Revolutionising retail: essential ways mobile drives footfall

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Certain mobile capabilities are becoming increasingly attractive to retailers, as they provide unique opportunities to drive store traffic and business value. We’ve recently seen businesses like Wholefoods (freshly acquired by Amazon) and Walmart use mobile in an innovative way, such as to ‘Scan & Go’ in-app. Strategies like these aim to create a fluid retail experience between online and in store. Like these businesses, we think there are some great mobile marketing strategies and technologies that retailers should utilise to help drive footfall:

wallmart amazon scan and go app

  • Loyalty schemes:

A mobile loyalty scheme can be an effective way to drive users to a store and allow retailers to accurately attribute store traffic and sales.

How to utilise a loyalty scheme to drive footfall:

An example of a great mobile loyalty scheme is the Harvey Nichols Rewards app. Users can access a loyalty programme exclusively in-app, receiving points and perks based on their in-store and online shopping habits. Loyalty scheme members receive vouchers to spend in-store as an incentive to return to the store, which helps drive footfall.


    • Relevant push messages and prompts are beneficial in driving foot traffic to the store, as well as engagement in-app, which also highlights the importance of implementing an effective mCRM strategy.
    • Existing users feel more valued when offered a bespoke discount, tailored to their tastes and shopping habits. Limited edition offers, deals that expire quickly, in-store events and product promotions are great ways to achieve this.

harvey nichols reward app

  • Wifi:

Wifi is no longer a luxury but an expectation of most customers in-store and retailers can use it to exchange data over a Wireless Local Area Network. 54% of customers use wifi in-store to find product reviews, 47% use it to find offers to use in-store and 36% use it to browse the store’s website, indicating intent to purchase.

How to utilise wifi to drive footfall:

Offering in-store wifi allows customers to carry out product research and continue the user journey. It also allows the retailer to track a customer’s device from entry to exit within the store and is an effective tool to increase dwell time and gather data. However, the benefits of this method are dependent on a customer’s activation of wifi, therefore only a sample of customers can be tracked. Nevertheless, it is a beneficial tool that can be implemented at a relatively low cost.

  • Geotargeting:

Geotargeting allows retailers to send personalised location-based notifications to users and geofencing, a specific real-time location based tool, serves mobile ads to users entering and leaving a pre-selected area.

geolocation and geofencing app notification nudges to drive footfall

How to utilise Geotargeting to drive footfall:

Retailers can utilise location data alongside the user’s mobile behaviour data to target customers in real-time and retarget customers based on their location activity. As an example, using O2’s unique first party data signals, Yahoo delivered highly relevant ads to targeted users at scale. By targeting customers and understanding the relationship between the user, their device and their location, it allowed for highly relevant campaigns and measurement of users who were driven to the store from the campaign.  However, consumers must opt-in to share their location, which most are willing to do if the benefits are clearly portrayed to them. This highlights the importance of the onboarding process when acquiring app users.

  • Beacon technology:

Beacons are an effective way to accurately monitor a user’s real-time movements within the store. The system requires a third-party system and an iOS or Android device, with the relevant retailer app downloaded.

How to utilise Beacon technology to drive footfall:

Through beacon technology, devices can be accurately targeted and tracked by retailers, enabling greater visibility on dwell time and trip impact. Retailers can even nudge customers to unlock a discount for a specific product if they are near it in the store. Nudging users through highly relevant and personalised push messages can help to increase engagement with a brand. 59% of retailers utilising beacons believe that their customers are more engaged in store due to the technology, which encourages product purchases and drives sales.


  • Location-specific rewards and discounts are an effective way to monitor and drive footfall and can be used to directly track behaviour up to the purchase of products.
  • Beacons require a series of security opt-ins, which can limit the amount of data collected. This builds a strong case for an effective onboarding process that encourages the user to opt-in to location-based marketing by clearly highlighting the benefits.

  • Hybrid strategy:

Using a hybrid strategy will certainly give retailers an edge.

By harnessing the power of mobile, and offering a technology powered retail experience, retailers can deliver a unique mix of value.

How to utilise a hybrid strategy to drive footfall:

farfetch hybrid strategy store

Farfetch’s ‘Store of the Future’ demonstrates the benefits of putting mobile at the centre of a retail strategy. The store is a technology powered retail experience and aims to improve productivity by gaining rich customer data to drive people to the store. The Farfetch app allows users to be automatically recognised when they enter the store, detect which products they are browsing and automatically populate a wish list and source items. A seamless mobile payment system then completes the user journey. The mobile strategy does not divert customers away from the store but rather improves productivity and sales, and enhances the customer’s retail experience. This is a great example of disruptive behaviour in retail by utilising mobile in an innovative way.

83% of consumers expect a personalised retail experience and these mobile strategies help to address these expectations and forge a personal relationship with individual customers and the brand, leading to increased lifetime value.

The growing digitisation of retail does not need to be at the expense of store visits – mobile can effectively support retail strategies to encourage customers to the store and drive sales.

Want to find out more about optimising your app and keeping up with the latest OS capabilities? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. You can also get in touch by visiting the Contact Us page. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #mobilemarketingUK LinkedIn group

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Smokehouse Yard, 44-46, St John Street, London, EC1M 4DF 🇬🇧