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Gone are the days when a retailer’s app could exist as a mirror of the mobile website.
“An app should have a value-add from just a mobile website today,” says Jill Dvorak, senior director of digital retail at the National Retail Federation.
“Is there a cool scanning feature, a cool camera use or something to get the customer to download and keep the app?”
Weaving The Offline And Online Retail Experiences Together
Downloading an app is one thing. Using it is something else, and consumers aren’t highly motivated to launch a retailer’s app when they are in the store.
“It takes a lot to get a consumer to take his or her phone out in a retail environment,” says Tobias Dengel CEO of WillowTree, an app designer and developer. “So, there has to be real value.”
An example of this real value could be providing information on the aisle and shelf location of a specific item. It could also be any functionality which saves the customer time and avoids standing in line.
“The app should operate as a fully functional mobile version of the store online experience,” says Dvorak.
“Plus any other offline things that can be incorporated, such as virtual dressing room, inventory near you, and even place quicker BOPIS (buy online pickup in store) orders.”
The Critical Role Of Push
Retailers who send push notifications get better retention. They also lessen the risk of their app being deleted.
Research from Urban Airship reveals that weekly notifications boost 90-day app retention by a factor of 2 on iOS and by a factor of 6 on Android devices.
“In a world where direct marketing, including email, is generating ever-lower response rates, push notifications are a powerful new channel to get to a retailers most valuable customers,” says Dengel.
How The App Cultivates Customer Loyalty
Mobile apps can drive loyalty. The well-designed app can unite payments, points, and benefits.
“No one wants to walk around with another plastic loyalty card,” says Dengel.
“But if payment is tied directly to the loyalty program, suddenly everyone can participate. We have seen increases in loyalty program participation of upwards of 200% in the first 6 months of launching a great mobile app that allows users to pay and automatically gives them the points and benefits they are looking for.”
What Comes Next In The Retailers’ App Evolution
The next wave of app optimization will give consumers a new way to engage and to be heard.
“Voice. Voice. Voice,” says Dengel. “We think voice is going to be bigger shift than the iPhone was, and retailers should be all over it because voice gives them a big chance to leapfrog the competition.
“Voice also has lots of applications within the employee side of the operation, making current processes, such as inventory, much faster.”
Dvorak sees app innovation driving engagement.
“The app strategy should be to show the products in the best and most useful way for the customers.
“Trying on jewelry, clothing, and accessories is a great use of many mobile applications. Stores selling items that go outside or in a home have had great success showing the custom furniture in a room of the customers.”
December 20, 2018 at 11:57AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs