How 3M is empowering consumers to make better buying decisions
Transforming the In-Store Experience with Mobile Product Selectors
3M has long recognized the value of providing an engaging consumer experience to drive sales and brand loyalty. That’s why the global innovation company conducts regular studies to understand how people shop, and develop new ways to help them find, select and purchase the right products.
To address retail sales hurdles in its Futuro™ brand of ready-to use supports and braces, 3M tested a way to make the store and mobile experience work together using our Product Selectors guided selling tools.
An in-depth path-to-purchase study revealed how consumers shopped the category along with the steep in-store sales barrier the Futuro™ brand faced.
“What we found was that shoppers who visit the store when they need a brace or support are confused by the options,” explained David Harper, Market Development Manager at 3M. “A significant number of people approach the display, get frustrated and walk out of the store empty-handed, because they have unanswered questions. The issue was big enough that we needed a solution.”
To engage consumers in a meaningful way and help them navigate this complex category, the 3M team went down multiple paths, with limited results.
“Then we thought, ‘Well, everyone has a phone in his or her pocket, how can we utilize content on phones?” said Harper. “Trends are certainly supporting mobile first, and we thought that a mobile Product Selectors might be a good solution.”
In March, 3M partnered with Syndigo to launch an in-store mobile Product Selectors experience – a customizable, interactive way to help shoppers to find the best product.
- More than 1,000 U.S. retail stores have signage alongside selected Futuro™ product displays of braces. The call to action: Quickly find the right brace for you.
- Each sign includes a text code and number to launch the mobile experience.
- A reply text provides a link to the Product Selectors experience, which guides the shopper through a series of questions.
- Once complete, the shopper is provided with the best product choices based on the answers given.
The team purposely tailored each in-store experience so that the product choices displayed on phones corresponded with the items available in each store. “With the complexity of the SKUs and differing assortment in each store, it was critical to match the assortments to the experience.”
In essence, guided selling tools paired with in-store signage act like a helpful salesperson,” explained Harper. “It gives shoppers the answers they need in a way that’s comfortable for them.
The in-store experience also safeguarded against shoppers researching on their phones and finding something else at another retailer. “It’s a great way to convert shoppers at shelf with no dropping off to other sites,” said Harper.
Three months of test data showed a consistent and significant uptick in sales. But the biggest story of all was shopper engagement rates, which continued to double month over month.
“We’re excited about it, and it’s working. There couldn’t have been more perfect alignment to our need,” said Harper. “A good guided selling experience gives customers a reason to buy. The keys are to make it relevant, easy and engaging. The Product Selectors experience does just that.”
The launch is still underway at participating stores, and once complete, its success will shape future rollout plans. “We’ve heard from our retail account representative. The buyer absolutely loves it and is asking how we’re planning to enhance the experience for 2019.”
“We faced a significant barrier to purchase,” Harper added. “The Product Selectors mobile experience overcomes the hurdle, providing clear recommendations and arming consumers with the answers they need to make informed buying decisions.”