Did you know 90 percent of shoppers use their smartphones to make purchasing decisions while in-store? According to SessionM, the top activities consumers perform on their smartphones are comparing prices, researching product information and reading online reviews.
Additionally, Forbes surveyed more than 1,600 millennials and found 47 percent had recently downloaded a mobile shopping app. Of those respondents who had mobile shopping apps, 54 percent said they downloaded them because it was easier than accessing the retailer’s mobile site, while 27 percent stated it was because they receive discounts and lower prices via the app.
Despite this trend, retailers still aren't completely on board with deploying a mobile app that can perform these activities and much more. While it’s understandable to be hesitant because it can take time to gain adoption and for consumers to regularly engage with your app, the time to start is now.
As consumers continue to expect and demand mobile offerings, consider implementing these three long-term strategies in your mobile app adoption efforts:
1. Shout the app from the rooftops. Just like with any other special sale or new campaign, consumers won’t know about your app if you don’t promote it. Retailers must take the time to market their app accordingly on all pieces of consumer-facing communication. From point-of-purchase (PoP) displays to online microsites and everything in between, every piece of in-store collateral and digital content should have a call to action to remind visitors about the app and direct them to download it. Consider offering an incentive (e.g., a coupon or discount on their next purchase) to generate more consumer participation in the beginning.
2. Show consumers why they should use the app. Researching consumer behavior and shopping habits, and understanding your customers' preferences can help shape the app. Finding a value proposition that meets these wants and needs is key to successful adoption. A great example of this is Target’s Cartwheel app, also known as the ultimate coupon book. The retail giant takes clipping coupons to the next level by digitally offering the best deals via the app. The app’s popularity grew to 7 million users and counting within the first year. While Cartwheel is constantly rolling out new features, it's gained its ground and standing in the industry because of the coupon offerings.
3.Build an exclusive app-only club. According to TechnologyAdvice, consumers are over 80 percent more likely to shop at stores that offer a loyalty program. Instead of plastic cards, use your mobile app to regularly track and reward customers. If they can get points or special app-only discounts towards their next purchase, customers will begin using the technology during every shopping trip. This is ideal for creating a loyal customer base of mobile app users, as opposed to one-off downloaders. Be sure to send special messages with offers or deals through the app consistently to ensure visitors are reminded to use it. The more often they use your app, the more it will become habitual.
If you're still not ready to develop and deploy your own mobile app, consider a multibranded app. This solution acts similar to an individual app, but allows consumers to find additional information from all participating retailers as opposed to just one. Some multibranded apps even mold to the retailer’s signature look and feel when opened in-store and can provide the same effect as a branded app without the resources required to develop one from scratch.
Regardless of which app option you choose, it’s imperative to begin a mobile app strategy. Consumers turn to apps automatically, therefore retailers must meet them where they are in order to be successful in this digital world. Remember to take the time to understand customer preferences and what they're looking for in a mobile app, and then tailor the experience accordingly. Even if adoption is slower at the beginning, don’t give up. A little patience and perseverance can yield big results when consumers look to your mobile app as a resource in their in-store shopping journey.
Andrew Levi is the founder and CEO of Blue Calypso, a location-centric mobile shopper engagement platform.