Increasingly, our smartphones are bridging the gap between online and the real world, and this is especially true in the world of retail. In an intriguing stat, Deloitte says that by 2016 more than $1trillion worth of sales will be “influenced” by mobile and digital. Retailers talk about the customer journey, and it’s clear that mobile devices are with consumers at every step. So, we’ve collated five of the best examples of mobile put to good use in retail environments.
If you think mobile in retail is all about buzzing your customers with constant offers and promotions, think again. The best mobile innovations actually make your customers’ experience easier. A prime example of this is the Walgreens app in the US. Among other features, the app lets you click and collect repeat prescriptions, reminds you when you should be popping your pills, lets you order prints of your pictures, and even lets you live chat with a pharmacist. Proof that mobile can enhance the in-store experience, rather than replace it.
You can’t read about iBeacons without reading that Apple introduced the low-energy Bluetooth technology “quietly”. And take up of the tech, which can locate a smartphone within a few inches if it’s got the right app installed, has been pretty quiet too. However, retailers are now starting to experiment – Waitrose is trialling an iBeacons app that alerts shoppers to price promotions when they’re in the relevant part of its new store in Swindon. Tesco is also trialling iBeacons in a store in Chelmsford, though it’s said it wants customers to get used to the technology before it starts using it for marketing.
Scouring the globe for mobile innovation has taken us to Guatemala, where shoe store Meatpack has come up with a cheeky location-based campaign. Using GPS and an app, the company sent a 50 per cent off voucher to customers as they approach a rival store. The 50 per cent then diminishes as time goes by – so the quicker the consumer jumps ship from the competitor and hot-foots it to Meatpack, the more money they save.
UK DIY store B&Q has taken an innovative approach to its loyalty scheme. Rather than rewarding purchases with points, the company treats its app users as members of an exclusive club. Members are then sent discounts and special offers via the app and email. The next step in the brand’s mobile strategy is to equip staff members with mobile devices, enabling them to better serve customers in store.
US enormobrand Walmart has embraced mobile quicker than most in its stores, and is reaping the rewards. The company says that users of its app make twice the number of physical visits per month, and spend 40 per cent more than non-app users. Numbers like that make a very compelling case for getting your app strategy right and marketing the app strongly. The app itself takes advantage of GPS to guide users around the store, and also allows for self-scanning of barcodes and payment via mobile on the handset.
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