Retailtainment is a rising trend retailers can’t ignore, writes Andy Burton.

While mobile commerce (often called m-commerce) may have begun as a convenient way to shop on demand, it has rapidly developed into an entertainment experience, otherwise known as ‘retailtainment’. This social shift is not only changing the way retailers engage with m-commerce, but it is also changing the expectations of consumers when it comes to the mobile shopping experience.

As online shopping becomes a favourite pastime for younger Australians, this shift towards entertainment represents an opportunity and a challenge for the retail sector. In response, many retailers have invested time and money into incorporating the ‘fun factor’—focusing on making online shopping enjoyable and an engaging experience, with hopes of luring both new and returning customers.

As a result, we are seeing an increasing number of retailers experiment with technologies such as apps, augmented reality (AR) and voice assistants. Although these are an important part of customer engagement, retailers need to ensure they have the basics right and that their websites are built and optimised for mobile first, as well as with complementary app-based solutions.

study from PayPal revealed that almost half of Australian retailers have not optimised their websites for mobile, while two-thirds (67 per cent) of smartphone users browse retail mobile sites for fun without the intent to purchase. Although there is a rich seam of innovation around e-commerce, retailers can drive far higher performance by having an engaging mobile-first optimised experience.

To take advantage of the 46 per cent of shoppers who are ‘window shopping’ on their mobiles, retailers must start by taking a moment to reassess their mobile offerings, making sure they don’t lose sight of the basics like demonstrating good value and having great products. In addition, they need to reimagine the customer experience and interaction including offering alternative functionalities such as one-click ordering and mobile-friendly payment options, to improve the customer journey.

According to a recent report from MuleSoft, only half of consumers believe retailers provide a personalised experience (i.e. knowing their preferences across all channels and targeting them with relevant offers/promotions). If retailers get personalisation right, consumer engagement rises, usually followed by a greater share of customers’ wallets.

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of consumers said they would spend more with a retailer that provided a personalised experience than with one that didn’t, strengthening the argument for an investing in technologies that enable retailtainment experiences.

It is critical that retailers’ digital sites are intuitive, easy to navigate and engaging. While many retailers currently have an m-commerce capability, forward-thinking retailers are enhancing their existing investments in mobile to drive better cross device experiences including the use of responsive design and app-based experiences to improve mobile engagement and conversion.

Consumers now have an unparalleled level of convenience when it comes to mobile shopping, allowing them to make purchases at any time, from any place. Therefore, retailers need to focus on improving the customer journey by offering functionalities that create a highly personalised, highly intuitive shopping experience for customers. By fully integrating promotions, look-books, merchandising, sales and delivery into their e-commerce platforms, retailers can convert retailtainment into sales.

Andy Burton is the CEO of Tryzens.


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