How to Connect With Mobile Shoppers

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How to Connect With Mobile Shoppers

By Rodney Mason, Blackhawk Engagement Solutions - 09/14/2015

Every day, more shoppers are morphing into mobile shoppers. That’s why we commissioned a national study of 2,608 respondents reflective of the U.S. population to uncover shopping behavior trends. We found insights for mapping go-to-market mobile strategies and considerations for convenience stores.

Your customers are always on the move and seeking convenience, value and connectivity on their smartphones. They’re looking for faster, easier and more targeted deals that respond to their shopping styles. They’re harnessing connected technologies to simplify and optimize their shopping paths.

With all this activity, how can you make sure your path crosses theirs?

By charting where your customers are now and where they’re going — the ways they shop, filter, pay and save on the devices they use, what influences them along the multiple paths to purchase, and the many ways those paths can be disrupted — you can uncover dynamic messaging streams and opportunities for product and promotional offers that can help sell more in the convenience retail category.

Gone are the days when your main worry was keeping up with your competitors. Today, the key to winning at retail is keeping up with your customers.

By anticipating where your customers are looking and going, you can position your business directly in front of your underserved customers — and ahead of your competition.

Price Messages Are Top Drivers

Across all retail categories, price is the most important message to drive traffic.

Providing price messaging is extremely important because we found that 96 percent of shoppers are “more” or “as sensitive” to price as they were last year, and 86 percent believe their shopping power has not improved or has decreased. 

One smart price differentiating option: Rebates drive more value, and 68 percent of shoppers find rebates attractive. Consumers prefer a $15 rebate to a $7 instant discount on grocery purchases and items.

And, thanks to the rebate redemption model, both offers have a similar promotional cost. However, deeper discounts via rebates attract more consumer interest, and the rebate reward can drive traffic back to the store, too.

Be Mobile Friendly & Engaging

Today’s consumers are using their mobile devices to save and shop more effectively. It’s easier than ever to give customers the opportunity to snap a URL to opt-in for offers, savings and ongoing, value-based communications. 

Additionally, our study finds 63 percent of shoppers would accept an in-store beacon strategy that upsells and provides added value. And 59 percent would consider allowing retailers to know where they are in-store for exclusive values and savings.

Our shopper data also shows that when it comes to payments, consumers are ready to pay with their phones; they are simply waiting on the industry to catch up. We found that 54 percent of shoppers would use a mobile wallet over traditional wallet if it were accepted everywhere.

Thirty-four percent already have mobile wallet apps, and 20 percent would stop carrying a traditional wallet if mobile payments and IDs were accepted everywhere.

For retailers, mobile payment opportunities are plentiful. They can streamline the checkout process and provide additional opportunities for add-on purchases.

For example, while your shopper is checking out on mobile, the app can push out a relevant and attractive upsell offer. Plus, gift cards work in mobile wallets, so your gift cards can have a branded presence inside the digital wallet.

As you look at accepting mobile payments, consider the payment apps used most: 85 percent of mobile payment app users use PayPal, 24 percent use Amazon, 23 percent use Google Wallet, and 19 percent use Apple Pay.

Fend Off Online Convenience Disruptors

Amazon Dash has launched in several markets, offering the ability to order items with the push of a button, placed in-home or on a mobile app, and have the items delivered in just a few hours. Our national study found that 66 percent of shoppers would consider using Amazon Dash and 32 percent would pay $8 to have an item delivered to their home the same day.

As a convenience provider, your store could become an easy pick-up location for items ordered online — providing shoppers with an alternative, but equally valuable, shopping experience.

“Buy Online Pickup In Store” (BOPIS) is becoming a significant practice across all retail categories. In fact, 45 percent of shoppers reported that they have bought online and picked up in-store in the last six months.

In addition, 86 percent of shoppers would consider buying online and picking up in-store to save $10 on a $50 item, while 78 percent would consider buying online and picking up in-store to receive an item three days earlier.

Cross-selling products and offerings that can be found both online and in-store will help to drive the kind of customers you want most — because some shoppers may prefer it one way or another.

Here’s an example: gift card exchanges are growing in popularity as consumers give and receive more gift cards. Exchange services are growing in popularity online, but offering in-store exchange services can drive foot traffic. And if your store sells gift cards, it can drive incremental gift card sales, too.

Get Social & Less Loyal

Our study found a big upside for convenience retailers using social media and dropping loyalty programs. Sixty-eight percent of shoppers who follow brands on social media want and use social media promotions. In fact, the top reason brands are followed on social media is for values and saving.

Alternatively, only 15 percent of shoppers believe loyalty programs provide the most savings, even though 73 percent belong to them.

The primary driver for loyalty is the grocery channel, where it is necessary to belong to such programs in order to purchase advertised specials.


Shoppers continue to be very price sensitive and have become savvy in leveraging their mobile devices to find better deals when shopping. They will opt-in for mobile promotions that offer more value. Offer compelling price messaging via mobile to take advantage of this trend.

Shoppers also want to use their mobile wallets, so it’s up to retailers to make it convenient. C-stores should develop a strategy for fending off mobile-centric convenience disruptors like Amazon Dash. Make your stores destinations for complementary items aligned with BOPIS practices.

Lastly, retailers will benefit from socializing price messages and dropping the loyalty programs that only cater to a few.

For further insights, download the full Blackhawk Engagement Solutions mobile-connected shopper study by clicking here.

Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News