Social, Local & Mobile Engagement to Put Bricks & Mortar Back in the Game

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Incumbent retailers can’t ignore the shift in consumer shopping preferences to SoLoME.  Social, Local and Mobile Engagement will change they way we discover, decide and purchase.

In 2010, partners at the Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins coined the term SoLoMo to describe the integration of three megatrends: Social, Local and Mobile.  It sprung from the observation that consumers are constantly online and connected via mobile devices, interacting with one another via social systems and seeking contextually relevant information based on location awareness.

In the retail landscape, I think a more appropriate term is SoLoME: Social, Local and Mobile Engagement.  Why?

  • It allows for highly personalised, interactive and relevant experiences

  • It allows marketers and retailers to target the right person, at the right time for maximum engagement



Consumer purchasing decisions have changed dramatically over the last five years.  Social emerged as the way to gain attention and authenticity.   It’s about getting feedback and sharing experiences - including shopping - with family, friends and colleagues.  Indeed, 90 percent of those surveyed by Social Media firm Crowdtap said they “trusted earned media — which is akin to social media word-of-mouth — more than any other form of advertising”.  Of those, 34% said they use social media in-store and update status to tell friends about the best offers and finds.

Most think to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  But it’s no longer just the networks, it’s also the way we engage with people and things:

  • interaction over broadcasts

  • personalised over mass

  • sharing over advertising



Whilst social experiences are shared on a global scale, there’s increased demand for local, contextually relevant, information.  74 percent of smartphone owners say they use mobile location-based services.  For them, it’s about reducing noise and getting more real world interactions.

Location is key.  Reports from Verve Media highlight that Advertising effectiveness drops off after a six mile (9.6k) radius of retail locations.  The closer people are to a retail location, the more likely they are to show interest in and take up an offer.  Without effective and precise location data, it’s impossible to target consumers near the retail location where they’ll make the final purchase decision.  Check-ins might be passe but bridging the physical and digital divide by using location sensitive strategies such as ibeacon is here to stay.



Australian smartphone penetration stands at over 65 percent - one of world’s highest.   We carry them with us everywhere, including when shopping.  According to MARC Research and Google Shopper Council, of those with a smartphone, 84 percent use it while shopping in a store.  They’re an active part of in-store experience and, under the right conditions, can be used to influence every stage of shopping journey - from discovery via personalised promotions, to decision by segmented pricing to purchase by mobile payments.

Unlike traditional in-store media and advertising, mobile allows customers to complement what they’re seeing on store shelves with what they can find online.  Notably, research shows that smartphones were used for:

  • Finding locations and directions (58%)

  • Finding offers and promotions (44%)

  • Find product availability in-store (31%)

Contrary to popular belief, smartphone shopping does not necessarily drive people to order online.   This same analysis found that when in-store purchases of moderate and frequent smartphone users were compared, the basket sizes of frequent smartphone shoppers were 25-50% higher.


The next chapter in retailing

Forward thinking retailers are leveraging SoLoME to make offers that are targeted and localised as well as delivered in real-time.  This model of engagement is inevitable and the time to act is now.  Retailers that do will ride the next wave of growth.

Want to know how your business can leverage SoLoME to drive growth for your business? Get in touch.