A ranking of retailers offering optimal mobile-shopping experiences in their stores places building materials retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc. atop the list, announced DMI, a mobile-retail specialist.
Among the criteria Bethesda, Md.-based DMI, a unit of Digital Management LLC, evaluated in its “Mobile Maturity Model: 2018 Retail” report were pricing, inventory, product reviews, guidance, personalization, and checkout and loyalty. Payments have a role in the two latter categories, says Jeremy Gilman, DMI vice president of strategy.
“Retailers have invested billions of dollars creating robust profiles of their customers, so they can better market and serve them and personalize their digital experience,” Gilman says in an email. “They’ve trained customers to expect this and have delivered a better experience as a result. They say, ‘Welcome back, Jeremy,’ sometimes show me relevant recommendations and store my payment info so I don’t have to take my credit card out every time. I’m used to this experience—shoppers everywhere are used to this experience. The problem is that every time I walk into a physical retail store, it’s like the first time I’ve ever been there. It’s completely impersonal.”
While retailers have invested millions in customer data and learning how to best service their customers, their efforts to create frictionless shopping experiences “goes out the window, and it’s because they can’t identify me as an individual who regularly shops with them until I pay, and then it’s too late to personalize anything,” Gilman says. “If payment providers can help retailers solve this problem and close the gap between the online personalized experience and the in-store impersonal experience, that would be most valuable.”
Rounding out the top 10 in mobile experience were Walgreen Co., Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Best Buy Co. Inc., Macy’s Inc., Sephora USA Inc., The Home Depot Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Bed Bath and Beyond Inc., in that order.
The top five retailers in checkout and loyalty are Best Buy in the top spot, followed by Lowe’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, and Bloomingdale’s. “The number-one complaint around checkout is lines,” Gilman says in the report. “We’re seeing a move away from somewhat archaic, standard point-of-sale with long lines.”
Still, this trend is not everywhere, DMI says. One reason is that consumers want personalized service and may shy away from self-checkout technology.
The report’s forecast for 2018 retail trends includes an expansion of mobile payments. Younger consumers are more reliant on their mobile phones, and that bodes well for growth in mobile payments and self-checkout this year, DMI says. “Of course, retailers will have to overcome operational and security hurdles to make checkout truly seamless for mobile shoppers,” the report notes. “But improvements in technology and consumers’ growing comfort with mobile transactions should drive expansion in the year to come.”