How retailers can use mobile to improve the in-store shopping experience

May 2018

This year is going to reveal the real value of mobile experience both for local and world-renown brands. Global shift to mobile dramatically changes the customers’ in-store and out-store behavior. By ignoring this trend, you run the risk to be left in the basket, and your products – to be forgotten in the shopping cart.

This article provides insights into how retailers can improve in-store shopping experience in every micro-moment by using meaningful mobile development.

A recent customer behavior analysis carried out by Google using search data along with third-party research can give us 3 trends for micro-moments you can use for building up better in-store experience:

  1. Major retail brands in the US (including Target and Sprint) researched that more than a half of their retail store visitors start their shopping experience with a smartphone. Google adds: 82% of customers agree they use a smartphone when taking a purchase decision in a store1.

Providing customers with a seamless transition from various company communication channels to points of sale is a primary task. It requires updated technologies along with tough work of marketers and designers to consider customer profile and create genuine mobile products. More on technologies you can find below.

  1. Omnichannel customers spend more – according to MasterCard data most valuable customers are those who buy from a specific retailer both online and offline: such customers tend to spend around 250% more in comparison to single-channel shoppers. Google Shopper Marketing Agency Council research, says: frequent mobile users, increase their median basket size in all industries researched:
    • Health & Beauty: +50%;
    • Appliances: +40%;
    • Electronics: +34%;
    • Household Care: +25%.

Create attractive omnichannel communication to help customers communicate with the brand whenever they have time.

At the stage of mobile app development, make sure to include push-notifications about exclusive offers, new products and potentially interesting events. A study titled Retail Shopping: Connecting the Multichannel Shopper supports this idea by its impressive statistics: 57% of customers agreed they would be willing to shop in a brick-and-mortar store if they receive push notifications about coupons and special offers. And even more impressive: 77% of study participants mentioned they would be more likely to shop at a store, if it had a loyalty program.

VALFOR offers developing a loyalty program for a mobile app with plenty of bonuses, referral system and gamified structure. When starting a full-fledged cooperation with VALFOR Company, you can be sure every channel is well thought-out and they all are closely interconnected to create a comprehensive omnichannel experience, as it should be.

  1. The role of a store advisor has changed a lot: today this task is carried out by smartphones, especially when the former is not competent or persuasive enough. A shocking fact: 25% of shoppers admit they changed their minds in a checkout line after searching for product details on their mobile device.3

Use this trend a new business opportunity: include a product scanner function to your mobile app and welcome customers rate it or read customer reviews within your app. According to Google Shopper Marketing Agency Council research, half of the shoppers using mobile phones in a store, use it 15+ minutes. Use this time: develop a new point of interaction, get a new upsell opportunity, encourage sharing the information with friends.

VALFOR Company offers Store 3.0 mobile development to enhance in-store customer experience by adding updated technologies:

  • Introducing iBeacon for simplified in-store navigation, certain products promotion, adding bonuses for visiting desired places and providing additional analytical data on customers;
  • Samsung Pay and Apple Pay technologies;
  • Virtual cart in-store experience: scan QR-codes or bar-codes, move to checkout and get your products right away;
  • Store employee ratings;

You can see it’s not enough to be there on mobile. Brands need to create intense and tailored experiences to make your stores closer to customers in all their micro-moments and win their loyalty.

Mobile apps instead of mobile websites

In 2013 mobile sites used to be preferred over apps by in-store shoppers: 65% of users used mobile sites, while only 35% preferred apps.

However, a 2017 Nielsen research clearly shows the opposite: we are now firmly in the ‘app times’: 89% of time consumers spend in mobile apps, while only 11% in the mobile web.

According to Retail Drive 1/3 of customers use specific brand’s mobile app while in the store.

We suppose, this number will be growing. Today is a great chance to make use of this statistics.

Today customers more often prefer mobile apps due to more personalized experience they have. Understanding mobile shopping behavior is a key to awareness of the consumer journey. Mobile applications as an online channel can better connect to offline store and help analyze brand performance, optimize outreach, win customer loyalty and boost sales.

Customers, who don’t use mobile devices for shopping shared their concerns. The most popular reasons are:

  • Concerns about personal data security – some customers avoid mobile transactions, because they fear their credit card number, password, phone number or email can be used by swindlers more easily.

    How to solve?

    You can include information about payment and personal data protection to any of your digital products to help customers feel valuable and secure.

  • Too small product images at mobile website or mobile apps make customers doubtful about their purchase decision.

    How to solve?

    Make sure you provide better-quality images with zooming and 360o preview option at the product page to motivate the customer push ‘buy now’ instead of leaving the product in the cart for closer inspection from the desktop computer.

More on how various categories of shoppers use their smartphones in stores

Age and gender play a decisive role in customer mobile activity, when in a store, according to Retail Drive’s Consumer Survey:

  • More than 40% of people under 35 years old prefer carrying out product research and look for additional product information.
  • Top activities for people over 55 years old is checking price, looking for discount coupons (surprising 50% of respondents do) and making some product research as well.
  • Men tend to look for additional product information and prices (66% of men against 52% in women), especially this is true for expensive and technical products, for example electronics and house appliances. It may prove the statement that men are led by product quality.
  • 48% of women access or download digital coupons against only 35% of men. This may be a key to female customer behavior: women are more attracted by special price offers and discounts.

Advantages of using a mobile app in-store:

1) Convenient discount system in customer’s mobile device

  • Increased bonuses for app installation;
  • Loyalty card on the mobile screen: activate discount at the checkout, get more bonuses;
  • Push-notifications about reaching new loyalty program tier, differentiated discounts depending on the day of the week, brand or customer status.

2) Various delivery options – including customer pick-up and courier services with choosing most convenient address.

3) Easier payment with Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.

4) Rapid search for products

  • QR or bar-code scanning or manual input;
  • Search by product name or brand;
  • Dynamic map of store network.

5) Product information

  • Product profile with photos and description;
  • Associated products with additional characteristics: volume/color/size;
  • Product comparison;
  • Multilevel categories and filters;
  • Product reviews.

6) Increasing sales

  • Adding scanned or reserved products to Favorites;
  • Subscription model with a weekly/monthly payment for chosen products;
  • Lists and checklists to share with contacts;
  • Special offers;
  • Average sale increase: “people who buy this product also like…”, “to get a gift add…”;
  • Gift cards and coupons with in-app activation;

How to build a mobile app that improves in-store shopping experience?

  1. Invest in cooperation with a trusted development company to build up omnichannel customer communication. Make sure the company uses research data and updated technologies, not just intuition and enthusiasm.
  2. Analyze the existing customer journey and consider which processes the app can optimize and which it can take over.
  3. Raise demands on mobile experience. Deliver extensive information on your products and services fast, create seamless omnichannel communication with the customer to motivate moving from mobile to in-store activity.
  4. Analyze data. For better understanding of customer behavior, connect first-party data to media performance. This will increase the level of personalization in times and build more trust in customer relationship with your brand.

VALFOR Company is your trusted partner in creating valuable and pleasant customer experience with your brand. All our teams work within SCRUM-framework: the whole production process in divided in sprints. Before moving to the next sprint of digital development we include customer approval and focus group evaluation.

We specialize in functionality improvement for mobile and omnichannel communication with customers. In addition to branded app development for iOS / Android, we offer a number of additional services, including building company’s mobile strategy.

Our company is confident to deliver top-quality results in correspondence to high customer expectations. Our customers are companies involved in retail: warehouse, logistics companies, wholesale and retail stores and their clients.

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