The untapped power of in-store retail apps

Last week, Amazon opened its first Amazon Fresh store outside of the US in Ealing, London. 

Marking a watershed moment within the British retail market, Amazon Fresh is a proof of concept that a mobile-first, in-store retail strategy can replace traditional shop assistants and cashiers. 

But this is just the tip of the iceberg…

In a recent article from Forbes about retail technology predictions, 11 out of the 13 predictions were connected to mobile retail solutions. 

The market is changing. Mobile is leading the way, while physical stores become the secondary channel. As Forbes Technology Council member and CEO of Metal Toad, Joaquin Lippincott predicted:

“People are hungry for real-life experiences. Physical retail stores should not be thought of as the primary way to sell or even as a location to warehouse things; instead, they are marketing opportunities. With this in mind, pop-up shops and in-store experiences – tactile, scent and sound-based, as well as those featuring expensive tech – will be showcased to drive sales and awareness online.”

Continuing our discussion about single customer views within retail, it seems that now is the time to incorporate your physical retail locations within your wider mobile marketing and conversion strategy. With this in mind, we considered the power of in-store retail apps, and how they can support wider marketing efforts.

What is an in-store retail app?

An in-store retail app can be any web or mobile app that integrates with your physical retail store. This might include:

  • The ability to check out and pay using an app
  • In-store ordering or delivery processing
  • Enhanced customer experiences through AR

In each case, this functionality adds a digital depth to the customer’s experience, while drawing them further into your digital marketing channels. 

From an app, it’s possible to attempt other conversion strategies through data analysis and push notifications. Another advantage of retail apps is the ability to offer customers unique benefits, as Forbes Technology Council member and President of OptinMonster, Thomas Griffin, predicted:

“I believe we’ll see more retailers creating mobile apps for their customers in 2021. There are plenty of unique benefits business owners can offer through an app. You can give out exclusive discounts, allow access to beta features and provide exclusive content. Companies across all industries can bring more value to their customers with this strategy.”

According to a recent report from Business of Apps, there was a 40% YoY increase in shopping app downloads in 2020. Clearly, users are receptive to the idea of using an app alongside their traditional retail activities. 

Should your company invest in an in-store retail app?

As we move into a post-pandemic phase for retail, it’s becoming increasingly clear that in-store retail apps will offer quick wins to many businesses. As Forbes Technology Council member, VP & Head of Cloud Practice at DemandBlue, Selva Pandian, put it:

“Retailers are enabling in-store customers to scan their items and check out using an app, without the need for going through a checkout line. Sam’s Club has already achieved this across all their stores, and Walmart is implementing it in phases. This will provide a safe and contactless experience for those who shop in the store. Consumers will also be able to buy online, schedule pick-up and then collect their purchases in the store or through curbside delivery – all powered by a mobile app.”

Amazon Fresh’s announcement of expansion plans across London and the UK as a whole highlights the appetite within the British market for these mobile-driven in-store experiences, and solidifies the message: now is the time to invest in in-store retail apps. 

If your company has multiple retail locations and an established digital proposition, the expansion into in-store retail apps should be a natural transition. By asking customers to interact with your store through an app, you’ll be able to track their preferences and provide customised retail experiences that then feed into your single customer view as a single step in a wider conversion process.

The key to making the transition across to an in-store retail platform is the creation of a slick and well-managed app that will get your customers excited about their in-store experience. These apps require flawless execution and integration with your current systems, as even the smallest bugs can and will turn customers off. Luckily, at Apadmi we have plenty of experience with in-store apps.

Apadmi’s in-store retail app experience

Apadmi has created several in-store apps for leading retailers, providing the tools to enhance customer experience and conversion. Here are a couple of examples of our previous work:

  • Co-op Membership App – We created a new membership app that let Co-op customers engage with their membership in-store, and choose where a percentage of the money they spent was donated within their own community. Not only did this app allow the Co-op to directly engage and connect with over 1,300,000 users, it also helped them donate over £15m to 4,000 different local charities. Learn more about our work on the Co-op Membership App here. 
  • Lexus IS Series App – We built an AR experience for the Lexus IS series which could be used by Lexus retailers to give customers unique guided tours around the vehicle anywhere in the world. The app featured the ability to quickly interchange colours and specific aspects of the vehicle, allowing the seller to upsell customers on various features. The app was a great success, being used across 35 different countries and leading to further digital work with us. Learn more about our work on the Lexus IS Series App here.

If you think an in-store retail app is right for your business and want to learn more about how Apadmi can help, you can get in touch with us through the link below.

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