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5 Ways to Fuel In-Store Purchases with a Mobile App

One aspect of modern-day shopping that retailers cannot discount is consumers’ sheer reliance on mobile devices for browsing, pricing, and locating products. According to Google’s Mobile In-Store Research study, customers who frequently leverage their smartphones in-store are actually more likely to buy more.

The key to maximizing mobile-inspired sales comes with ensuring that a retail app contains at least several of these interactive features.

Loyalty point kickbacks: The advent of third-party loyalty apps that are not affiliated solely with one particular brand has resulted in more cohesive mall shopping experiences for mobile-savvy consumers. Apps such as Shopkick enable retailers to offer shoppers loyalty points for completing basic tasks within a brick-and-mortar store, including walking inside the storefront and heading to the fitting rooms to try an item on. If consumers know they can earn 100 bonus points – that are redeemable for cash back or gift cards – just for popping into a Macy’s, for instance, that department store is bound to see higher foot traffic and, provided it has enticing displays in its entryway, a higher amount of impulse purchases by wandering shoppers.

Store-only offers: Most retailers maintain a dedicated offers section with their mobile apps. Instead of having promotions only be eligible for app and online purchases, consider rolling out a deal that requires consumers to come in-store along with their mobile device. For instance, Victoria’s Secret once launched a campaign that invited fans to take a selfie with in-store signage promoting a new fragrance, upload it to social media, and show it to an employee to receive a free perfume sample. The deal was only available to in-store shoppers, but included a memorable mobile component that also resulted in a great branding opportunity—and more chances for in-store browsing.

In-store maps: Target was one of the first major brands to herald this revenue-generating opportunity during one of the busiest retail days of the year: Black Friday. The company let its app users leverage in-store maps to accurately plan out their shopping trips prior to arriving at a brick-and-mortar store, and consequently, maximize their time. Consumers were able to see which aisles housed the best doorbuster deals, making them more likely to tick off each item on their holiday wish lists and leave the store with a full shopping cart.

Scannable product tags: By adorning each item’s tag with a scannable QR code, retailers can enable mobile-equipped shoppers to receive instant product information, customer reviews, price comparison tools, and fit suggestions. During times of peak volume, consumers may struggle in finding an available store employee to answer their questions or offer styling tips. If shoppers know they can rely on their smartphone as an omnipresent shopping buddy, they may become more likely to follow through with a purchase after having read important product information on the spot.

Location-specific push notifications: Geotargeting continues to be a hot topic for digital marketers, and its ability to reach nearby consumers with relevant content offers yet another way of using mobile to fuel in-store sales. If a major food and beverage chain wants to advertise an afternoon special on coffee, for instance, it can simply send out a push notification targeted to all of its app users in a specific city or geographic radius. This eliminates the possibility of sending the deal to ineligible locales or users, and bolsters the likelihood of individuals stopping by on impulse to redeem the offer and enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up.

Ultimately, mobile apps provide an invaluable gateway to higher amounts of in-store purchases. While some users may conduct a majority of their shopping directly within the app while on-the-go, a large portion of a retailer’s clientele prefers to use smartphones in tandem with in-person browsing. After all, it is an omnichannel world—filled with omnichannel shoppers. 

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Alex Samuely, Contributor

Alex is a marketing and communications professional with extensive experience in analyzing digital and mobile marketing trends. She has also covered brand-oriented mobile strategies spanning the retail, travel, financial services, and food and beverage industries.

Topics: Mobile App