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 Chuck Schaeffer Top Performing Mobile Retail Technologies

 
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SoLoMo

It's hard to discuss retail CRM or retail mobile marketing without bringing up what may be the most entertaining acronym in all of retail technology: SoLoMo.

SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) is most often used for hyper-local search performed on a mobile device whereby search engine results include or highlight nearby locations which match search queries — which are often restaurants or retailers. In this context, SoLoMo brings location to search performed on mobile devices.

The consumer data is clear in showing why SoLoMo has so much potential. According to comScore, more than 80% of U.S. consumers carry smartphones, 74% use their devices to find local information like directions and retailers, 38% want to receive promotional coupons or offers based on their location, and 18% have checked in at bricks and mortar retailers using social apps like foursquare.

And on the other side of the equation, while 80%+ of consumers carry smart devices, less than 2% of bricks and mortar retailers are smart-enabled. This is a really big missed opportunity. Fortunately, many retailers are adjusting their marketing budgets to respond to these consumers. According to advisory firm BIA/Kelsey, social-mobile ad revenue will increase from $500 million in 2012 to $1.5 billion in 2016, an impressive compound annual growth rate of 28.5%.

While the convergence of social, local and mobile began as the addition of local information on search engine results displays delivered on mobile devices, it has since evolved to include local check-in services such as foursquare and Gowalla as well as presenting or pushing mobile offers to consumers based on their location or proximity to the retailer. Now retailers are further understanding how this technology trifecta directly influences other channels and impacts in-store sales. Here's some stats from Monetate that show mobile searching's rippling effects.

SoLoMo Effect

Despite the upside potential, challenges for SMB retailers generally include education and technology.

SoLoMo has made it to the marketers' lexicon but not necessarily to SMB retailers. Most retailers see the mobile consumer movement taking place in their stores anecdotally, but are yet unclear as to how much business this really nets, or could net if promoted. Many SMB retailers are similarly unclear on what tools or cost-effective technology solutions are available to automate and accelerate proactive outreach to buyers in their vicinities.

This retail technology is still in early days but when you recognize that consumers’ want what they want when and where they want it, it's a no brainer that forward thinking retailers will respond to this growing consumer demand.

To begin preparing for this movement, consider the following recommendations:

  • Meet with your web folks to understand what it takes to make your website mobile-friendly.
  • Update your website to include the information and services that mobile shoppers are looking for, such as Store Locater functions, addresses integrated with Google or Bing maps, click-to-call services and hours of operation.
  • If you're a bricks and mortar retailer that relies on traffic and benefits from search engine discovery, it’s time to update your SEO to include geo-location and local search optimization.
  • Whether in-store or over digital channels, encourage registration and opt-in for mobile offers. Be transparent in your request, and offer multiple types of content for consumers to select from.
  • Investigate SoLoMo retail-based services for attracting shoppers. First use them as a consumer. Then consider how to use these services to acquire shoppers. Start with foursquare.
  • Figure out how to personalize SoLoMo marketing efforts. With some help from your CRM system, personalize the messaging, tailor the offers and customize the deals based consumer shopping history, loyalty program preferences or likes and shares on social networks.
  • To do SoLoMo optimally, it's imperative to view social, local and mobile technologies in a holistic manner and avoid creating yet more information siloes.

The intersection of these three mega trends is where retailers can find a significant business opportunity. The ubiquity of smartphones, the expanded reach of social media and the consumer's proximity to merchants are powerful in and of themselves, but making them truly symbiotic requires more planning and effort than just sending promotions to mobile telephone numbers.

The retailer's goal is to harness the confluence of these three trends in a way that delivers personalized, relevant and timely messaging. For SoLoMo to actually connect with consumers and achieve response objectives, the retail technology must be integrated to consumer data (purchase histories, preferences and the like) in the CRM or loyalty system and further consider predictive analytics in order to identify and forecast what mix of customer data points in combination with social, mobile and local technologies will most resonate with consumers.

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More than 80% of consumers carry smart devices, yet less than 2% of bricks and mortar retailers are smart-enabled. This is a really big missed opportunity.

 

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