3 Tips for Building Mobile Apps
Building an app can be tough fo ...
Yesterday Retail Touchpoints ran my contributed article covering 5 mobile trends in retail. With consumer smartphone adoption still growing, there’s tremendous opportunities for retailers and product brands to create mobile experiences that support sales.
Mobile apps, when done well, can increase revenue, loyalty, engagement and awareness for a brand. (For more on this, read the full article.) When building a mobile strategy, retailers and brands should focus on:
Thanks to iBeacons and GPS, mobile retail apps can now provide a unique brick-and-mortar experience. By identifying the exact location within a store, the app can deliver hyper-relevant information to shoppers. Imagine providing your customers with a store-specific map of where to find the items on their shopping list (a time-saver). As they pass through an area with a special offer, the app can support your promotion with a customized message (a sales opportunity). In-store location awareness is a win-win for customers and retailers. Macy’s and Walmart have been early adopters of iBeacons. In the ongoing battle to provide each shopper with the right message at the right time in the right place, knowing exactly where a customer is within the store can create great opportunities.
Retailers sponsor events and create non-shopping experiences because they know consumers buy more than a product — they believe in a brand. Mobile apps offer retailers the possibility to create a daily experience that reinforces a brand’s core values to current and potential customers. The Oakley Surf Report app, for example, provides weather conditions and tide information. It provides a valuable resource to the audience that may (eventually) purchase sunglasses, sandals and other surf-related products. North Face and REI have snow report apps. Charmin has the “Sit or Squat” app to locate clean bathrooms (even if they don’t use Charmin toilet paper). Think outside the shopping box and consider building an app that creates brand value by becoming a part of a user’s daily life.
Saving money and earning rewards have been long-time staples for retail marketing. Successful mobile apps will put loyalty front and center. Build features that allow customers to earn and redeem loyalty rewards through their phones or at physical locations. Incentivize downloads and interactions with special points offers. Target’s Cartwheel app helps shoppers “save on the things they already buy,” with a reported $65+ million in global savings by users. Make the loyalty experience simple and seamless. Mobeam’s Beep’nGo, now preloaded on all Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones, solves an important challenge for mobile-supporter retail in stores. Laser scanners used in millions of stores can’t scan a barcode off a smartphone screen. So Beep’nGo allows users to store and use loyalty cards, coupons and gift cards (almost anything with a barcode), by beaming a barcode to a laser scanner at checkout, allowing users to easily “scan” their digital cards and coupons at any retailer. (Sourcebits is the design and development partner for Mobeam.)
Retailers stock sandals in the summer and boots in the winter. Umbrellas move to the front of the store on rainy days. When the snow report for a region comes in, an email promoting a special offer on hats and skis can go out to customers in that area. Context marketing makes a lot of sense — and sales. The same holds true for mobile retail apps and customized messaging. Thanks to GPS functionality in phones (or ZIP code information in a user account), retailers can leverage customer locations and local information to deliver automated contextual messages. By integrating with weather, traffic, local event listings and other regional data, in-app marketing can be far more relevant and automated.
Many retailers have implemented mobile devices directly into the in-store shopping experience. From personal checkouts anywhere (Apple Stores via an app that allows shoppers to directly purchase small items) to Kate Spade creating a shoppable window front in New York City, mobile technology can revolutionize the traditional brick-and-mortar experience. Consider new consumer-centric sales flows, like a grocery store app that allows the shopper to scan barcodes as they put items in their cart. Check out involves a store employee quickly confirming the customer’s receipt matches what’s in the cart, and a button tap completes the purchase. By putting design thinking to work, mobile can innovate traditional retail stores to improve experiences and drive sales.
Have questions about retail apps or creating mobile brand experiences?