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What retail can learn from mobile-first apps

27th Nov 2017
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Mobile retail continues to grow, with the total time spent in bricks-and-clicks retail apps increased by nearly 40% over the past 12 months. At the same time, apps from mobile-first companies increased by more than 50%. It’s clear e-commerce is thearea for growth but getting customers to physical stores is still extremely valuable as they’re more likely to buy in-store.
While e-commerce may be thriving, there is still demand for in-store experiences. According to m-commerce platform GPShopper, 86% of shoppers enjoy “experience stores” that allow them to try products before buying. However, many bricks-and-mortar stores are struggling to find ways to make in-store experiences sufficiently compelling to increase footfall.
Others have actually discovered how to use mobile to drive traffic to stores. For example, Sephora found success by employing dynamic user acquisition by serving location-targeted texts promoting limited-edition products to customers who live near a store. The company also creates daily mobile content to encourage users to shop and has a chatbot in Facebook Messenger that allows shoppers to book in-store appointments.
Japanese fashion retailer MUJI is another success story. The MUJI Passport app managed to get shoppers to its 400+ physical stores by utilising push notifications on discounted products and bonus points for shopping. MUJI also offered shoppers a 10% in-store discount during its “MUJI Week” sales. Although MUJI has an online store, the company found that users were browsing its online catalog in order to buy in-store.
Even online retail giant Amazon is experimenting with opening physical stores with Amazon Books, and even with POS-free convenience stores, with Amazon Go. While customers find value in Amazon’s excellent, algorithmically driven recommendations, its excellent customer keeps customers coming back.
As e-commerce continues to dominate, bricks-and-mortar stores will have to adopt new strategies to compete. By leveraging mobile apps, dynamic user acquisition and unique in-store experiences, bricks-and-mortar companies can drive both loyal returning and new customers to physical stores.

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