). Over the course of a year, we spend 900 hours, or 38 days on our phones in some capacity.
Smartphones are a part of our lives, and honestly, could you live without yours? Most of us would be scrambling if we lost our phones. Think of everything it contains - phone numbers, calendar dates, finances, and not to mention all the apps you’ve downloaded to keep your life running smoothly! We are so dependant on our phones, using them for everything from texting to emailing, from online shopping to paying for items in stores, from checking the news to online banking. We sometimes even use them to make phone calls!
Mobile empowers customers
As consumers, our dependence on our smartphones has inherently evolved our behaviours when it comes to interacting with brands. Our mobile devices have allowed us to take better control of our life and our experiences. We have so much more choice today, and feel in control of when, where and how we interact with a brand. We can choose to block ads, unfollow brands on social media, and tune out the advertising messages that we are bombarded with on a daily basis. We can compare prices on our phones from in the store to make sure we are getting the best deal. We can use an app to find local deals. We can read reviews online before trying out a new experience.
For businesses, this increased customer empowerment requires a deeper understanding of the consumer in order to effectively connect with them, and maintain profitability and growth. Just as consumer behaviours are evolving, so too must business behaviour evolve to align with the expectations of the consumer. Only businesses that can adapt to changing consumer trends, motivators and decision-drivers will stay ahead of the curve when it comes to engaging with their target audience.
It might seem overwhelming at first, and as a business you might question how necessary a mobile marketing strategy is. So stop and think about your own personal use of your smartphone and your experience with brands on a mobile device. You’ll start to realize that a seamless integration of mobile into your marketing strategy is not only expected, but it’s necessary. You want it. So do your customers.
Mobile increases consumer expectations
Product comparison is available at our fingertips - literally. Why should a consumer buy one business’ product over another if they are essentially the exact same? It ultimately comes down to the experience. Some people will always buy in store over online because they like the physical experience of shopping in a store, being able to pick up a product, talk to a salesperson. Other people like to buy online for the convenience and the speed. Either way, consumer expectations are at an all time high. We expect a great experience, we expect relevant communication, and we expect customization. The brands that succeed in this highly competitive market place we live in will be the ones that are best able to give consumers what they are asking for.
However for small businesses that are lacking in resources, including time, money and expertise it’s not easy to adapt to the new mobile consumer. In a survey by RetailMeNot, 25% of retailers said they do not have the ability to tie their mobile marketing efforts to in-store sales, so they don’t know what is working what isn’t. One way over half of retailers are overcoming this challenge is by partnering with marketing companies that have expertise in this area.
“Due to mobile’s quick evolution and high priority, retailers rely on partnerships in areas they lack expertise, including the ability to track mobile marketing efforts to in-store sales (53%). These partnerships are also a key driver in providing mobile offers to their customers. Most retailers are sharing mobile unique promotion codes (56%) or mobile single-use promotion codes (56%) to customers through owned and partner apps. By tapping into partner audiences for these initiatives, retailers and brands are able to expand their reach and engage more potential customers.”
Probably the biggest challenge facing business owners and marketers alike is, how to I meet the expectations of my consumer, where and when they are hanging out?
- Ensure your business can be found online in a local mobile search. Get listed on Google My Business - it’s free! This is a no-brainer as it ensures the business is visible in local listings when people conduct a Google search. Did you know, the Google 3-pack appears at the top of 93% of searches when there is a local intent? Make sure your business appears ahead of the competition - Google My Business influences this.
- Do you have a loyalty program for regular customers? 47% of consumers wish more stores offered mobile apps to collect and redeem loyalty points. Apps like FiveStars make it easy to operate your loyalty program on mobile, avoiding the need for small cards to track purchases and store visits. The app helps you set up a rewards program customized to your business. Your customers can sign up onsite and check in using their phone number on future visits. FiveStars sends your customers rewards messages via email or text based on their preferences including special messages for birthdays and infrequent customers.
- Other apps, like GetintheLoop can help you reach a whole new audience of customer, one who may not yet have heard about your business, or be part of your loyalty program. GetintheLoop is an offers platform for businesses to attract new customers and build loyalty. These offers and experiences are delivered straight to the smartphones of locals via the GetintheLoop app.
- Consider investing in a mobile payment solution so you can accept payments directly from customer’s phones (e.g via Apple Pay). Consumers are more comfortable than ever using secure mobile payment options. By setting your business up to accept mobile payment for your goods and services, you’re creating a simple, seamless shopping/payment experience for the consumer and not falling behind the competition in terms of providing what consumers want. Square provides an easy, affordable solution to get businesses set-up with accepting Apple Pay.
- Market your business where your audience is - on social media. If you don’t have a social media presence, you’re losing a lot of potential customers. Mobile-only social apps continue to rise in popularity (like Snapchat, Instagram etc.) and being on these platforms makes sense as part of your mobile marketing strategy, if that is where your target audience spends their online time. Social media isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Constantly monitor your presence and adapt your message accordingly.
The modern consumer is busy, on the go, often buying items when time permits, and multi-tasking at the same time, whether that’s outside school at pick up time, while watching TV in the evening, or while in transit. A decade ago, this wasn’t even possible, but now we are spoiled with computers in the palms of our hands - we want a more integrated experience, where researching and buying, price comparing and reading reviews are all done at the point of purchase. Successful businesses are the ones that adapt to the changes in consumer behaviour rather than resist and stick with the ‘old ways’.
Be the next GetintheLoop success story. Get in touch with us today.