In-Store Mobile Apps – The Road to a New Shopping Experience?

08/01/2013

© Valuephone

Despite general concerns by retailers, it turns out that the success of e-commerce does not mean the end of traditional retail stores. In fact, the new channel also helps to increase sales in brick and mortar businesses. This only works though when retailers intelligently link the channels together.

This results –among other things- in pure online retailers increasingly opening up their own stores; even if it is just for a brief period as a pop-up store. Many view the solution to a modern and successful sales approach in the store in new mobile applications that also enable customers to have access to additional information and services in the store.

How does the customer come into the store?

Retailers don’t just lure customers into the store with mobile retail apps and a comprehensive strategy. Ideally, the retailer also accompanies the customer through the entire shopping process, provides him/her with a unique shopping experience and perhaps entices him/her to make repeat purchases. In doing so, a particularly close customer relationship is being achieved.

To first draw the customer’s attention to their own special offers, many retailers focus on their own apps with store locator function that don’t just provide the interested customer with an overview of the product choices, but also guide him/her to the nearest store and the next sales area in the department store. At this point, such store finder features are a part of any retailer app basic configuration.

Customer communication via Smartphone in the store

Many brick and mortar retailers already also count on in-store mobile apps to improve the customer’s shopping experience and to increase their sales. This point is especially critical for the sustained success of brick and mortar businesses, since customers at the store like to be enticed to purchase items through a special experience or a compelling presentation, whereas the buying process and pricing are clearly the top priority in e-commerce. This “in store experience” can still be further optimized with different mobile applications.

Help in navigating the store

Among the different options with which mobile apps can assist customers in the store is in-store navigation. After the customer has been led by app to the nearest store, things can very quickly become confusing, particularly in large stores with a wide range of products. Oftentimes, many people have a hard time finding their way through shopping centers or large supermarkets. With in-store navigation, shoppers can search the entire product selection for their desired products. They don’t just get information about product availability, but are directly routed to the respective shelf thanks to the clearly laid out card function. Thanks to the recommendation function, at this point the retailer can already respond to the customer and point out matching additional products as well as show their location in the store.

The product is comprehensively presented

The key to sales success lies in the combination of channels: an intelligent in-store marketing strategy links the shopping experience at the brick and mortar store with the information advantage of the Internet. Thanks to many mobile applications, the customer is able to identify a product and call up additional contents. This includes detailed product information as well as cross-selling articles, videos or reviews. Product videos in particular help to present an item in an appealing way and get the customer excited about the product. To get customers to scan merchandise as often as possible, some retailers already use an additional sales promotion function and “give“ the user points for scanned products, which can then be redeemed for discounts and other products.

Another function that users like to adopt daily is the option for them to provide comments and information for specific products, which in turn can be accessed by others. This way, the user is certainly able to also review the item and feels like he/she is being taken seriously as a responsible consumer.

Marketing and purchase opportunity combined in one device

Mobile apps offer customers as well as retailers true added value. The retailer gets another marketing channel and the customer finds choices, information, complementary services and the chance to save even more with digital coupons and charge cards. This also eliminates the tangled mess of plastic cards and paper coupons in your wallet. The customer simply calls up the app at the checkout and is then reminded of the current sales offer.

The combination of these marketing actions with a payment feature lends itself to making things even easier for the customer. Currently a new generation of integrated solutions is already hitting the market, which is exactly aligned to these needs. At the beginning of this year, VeriFone for example introduced the ”VeriFone PAYmedia Mobile Marketing Platform (MMP)“. The platform serves to address the target audience, distribution and acceptance of mobile offers. This year, the cross-channel payment provider Yapital plans to integrate digital receipt archiving by Nubon into the Yapital solution, while Nubon wants to store Yapital as a payment method in its couponing app.

There is great potential

All of this shows that investing in mobile marketing solutions is actually always beneficial for retail. After all, the more Smartphones take hold in society, the more the user group of the corresponding apps also increases. Retailers can benefit from this with the right strategy, explore new sales and marketing approaches, and at the same time increase customer loyalty by combining additional digital offers and services.

Daniel Stöter; EuroCIS.com