Five ideas about the intersection of retail and mobile

By John Bajorek,

1. As “push” becomes less affordable, “pull” becomes inevitable. Most retailers “push” marketing information to shoppers via TV, circulars, and websites. As the circulation of printed information --such as newspapers and magazines -- shrinks, the price of distribution will grow. The third screen allows customers to “pull” product information as they shop, on their own terms. The benefit to the shopper is self-directed education with which to make better decisions; the benefit to the retailer is extended marketing reach without adding more visual clutter in the shopping environment.

2. Mobile codes are an easy way to share additional information in-store. As small as a square inch, tiny graphics, called tags, can be added to packaging, signage, and other retail elements. With their enabled phones customers point at the graphic, and are provided additional information about related products, special offers, prices, detailed specifications, and photos. Perfect for applications where space is limited. These systems can be easily updated with new content to encourage repeat use, and ideally encourage a new shopping behavior.

3. It's not permission to neglect traditional web experience. Create a really fantastic web presence first, and then extend it through mobile. When companies see the potential of mobile marketing solutions, it can be tempting to chase the latest shiny object. Think twice before making your mobile presence your priority. First make sure your site findable (SEO), searchable, and frequently updated.

4. There’s more out there than the iPhone. If you choose to develop a web or app-based shopping solution, it needs to work on the most popular platforms. It’s easy to forget that there are other choices besides Apple’s iOS platform on the market -- and they are increasingly popular. In fact, Android is installed on more devices, and provided by more than one wireless carrier. The Droid’s app store doesn’t have as many choices as Apple’s, but it’s growing.
5. In-store service and experience still matter. Maybe more than ever. Third-party mobile apps are written everyday to help your customers compare prices, and inventories, among other options. The in-store experience you provide for consumers may be the main differentiator between your store and another, or a web-based retailer. Many shoppers still want to interact with a real person and touch the products. New technologies are available to leverage mobile loyalty programs, as well as the ability to identify who, when, and where shoppers are located. These technologies enable your brand to “push” content or customer incentives based on the location of a consumer. Get to know the relevant applications. Many of your customers already have!

John Bajorek, executive director, digital services, WD Partners, Dublin, Ohio, a global design and program management partner for multi-unit food and retail brands. He can be reached at

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