“When con­sumers adopt new tech­nolo­gies, they do old things in new ways. When they inter­nal­ize tech­nol­ogy, they begin to do new things.”      — James McQuivey, For­rester vice pres­i­dent and prin­ci­pal analyst

We have one foot firmly planted in a post­dig­i­tal world, a place where dig­i­tal is “fun­da­men­tal, not exper­i­men­tal,” and increas­ingly human­ized, enhanc­ing all facets of life. In Spike Jonze’s lat­est film,Heran arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence oper­at­ing sys­tem becomes the object of one man’s love. Her her­alds a not-too-distant future, in which extra­or­di­nary tech­nolo­gies are deeply per­sonal and commonplace—or as McQuivey might say, a time when humans inter­nal­ize dig­i­tal and invent new ways to use it.

Mobile, per­haps more than any other con­sumer tech­nol­ogy, has accel­er­ated the advent of a post­dig­i­tal age. Smart­phones and tablets are chang­ing how peo­ple social­ize, get around, engage with brands, and shop. Mobile mar­keters have to think beyond scal­ing web­sites to smaller screens and find more human and life-enhancing ways to con­nect with cus­tomers and influ­ence sales.

The Mobile Opportunity

Portable devices are ide­ally suited to bridging—if not obliterating—the digital-physical divide. This post rounds out my Mobile Mad­ness series, in which I share ways to develop a mean­ing­ful mobile mar­ket­ing method inspired by cus­tomers and cen­tered on solu­tions. There are many untested strate­gies in the emerg­ing mobile field, but one thing is cer­tain: Dig­i­tal is merg­ing with offline and tra­di­tional chan­nels to cre­ate seam­less, customer-driven experiences.

If you’re ready to design a far-reaching mobile method, you can’t go wrong using mobile to empower indi­vid­u­als’ in-store and in-person inter­ac­tions. In a mobile future, web­sites, phone reps, brick-and-mortar shops, and in-store sales reps are still relevant—we will just find new ways to inte­grate them with our dig­i­tal lives. Here are four ways to enhance the in-person expe­ri­ence with mobile.

Four Ways to Enhance the In-Person Expe­ri­ence with Mobile

1. Be In-Store

After brows­ing on a mobile device, roughly 50 per­cent of shop­pers com­plete their pur­chase on a smart­phone or tablet. The rest head to their lap­tops, desk­tops, or the near­est store. Some peo­ple pre­fer shop­ping in-store because the mobile web­site has slow load times, poor nav­i­ga­tion, or check­out prob­lems. Oth­ers want the tac­tile, face-to-face expe­ri­ence, and a chance to eval­u­ate their pur­chases up close. Either way, the in-person expe­ri­ence is cru­cial to pur­chase paths.

Com­pli­ment the in-person expe­ri­ence with dig­i­tal strate­gies that assist or guide vis­i­tors within your phys­i­cal loca­tion. Groupe FLO, an inter­na­tional restau­rant brand, boosted sales 30 per­cent among its loy­alty pro­gram mem­bers. Mem­bers who dine are tar­geted at the point of sale “with per­son­al­ized mes­sages and offers via their receipts.” Cash reg­is­ters are con­nected to a sin­gle inte­grated Adobe Cam­paign plat­form, which also man­ages the mar­ket­ing data­base. Each restau­rant now has a 1:1 com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel to gather data and greet din­ers with per­son­al­ized value.

2. Be Helpful

Empower asso­ciates to give cus­tomers tar­geted assis­tance. Ver­i­zon boasts a mobile sales floor, includ­ing in-store devices, inter­ac­tive kiosks, and sales­peo­ple who carry prod­uct infor­ma­tion and reg­is­ters in their palms. The mobile sys­tem moti­vates employ­ees to engage shop­pers using gam­i­fi­ca­tion ele­ments, inter­ac­tive goal set­ting, tai­lored sales tips, updated prod­uct infor­ma­tion, and real-time results. Cus­tomers can skip the check­out line for quick and easy one-on-one transactions.

Home Depot and Uber teamed up this hol­i­day sea­son to spread cheer and con­ve­nience. In 10 urban mar­kets, Uber mobile app users dis­cov­ered a new tree icon on their screens. With a tap of the icon, they can have a Christ­mas tree and stand from Home Depot deliv­ered to their doors for one inclu­sive price. This part­ner­ship brought the store expe­ri­ence directly to cus­tomers’ homes—a truly help­ful ser­vice dur­ing the busiest and cold­est time of year.

3. Be Con­text Aware

Cover is a new Android app that over­rides users’ screens to make apps vis­i­ble and avail­able even when the phone is locked. Only the most rel­e­vant apps, based on geolo­ca­tion and past behav­ior, appear on the lock screen at a given time. Busi­ness apps like Ever­note and Drop­box might appear dur­ing office hours, with social media and enter­tain­ment apps replac­ing them after dark. This context-aware mobile app puts dig­i­tal in sync with indi­vid­u­als’ phys­i­cal experiences.

Another exam­ple of con­text aware­ness comes from FirstEn­ergy. The com­pany has 10 cus­tomized apps—one for each of its regional oper­at­ing com­pa­nies. Each regional ser­vice has its own brand, and so do the apps. Cus­tomers down­load apps based on where they live and rec­og­nize the logo of their local util­ity com­pany. The local­ized apps also make it pos­si­ble to “tai­lor mes­sag­ing to regional con­di­tions,” mar­ket new, rel­e­vant ser­vices, and group cus­tomers for more tar­geted support.

4. Be In the Moment

Wal­mart “geofences” its stores so mobile expe­ri­ences can change as con­sumers come and go. As Walmart’s Global Head of Mobile Gibu Thomas says,

There’s a big dif­fer­ence between what con­sumers need from you in store ver­sus at home plan­ning a trip. As a small exam­ple, Walmart’s shop­ping app tran­si­tions from assis­tance with list cre­ation to assis­tance with wayfind­ing, tal­ly­ing your bas­ket, help­ing you man­age your bud­get, and then check­ing out and paying.”

The shop­ping app also changes depend­ing on the Wal­mart you’re vis­it­ing. Users see a price checker, local coupons, and a store map. This type of moment-to-moment dig­i­tal respon­sive­ness makes the app appear to think like a cus­tomer, and facil­i­tates in-store shopping.

Twit­ter Mir­ror tar­gets a dif­fer­ent audi­ence but encour­ages in-the-moment par­tic­i­pa­tion as well. A spe­cially pro­grammed tablet—framed like a gilded “mir­ror, mir­ror, on the wall”—hangs back­stage at VIP events and TV talk shows. Celebri­ties can take self­ies as they wait to go on stage and instantly share the photo on the show or event Twit­ter feed. This tac­tic turns mobile devices into sec­ond view­ing screens for events like the Oscars. Fol­low­ers at home gain a sense of being in on the exclu­sive action in real time.

“Begin to Do New Things”

If you can build a mobile mar­ket­ing method that is present, con­tex­tual, and use­ful, you can directly influ­ence in-store sales. Accord­ing to a Deloitte study, “the con­ver­sion rate in the store for shop­pers who use a retailer’s ded­i­cated app is 21 per­cent higher than those who don’t.” Why? Because these apps enhance the shop­ping expe­ri­ence, mak­ing it extra rel­e­vant, effi­cient, and valu­able. When all that stacks up, cus­tomers are less likely to browse else­where. As these exam­ples demon­strate, it’s not just about in-store; it’s about in-person, wher­ever the per­son hap­pens to be.

Vision­ary mobile mar­ket­ing meth­ods will help users adopt and inter­nal­ize tech­nolo­gies, and break down the dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal silos to cre­ate one seam­less, deeply con­nected experience.

This post was pre­vi­ously pub­lished on the Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing blog, Decem­ber 20, 2013.