To stay afloat in a difficult climate, it is essential for retailers to attract a wide range of customers from a variety of demographics. Even well-established businesses that fail to achieve this, could find themselves in trouble, no longer popular and with dwindling profits.
As a retailer, if your business is trying to attract a younger demographic, one way to ensure that you grab the attention of the youth is via an app.
In our recently commissioned retail report, the research found that younger shoppers in particular place a high value on being able to browse and purchase items with ease through a branded retail app, anytime and anywhere.
In fact, a quarter of millennials like to shop using a retail app, by far the highest result of any other age group (23% of 18-24-year-olds and 26% of 25-34-year-olds).
Unsurprisingly, not only are younger shoppers becoming more likely to shop via an app, but our research has found that they are now more likely to shop online in some form, rather than shop instore.
Why do Younger Shoppers Prefer Apps?
Younger shoppers have grown up in a climate of huge retail competition and multi-channel advertising. As such, they demand excellence from their online shopping experience and are much savvier than their older counterparts, who are more likely to use traditional methods of shopping.
Millennials put a strong emphasis on receiving good customer service and innovation from their brand, and a strategic and competent overall omni-channel process can allow retailers to grab them at many points in the customer journey.
Consistency is key, and any retail app or online platform must provide a seamless brand experience in order to remain competitive. Those that unite retail apps with their in-store experiences will be the most successful. And in this world of cashback discounts and online vouchers, they must offer value to users, as well as full integration with the traditional bricks and mortar stores.
Our Retail Report found that younger shopper’s preferences have made a definitive shift from the shop floor to the web, and the younger the demographic, the more likely they are to shop online or with an app. 75% or 18-24-year-olds shopped online, with that figure dropping to around 65% for 35-44-year-olds.
What About the Older Demographic?
It’s only as shoppers get older (above the age of 45) that shopping in-store becomes the consistent preference for browsing and purchasing, particularly among those over 65, although half of those shoppers would still shop online via a desktop.
Whilst the older demographic of shoppers is not the most likely to target through a retail app, there are ways that your business can attract that age group too. 65% of all UK consumers would shop online via a desktop, so syncing up your mobile offering with your in-store experience is still an essential business decision.
Retail Technologies to Consider
There are several retail technologies that shops should consider. The likes of Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Internet of Things (IoT) can all be utilised in a successful fashion.
Retail apps can also offer an online-to-offline journey, for example ordering through the app and picking up the item at the depot or in-store. Another popular choice is a consistent omni-channel shopping basket, where the app intelligently remembers any browsed items or items placed in a virtual shopping basket, regardless of what platform you’re using.
The main aim of a mobile strategy for retailers has to be ease of use for the shopper, allowing customers to complete their purchase from a plethora of touchpoints. Once integrated, the in-store and online experience will add great value to the customer experience, and unite functionality across the retail brand.
Commenting on the introduction of retail technologies Nick Black, CEO of Apadmi, said: “While consumers are more willing to shop via a retail app than ever before, retailers need to do more to offer the kind of personalised and interactive experience they expect.
“Augmented reality and artificial intelligence are reshaping the shopping experience and how consumers can interact with brands. The possibility of a more personalised shopping experience and a chance to ‘try before you buy’ excites customers and, as our research suggests, those retailers that invest in these technologies are likely to put themselves ahead of the competition.
“Mobile apps will play a major role in retail’s future but the companies that innovate and are willing to explore the latest technology are more likely to meet the expectation among consumers going forward.”