Consumers expect a seamless shopping experience. At least they desire it, and perhaps want it even more during the hubbub of the holiday shopping season. Consumers prefer to purchase the gifts on their lists and be done with making those lists well in advance of the day they exchange gifts.
Consumers’ entire shopping experience has to be easy, and it has to occur on their schedules. They don’t want to be tied to store hours; they want to be tied to their family’s and friends’. Their wish lists include “convenience” and “expedience.”
Retailers have the opportunity to make their consumers’ wishes come true, but it takes work. Store owners need to create a seamless experience that extends across all channels – in the store, online, and mobile. That experience also has to be useful and beautiful or entertaining.
Experiences must be useful
A seamless experience ties into a consumer’s life; that is, it’s “timely and [provides] relevant value to the customer.” Charmin’s Sit or Squat app, for instance, is useful even if the name is off-putting to some. It provides a needed service, particularly to consumers who might have young children in tow.
In the retail world, a useful experience eases the discovery of merchandise, , and facilitates a purchase. If a mobile app says a product is in stock at the store, the product has to be physically at the store. If the store manager says a discount applies if the product is purchased online or is combined with an online offering, those things must be true.
All of the experiences have to work together to provide a sense of usefulness or relevance. Consumers need to feel that they could not possibly have survived the holiday shopping season without the mobile app, website, and store.
Experiences should be beautiful
A beautiful experience is one that delights the mind and heart. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign is utterly beautiful. It incorporates numerous channels – even e-readers – and it’s based in the real world. The women shown are real women. They aren’t models or celebrities. They’re women discovering just how wrong their perceptions of themselves often are and learning to appreciate what makes them beautiful.
Does that campaign increase sales? Only Dove has those numbers, but a number of women probably now pause in the soap aisle when contemplating which brand to buy.
Experiences should be entertaining
An entertaining experience is simply that: entertaining. It’s memorable because it causes laughter or invites the person to participate.
For example, Hell Pizza has an interactive video that allows viewers to complete an adventure in which the main character attempts to deliver a pizza while being attacked by zombies. Entirely useful? Perhaps not, but it’s a memorable experience. Possibly offensive? Maybe, but Hell Pizza knows who its customers are. The company’s site, videos, and other experiences all feed into the brand image and keep customers coming back for more food and entertainment.
To usefulness be true
The key with all experiences, including mobile marketing ones, is that the entertainment and/or beauty do not overshadow usefulness. An app must tie into consumers’ lives. It has to be relevant. It has to tie into other experiences in order to ease both the discovery of things to purchase and the act of purchasing.
What are your thoughts? How will your mobile app and other channels make your consumer’s life a bit easier and more joyful this holiday season?