Present generation shoppers/consumers are equipped with many tools and technologies that provide in-depth details on product information, prices and ratings/reviews anywhere and at any time. Because of the “always-on” nature of mobile technology and social media, these highly hyper-connected shoppers are demanding personalized retail experiences based on their customized wants and needs, as well as their locations. The convergence of Social, Local and Mobile, or “SoLoMo”, is not only empowering consumers, transforming shopping but also creating new opportunities for businesses, especially for Advertisers and Retailers too. It is getting harder for any Retailer to remain competitive when the competition is driving more customers through their focus on social, local, and mobile technologies.
SoLoMo (Social, Local, and Mobile) is known as hyper-local search performed on a mobile device where the search engine results prioritize or highlight nearby locations which match search queries — which are often restaurants, retailers or medicine shop etc. So, SoLoMo brings location to search performed on mobile devices.The intersection of these three mega trends (Social, Local & Mobile) is where retailers can find a significant business opportunity. The increased penetration of smartphones, the expanded reach of social media and the consumer’s proximity to merchants are very dominant in and of themselves, but making them truly mutually beneficial requires more planning and effort than just sending promotions to mobile phone numbers.
Social Media Drives Traffic
Present generation hyper connected shoppers use their mobile phone to access social networks to make themselves “always-on”. Most of those are on Facebook and twitter which give retailers an opportunity to hyper-target their customers and engage in discussions like never before.
Local Drives Action
Some people use their smart phones to research restaurant reviews, prices at the stores, or find new stores nearby that fit their momentary needs. This trend is only moving faster. Retailers should be easily found on mobile devices and ensure their customer service is top-notch because the local community is grading them online for all to see. Even if the retailer is easy to find using a mobile device, but their ratings are terrible, it won’t help the retailer drive traffic. In fact it may affect the retailers in a reverse way.
In case of bricks and mortar retailer that relies on traffic and benefits from search engine discovery, it’s time to update their SEO to include geo-location and local search optimization.
Mobile Drives Opportunity
There are many ways to create additional foot traffic with mobile technologies. Firstly, the retailers should have a mobile friendly website as many people often use his/her phone to visit a retailers web site – and if it’s not optimized for mobile devices, there can be risk of losing consumers that don’t have the patience to pan and scroll.
Also, the retailers should update their websites to include the information and services that mobile shoppers are generally looking for, such as Store Locater functions, addresses integrated with Google or Bing maps, click-to-call services and hours of operation etc.
To take advantage of SoLoMo opportunities, the Retailers can do the followings:
- Encourage Registration:Be in-store or over digital channels, the Retailers should encourage consumers’ registration and opt-in for mobile offers. At the same time the retailers should be transparent, and have multiple offer types for consumers to select from them.
- Personalize SoLoMo:The retailers should personalize SoLoMo marketing efforts with help of their CRM system. The Retailers should personalize their messaging, tailor the offers and customize the deals based consumer shopping history, loyalty program preferences or likes and shares on social networks.
- Optimization: It is very important to view social, local and mobile technologies in a holistic manner and avoid creating yet more information siloes.For example, best-in-class retailers are enabling customers to access loyalty programs to check offer/reward balances and redeem points directly through their mobile devices
The retailer’s aim is to harness the confluence of these three trends in a way that delivers personalized, relevant and timely messaging. For an efficient SoLoMo to actually connect with consumers and achieve response objectives, the retail technology must be integrated to consumer data (transaction histories, preferences and the like etc.) in the CRM or loyalty system and further consider some predictive algorithm in order to identify the right set of consumers for right set of offers at right time.
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Anjanita is a dynamic results oriented professional with blend of Analytics Consulting, Business Intelligence and project management experience comprising of 12+ years from project scoping to entire execution, in several successful shared services organizations in India in technology, CPG & retail sector. Currently, she is part of Capgemini’s Analytics leadership team.