Embracing mobile retail is important for retailers trying to truly integrate the shopping experience across all channels which, as we know, has now become vital if one is looking to stay ahead. Consumers now expect to be able to access information and make decisions on the go. According to ACI Worldwide, 93% of people who use mobile apps in store also bought something in store. Here we’ll take a look at several mobile applications and how they are working to propel brick and mortar retail forward.
Passbook – The Future of Gift Cards
Passbook, a mobile app introduced by Apple in 2012, is an app that allows consumers to store and redeem gift cards and coupons on their iOS device while shopping in store. The adoption of the Passbook app, in turn, allows retailers the potential of increasing in-store traffic and redemption rates by making it easier for their consumers to use these cards.
The benefit behind adopting a technology such as Passbook is that it allows retailers insight into the makeup of the gift card owners. With regular plastic gift cards, retailers have little knowledge on the actual gift card owners or current balance values. With apps like Passbook, retailers have access to that owner’s email address or phone number. This allows for personal messages to be sent to engage that customer in the form of reminders of the gift card’s unredeemed value or special offers for those who stop in to use their cards. Likewise, location-based technology allows retailers to notify a customer that their gift card is still available when they come within a certain distance of the store.
Between 2011 and 2012 sales of mobile generated gift cards increased by 800%. This past year, top retailer Sephora incorporated the technology and has been promoting it with codes on their regular plastic gift cards that allow customers to convert them into digital versions to be used on their mobile devices. Samsung also recently released a similar application for its devices titled Samsung Wallet which works similarly to Apple’s Passbook by allowing consumers to store gift cards, coupons, passes and tickets in the app.
ShoppinPal – The Online Experience is Now Available In Stores
This mobile technology was created with the goal of reinventing the in-store shopping experience both for retailers and consumers. The app offers a self-checkout option as well as enhanced customer engagement for brick and mortar store shoppers.
Made to be fully integrated with multiple POS systems, one of ShoppinPal focuses on combating the issue of showrooming. Customers can create and share shopping lists and have access to detailed product information just as they would if they were shopping online. ShoppinPal also allows consumers to check out using credit cards or PayPal through their mobile phone. Because customers must enter an email address when they install the app, retailers using the system are able to send personalized messages, targeted offers and timely recommendations to consumers.
This technology was designed with smaller businesses in mind as a great way for them to adopt a mobile strategy without the large expense of creating their own customized shopping app.
CardStar – Get More Out of Your Loyalty Program
Mobile apps like CardStar by Constant Contact allow merchants to get their loyalty cards onto their customers’ phones. With mobile applications such as this, retailers are able to use geo-targeting to target specific customers in certain locations to get their messages and offers out timely and effectively.
Similar to applications like Passbook and ShoppinPal, retailers can manage and measure the results of their loyalty programs to optimize their programs for the best possible results.
Shopping apps have been embraced by consumers and offer value as they provide assistance in the shopping process and allow customers to make smarter purchasing decisions. For retailers, mobile shopping apps not only increase their brand’s worth with the customer but many of these apps also provide access into the metrics and statistics behind their customers’ purchasing habits. Likewise, these mobile apps are now making communication with the consumer more readily available to retailers as well as providing better insights for managing and tracking marketing and promotions.