The In-Store Mobile Experience

Nick Martin
Wednesday, Oct 05, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Marketers and advertisers are excited about the mobile space and with good reason. Beyond the fact that mobile usage is expected to eclipse desktop by 2015, consumers view their mobile devices as an extension of themselves. In fact, in a recent survey 53 percent of 16-to-30-year-olds said they would rather lose their sense of smell for a week than be without their smartphone for the same amount of time. If that doesn’t signal an intimate connection, I don’t know what does.

That statistic might sound extreme to some of us, but I think everyone can relate to that vulnerable feeling you get when you forget your cell phone on your night stand. The moment you realize you’ve forgotten it and it’s too late to go back and retrieve your only connection to the outside world you start to fear the worst:

“What if I break down on the road?”

“How will people contact me if something happens?”

“How will I find out where Amanda Knox is eating lunch tomorrow?”

Ok, that last one mostly pertains to people in the Seattle area, but you get my point. It’s that intimate connection to our mobile device that makes the medium so attractive to marketers. The question on everyone’s mind is: How do you use mobile to reach your audience the right way?

In previous posts we’ve offered a framework for building a 2D barcode experience, showed examples of a mobile web architecture that drives engagement and even offered a point of view on how elements of gamification can drive behavior. Today I’m going to take elements from all of those posts and share a scenario that retailers can use that offers value for customers capitalizes on some growing mobile trends.

How Mobile Can Help Retail

The rise of mobile commerce can be detrimental to retail. With more mobile users looking to their smartphone to inform purchase decision retailers lose their ability to completely control their customers shopping experience. According to Mobile Marketer, 28 percent of consumers use their phone to perform mobile shopping activities while in brick-and-mortar stores. In a nutshell, customers are coming to your store to figure out what they want and then buying it online for cheap, and probably not from you.

Trends to keep in mind:

Shoppers are using their mobile phones to look for better deals and make purchase decisions.

  • 85 percent of customers will leave a retail store for a 20 percent discount in another location
  • 65 percent of high-end device users report that they have used their device to find a business, and then made a purchase at that business in person

Mobile users are using their smartphone to discover information about their surroundings.

  • 79 percent mobile users conduct local search, of that 74 percent of users take action as a result (visit a store, make a purchase, etc.)
  • 49 percent of mobile users browse reviews while shopping


For retailer this all sums up to one thing: They need to take back control over the consumer’s shopping experience. That requires being able to offer shoppers a mobile experience that gives them the kind of information they want, when they want it, and in a way that influences their shopping behavior.

With all that in mind here’s a concept that uses the Tag platform’s Real Time Location feature to put the customer experience back in the hands of the retailer and taps into all the trends I’ve mentioned up to this point.

mobile experience chart

Why This Will Work

By architecting a mobile experience that gives customers information they are already looking for on their smartphone, they don’t need to bother with doing a mobile search. Adding elements of gamification to that information in the way of offers, status and a sense of appointment (“I need to return to the store to keep my rank at that location”) creates a loyalty program that people actually like participating in. To top it off, the bottom line of all of this is that it drives real business value:

  • Regain sales — Sales that might otherwise go to online competitors are won back by allowing customers to add products from around the store to a virtual shopping cart  and requiring that the purchase occurs in-store to receive the discounts.
  • Increase share of wallet —  Driving cross-sell/upsell through the game puts more items in a person’s basket and gives marketers the opportunity to get higher margins on each item sold.
  • Drive store traffic — By using Tag on existing DM efforts marketers can introduce users to the mobile experience (show leaderboard in conjunction with the store-locator) with virtually no increase in incremental cost.

Why This Needs RTL

Real Time Location pulls this entire experience together. In each step of the process a person’s location informs the mobile experience and allows marketers to engage with customers in a way that moves them closer to a sale. Once a Tag is scanned on direct marketing materials RTL drives them into the store. Once the customer scans while in-store, RTL allows retailers to tap into the competitive nature of shoppers by narrowing the scope of the “game” to a single location, making “victory” more achievable for “contestants.” And finally, a person’s status is determined by where they shop and how much savings they net in a given location.

Chime In With Your Thoughts

I have uploaded this slide on Slideshare and made it available for download and edits. If you have any ideas that you would like to add, or anything you think should be changed please feel free to make changes to the slide and post it on our Facebook page or LinkedIn. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with something that gets put to use.

Do you have something to share relating to Tag or mobile? Drop in on Facebook and LinkedIn to talk about it. Want to engage with us right away? Find us on Twitter. Maybe we’ll be talking about you next week.


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