The Retail Industry has embraced the world of mobile apps like no other sector.
Testimony to the state is a recent report by TechCrunch that mentions the stellar growth of 174% year over year for shopping and lifestyle native apps.
However, the proof of the pudding is not in the numbers, but in the quality of apps that are flooding the retail market. Many have become highly innovative and responsive to customer expectations, keep in mind that wearable technology is the next frontier for any business that’s investing in their mobile apps.
Which Are The Challenges For Retail Mobile Apps in 2015?
With each passing day, the brick and mortar retail establishments are investing greater capital for e-commerce as the global mobile retail revenues are expected to reach 626 billion U.S. dollars by 2018.
While the retail app market is flourishing with native apps of all sorts, the ones who are really winning the game are the ones with outstanding features and a strong call to action.
Specific challenges include Retail Apps that:
- Analyze customer behavior for consistent & intelligent cross-device message delivery.
- Address the insatiable need for on-demand services.
- Allow seamless personalized experiences across Omni-channels.
Based on multiple research studies and feedbacks given throughout various social platforms, the following 9 retailers have clicked with the customers, and vice versa through the usage of their native retail store mobile apps.
- Starbucks – It will be safe to call Starbucks the king of mobile apps in retail because of the convenience they provide new and regular customers alike. Loyalty points let users pay without hassle, as well as letting them skip queue lines and take part in the upcoming “pre-order” feature that will allow customers to get steaming coffee automatically ordered, paid-for and delivered wherever they need a pick-me-up. Investors couldn’t have been happier with the growing base of customers and their app implementations.
- Walgreens – This pharmacy retailer set the biggest example of “How to get spotted” with their 3-D view maps enabled by special cameras. Customers using their mobile app not only get directions to relevant shelves but also get contextual discounts on items as they browse through the store. No wonder the drug store has more than 20,000 app store ratings.
- Belk Inc. – For mass merchant retailers, customer engagement is always the top priority. To complement the in-store experience, Belk’s app offers customers easy barcode scanning, Belk store finder, coupon integration with Apple’s Passbook wallet, ease of email and social sharing. The result? According to Mobile 500, 32.4% of active Belk app users visit the app at least once a week.
- IKEA – You can always trust IKEA for doing things differently. Their augmented reality app is a revelation. All the customer needs to do is place the catalog in any space inside their home and launch the app. The futuristic app turns the room into virtual showroom giving the customer ideas in seconds about how and what furniture would suit its size as well as the best-recommended styles.
- Urban Outfitters – The Urban Outfitters’ native mobile app is called Urban On. It makes sure the shoppers can’t get enough of it. The app sends notifications to customers at key points in their shopping journey, enhancing their brand awareness and experience. The personalized visit fun is multiplied by discounts/promotional offers given in exchange for some social media platform photo sharing of tried on Urban outfits.
- Wal-Mart – Simple yet effective defines the functionality and UX of the Wal-Mart app. It has been attracting 145,500,000 customers on its mobile app as per data from Similar Web PRO, a competitive analysis platform. Their app features offer on the homepage, fast easy refills, e-gift cards if other local competitors give a lower advertised price and weekly ads. These all show us that even the old school retail giant is getting the modern technology right.
- Hointer – The men’s’ clothing store understands the classic adage that men don’t like to shop and that when they do it has to be quick. How about robots fulfilling this task? Hointer’s native retail mobile app allows the customer to add clothes in virtual shopping carts. These same clothes are then delivered by robots to the dressing room in under 30 seconds. Customers can rate the clothes on the go with tshopping experience like never before even with zero sales staff.
- Waitrose – One of the earliest adopters of iBeacon technology, Waitrose, the European grocery retailer, gives an impressive personalized experience to its customers. Beacons placed near their store’s entrances are able to recognize customers as they walk in and send them notifications, using the mobile app to highlight offers and specific items. The app also supports barcode scanning for spec details and reviews with real-time live assistance provided by sales representatives.
- Best Buy – With an added support for IFTTT (If This Then That) the Best Buy app allows users to program their own unique personalized variations of in-store experience. Customers can receive immediate push notifications on their favorite items, telling them prices, or when their favorite items are in stock. They make shopping very easy for customers through their native retail app.
Retailers who are lagging behind in the mobile marketing and e-commerce market need to get on board or risk getting left behind, is important to put user needs first to drive interest and inevitable sales driven by UX thinking.
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