Five Ways Mobile Apps Can Improve Brick & Mortar Stores
By Fran Stevenson, Director of Strategic Accounts
Savvy retailers know that the rise of e-commerce and mobile technology can be used to their advantage. In fact, a study by Deloitte shows that consumers who use mobile devices convert at a rate 40 percent higher than those who don’t, and 22 percent say using their devices in-store leads to more spending than planned.
So how do you leverage a mobile app to enhance the in-store customer’s experience? Here are five ideas to get you started:
Big box retailers like Target are using mobile technology to enhance their shoppers’ experiences by providing an “in-store” mode, which provides them with detailed mapping of the store they are currently navigating, as well as product inventory search capabilities. Products can also be added to a shopping list, which are then mapped to their in-store aisle location. In addition to providing customer service, a mobile app can aggregate information regarding what consumers are searching for and how they are interacting with the app, which provides valuable insight into consumer behavior and product demands.
Enhanced direct mail
Some brick and mortar brands are still big proponents of direct mail catalogs, but even the face of this traditional ad avenue has evolved with the rise of mobile technology. For example, Victoria’s Secret includes sections of their catalogs that can be scanned by a smartphone. When scanned, the customer can learn more about the product in the catalog, as well as make a direct purchase from the mobile app.
Who doesn’t like an added incentive to shop in person? Several stores offer mobile coupons when a person is shopping at a physical location. Target’s Cartwheel app allows Target shoppers to scan the barcodes of products to see what coupons are available. You can also encourage customers to “check-in” on social sites like Facebook and Foursquare with incentives like in-store purchase discounts.
With a mobile app, you can empower your customers to check themselves out by scanning products and making their purchase with their smartphone. With less people standing in line to make their purchases, less employee resources are necessary to staff checkout lines, less checkout lines are needed, and that extra space can be used for more product displays.
Mobile coupons, location mapping, and express checkout are just a few of the ways that mobile apps can improve the customer service level you offer in brick and mortar stores. Retailers like Neiman Marcus use their NM App to enhance customer service by equipping sales clerks with customers’ profiles, purchase history and product preferences so that they can be greeted by name and given tailored suggestions.
As a customer, how many times have you scanned the aisles for someone who works there, just to ask a question? In addition to providing more product information than can be displayed in a price tag, mobile apps can be also be used to request in-person customer service. That way, customers do not get frustrated trying to find help, and you can provide service quicker.