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How can retailers increase customer satisfaction and revenue through mobile?

Retail has experienced disruption upon disruption. The high street has not been destroyed, but it has certainly changed, as the impact of new technologies is felt.

If a retailer sees new technologies as purely about getting more money from customers, they are doomed to fail. A successful mobile strategy looks at ways to make the customer experience better for customers, and increased revenue follows.

Using mobile smartly, to deliver a better customer experience, generates better customer understanding and loyalty, increased retention and therefore greater spend over a longer and better customer relationships.

With the right ideas and the right partners, smaller retailers can punch above their weight in the battle for customers, and larger retailers can leverage their existing customer numbers and data to compete on equal terms with giants and upstarts alike.

Fashion by text

Despite more than a hundred years of heritage, America’s Nordstrom (opens in new tab) department store continues to look for new ways to serve its customers. Nordstrom’s Next service, powered by Twilio, allows customers to opt in to private, secure SMS and MMS conversations with their personal shoppers.

With the simplicity and informality of texting, they can share recommendations, exchange pictures and hunt for the perfect look together, at any distance. Last month at Twilio’s SIGNAL conference (opens in new tab) Nordstrom advanced their offer with TextStyle. Now, if a customer sees a must-have through a Next-based communication, they can simply text “buy” along with a unique code, and purchase without having to re-enter the payment information connected to their Nordstrom account.

This radical convenience increases sales, and provides real-time opportunities to upsell and cross-sell with sensitivity. It is easier to “read the room” during a series of exchanges by text than a blind-fired email campaign or banner ad.

In the loop

Rant&Rave (opens in new tab) understands the value of customer engagement – it has built a whole platform to provide clients with proactive, real-time communication with their customers.

Interestingly, according to Rant & Rave 52 per cent of the feedback they collect is positive. Customer interaction is more than just dealing with complaints. Often, customers want to tell retailers what they are doing right – showing the road to greater, more profitable engagement. And where there is a problem, according to Bain & Company (opens in new tab), resolving it in real time increases the likelihood of that customer coming back from 32 per cent to 82 per cent. The benefits of live engagement are not just real but massive.

The prize of personal contact (opens in new tab) uses peer recommendations to connect homeowners with a network of 3.2 million professional contractors. The company found that emails were less rapidly responded to than text messages – they felt less personal and less immediate. Using Twilio, Porch gave every one of their contractors a VoIP number, allowing potential clients to text them.

With our growing communications platform, text, voice and static images have been joined by video and IP chat – however a customer and a supplier can most profitably interact, it will be possible at anytime and anywhere.

For customers and retailers, this is the way to a closer, more connected and mutually more profitable future.

James Parton, Director of Europe, Twilio (opens in new tab)

Image Credit: Shutterstock/ (opens in new tab)djile (opens in new tab)

A Chartered Marketer, who is working hard to ensure Telco's suck just a little less everyday, James leads marketing for BlueVia, the new developer platform from Telefonica. In addition he is a global board member of the Mobile Entertainment Forum and chairs the Technology Market Interest Group of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, the worlds largest organisation for professional marketers. He is also a regular panellist, speaker, blogger, industry awards judge and lecturer. Throughout a 20 year career in the tech, web and mobile sectors, James has successfully developed and deployed over 25 major products and services, featuring 20 UK market firsts, including BlueVia, O2 Litmus, MMS, mobile video, mobile music downloads, and the UK DVB-H Broadcast TV trial in Oxford during 2005.