In an increasingly competitive and convoluted retail environment, businesses are looking for more ways to reach and retain existing customers and attract the new, getting them to part with their hard earned money and establish an affinity with their particular brand. With this in mind, it makes sense for businesses to offer a number of touch points to maximise brand exposure and customer engagement. Retail apps are one of the best ways currently to try and seize customer attention from your competitors, especially if they are contain incentives for customers to use them frequently.
Consumers are demanding more than ever before from retailers in regards to their experience, and it’s possible for retailers to meet and manage these expectations with tech. Traditional retailers will need to invest in technology systems that allows them to stand out against their competitors. A large number of apps seem to suffer from the “yearly curse”, where they are deleted from smartphones after 12 months or so. And with the retail app market valued at billions, it’s important for brands to make the most of their omni-channel strategy and encourage prolonged and frequent usage.
So how can stores achieve this? It’s about a mix of innovative and engaging in-store and online strategies. Physically tracking customers around stores to offer relevant offers based on location or interactions with certain product ranges is great as well as well as providing invaluable insight for retailers. The addition of gamification makes customers more willing to interact with the app in this way, especially if you add in like discounts, exclusive offers or cash back.
Using the power of location-based technology alongside store mapping can encourage customers to travel around the store – thinking about product placement strategically can really sky rocket profit. One challenge that faces in-store beacons, as one variant of location-based tech, is that in order to make use of the technology, consumers must have the retail app already installed on their smartphone although this can be encouraged by providing download incentives, offering rewarding features and deploying effective marketing. Making your app useful to the customer in a plethora or ways such as offering deals or discounts if they hit a certain beacon is one way to really ensure that they take the time to maintain a physical presence within the store, helping to combat the well known ‘death of the high-street’.
Importantly, once the app is downloaded, it is crucial to remind the user of its presence – a retailer can do this by sending push notifications directly to a smartphone, which of course can be personalised. It’s proven that push notifications have a much higher engagement and open rates than traditional email marketing therefore apps can prove a highly effective means of customer communication. 26% of those asked in our Retail Report said they already use a retail app to support and shop at their favourite brands.
One of the main benefits of offering loyalty via apps is a much less bulky wallet for customers – we guarantee consumers will be overjoyed to finally throw their tacky plastic store cards away! And there are other benefits for the customer too. Including in app features such as loyalty points, are a tried and tested way to ensure ROI. More and more retailers are breaking away from plastic loyalty card and paper coupons, with 80% of our survey saying they would be happy to collect points on their phone, including when they walk around the store.
Interestingly, 41% said they don’t use a retail app but would like to – and these are the customers that it is essential to attract. The marketing and brand benefits of retail apps cannot be ignored, and that’s why so many huge global businesses have created retail apps. You can create lifelong, loyal customers that stand by the brand by capturing them with your app. Now is the best time, before the market becomes oversaturated with different, rival businesses. Smart companies have utilised the lack of competition currently on the retail app market to get ahead.