Micro-Moments in Retail

How Top Brands Win Micro-Moments in Retail

On average, we check our smartphones 150 times a day.  We use our phones to search for specific information, whether it’s about a particular product’s features or how to get to the nearest store with the item in stock.  The answer to a spontaneous question is just a tap or two away.  

Our friends at Google labeled these specific interactions with our phones micro-moments.  If you need a quick refresher on micro-moments and micro-content, we put together a handy infographic.  

No industry is more transformed by micro-moments than retail.  Eighty-two percent of smartphone users check their phone for product information while shopping in the store.  

It can be easy to think of visitors in your store as price-checking experts who are just there to see the product in person before buying it online for less.  When the practice became popular in 2013, experts even dubbed it showrooming.  Later studies showed that showrooming was not nearly as much of a threat as initially perceived.  In fact, the use of mobile devices in stores can give retailers and brands the opportunity to increase dialogue with consumers.

Give consumers want they want.  They are going to find information about products or services online with or without your help.  So take a page from Sephora’s playbook and be a champion for your customers and help them make the best decision.

Shopping for makeup can be a daunting task.  After all, how are you supposed to choose from pearl rose and light rose eye shadow?  Can anyone tell the difference?  Beauty behemoth Sephora noticed that shoppers frequently checked their phones in store while browsing.  They discovered that customers were frequently using their mobile devices to look up a particular product’s user reviews online.  Standing in the store aisle with the product in hand, consumers were consulting their phones to decide whether or not to buy the product.  When you have a customer that far into the purchase funnel, you can’t afford to lose them.  

Sephora redesigned their mobile app and website to capitalize on this knowledge.  With the updated interface, consumers could now scan a product on their phone to easily pull up customer reviews and relevant information.  VP of Interactive Media at Sephora Bridget Dolan told Google, “Having access to this information is that perfect new moment for customers to find everything they’re looking for and get advice from Sephora…A client that really knows exactly what she’s buying—all the reviews and all her options—is actually a happier client and will come back and shop with you more often.”

Micro-moments are split-second decisions.  Don’t make them any harder or more complicated.  Make them easier like Staples did for its consumers.  

One of the four types of micro-moments is the “I want to buy” scenario.  A consumer wants to make a purchase and she reaches for her phone to do so.  The experience needs to be seamless—you don’t want to lose out on a transaction because of something so preventable: poor user experience design.  

Staples’ mobile website was struggling to convert consumers.  And at first glance, it might not seem obvious.  Most people who go through the process of adding office supplies to their virtual shopping cart need office supplies.  It isn’t something consumers typically browse in the wanderlust kind of way they do with apparel.  

Why were they losing so many consumers during the mobile checkout process?  The purchase screen required 22 fields to be inputted.  That’s a lot of typing on a small screen.  The Staples team updated it to require only five fields and integrated easier payment options.  The result?  Purchases increased.  In fact, in a Shop.org sponsored Twitter chat, Jason Goldberg (VP of Commerce Strategy for Razorfish) told Artemis Barry (Digital Retail VP at National Retail Foundation) that Staples’ update was one of the best mobile improvements of 2015!  

These solutions by Sephora and Staples aren’t one-size-fits-all, but do provide great examples of brands taking the time to understand their audience and build strategies to win micro-moments. To get started, think about the mobile touchpoints your potential customers have with your brand. What are the pain points? What is easy? When would they need or want to use their phones? What are they looking up? Once you have those answers, you can think about how to create the right micro-content and strategies to capture attention in those micro-moments.

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