Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Why exactly does a retail store need a good mobile app? There are two reasons. First, smartphones are stealing attention from the in-store experience. Second, research is showing shoppers who use smartphones spend more money than those who don't.
However, it's hard to convince users to download an app, and even harder to get them to use it on a regular basis.
Before the store: One key is engaging shoppers before they travel to a store and automatically fire up the mobile browser. Online advertising and e-mail campaigns are a good route because you can send consumers directly to a download link. Another strategy is redirecting users to your app when they look up information on store locations and hours. With geofencing, an alert can be sent when a consumer gets near a retail location.
Once you've attracted attention to your app, an incentive to download it could be an offer of related content, access to an online community, or even gimmicky entertainment like a casual game or contest. Consumers are already overloaded with content sources, which means your app has to give them something entirely new if you want them to consider investing their time.
Convenience sells: Delivering convenience, savings or both will likely prove most effective at driving in-store app usage. Features like the ability to create a shopping list or a wish list also connect at-home or on-the-go browsing with an in-store visit. Walmart is piloting a Scan & Go app that allows consumers to scan items in select retail stores, which in turn saves them time during the checkout process. Patagonia's mobile app includes customer ratings, product reviews, and information on the carbon footprint of many products.
Other ideas for in-store engagement include offering free Wi-Fi access when consumers log in to your app, providing exclusive in-store deals for app users, and sharing a store map with search capabilities for locating individual products.
The measure of success: In the early days, retailers relied on app store reviews for user feedback. New technologies now measure the time spent in an app, user navigation paths, and even when and where users click, swipe and zoom in real time. Reliable metrics can be used to continually optimize the app for peak performance.
While retail mobile apps are still in their relative infancy, a recent survey by Artisan Mobile found 71 percent of retail executives agreed or strongly agreed that native mobile apps will become the single most important touch point for engaging with consumers over the next few years.
Which of the following features will likely do the most to encourage in-store use of a retailer's mobile app?