Advancements in technology over the last decade or so have revolutionised the retail industry by changing consumer buying patterns and providing personalised shopping experiences on a global scale. Recent findings show that customers want retailers to make better use of technology in-store and have access to free wifi to allow their mobile apps to sync and update with the latest offers.
Mobile app technology has become a critical component for boosting customer loyalty and giving customers multiple scenarios and choices when it comes to personalised shopping experiences for all. 26% of consumers want to see retailers invest more in their apps by adopting AI to improve their shopping experiences, while 29% believe AR and VR platforms should be the focus of their investment.
One-Touch Mobile Payments
There are several reasons why everyone in retail is considering using mobile app technologies in their business. QR code readers can be used to scan products in-store from a smartphone, for example, which provides customers with product information, reviews and shopping trends.
One-touch mobile payments also help simplify the checkout process. Many consumers feel more comfortable paying for purchases through mobile apps, including through PayPal, Apple Pay and Android Pay and avoiding kiosks altogether.
Features like integrated shopping carts and payment gateways also improve user efficiency ratings and provide ease of access for the consumer. This makes the shopping process smooth and hassle-free. Mobile apps can also support in-store operations to help locate products in-store, wish list building and barcode scanners.
Ability to Cater to the Cross-Channel Customer
Many users are being directed by social media channels, due to paid advertising campaigns, and the sharing of information and sources, in terms of customer reviews and product targeting.
Mobile app technology brings the biggest advantage in terms of increasing customer reach. Mobile devices are the best way to reach customers across the world, without having to visit one of your stores in person, which they might not have access to. Online shopping experiences cater to all on the go.
As recent statistics show, mobile app usage for shopping grew by 54% in 2017 and continues to increase. Mobile apps, therefore, bring your products to consumers, making it accessible for all no matter where they are in the world.
Increased Conversion Rates
Applying mobile app technology in the retail industry is also key to help improve conversion rates. With the majority of sales being conducted online, there is no better time to consider using mobile app technology as part of your strategy.
In 2016 the smartphone traffic share increased by 8% while smartphone revenue grew by 65%. This is the ideal opportunity to meet the challenges of consumer demands and better understand the role of the consumer journey.
Mobile dominates in both number of visits and time spent online, represents almost ⅔ of digital media minutes and 50% of searches happen on mobile.
Better Communication Strategies
Many argue that email communications are now being replaced with mobile app notifications as a widely-used communication tool. The ability to send instant notifications to the user’s phone is a new form of communication, getting straight to the heart of any user query, or provide them with valuable information on a device you know they will be checking regularly throughout the day.
There are two types of notifications: push and in-app notifications, being used as alternatives to conventional marketing methods. Push notifications refer to the notifications which users can receive regardless of activity on a mobile device and have an estimated click-through rate of 40%. Push notifications can help customers keep track of the latest promotions, news and personalised offers.
In-app notifications, on the other hand, are notifications which users will receive once they have opened an app.
Personalised Shopping Experiences
Mobile applications offer tailored personal shopping experiences like never before. They can tailor communication-based on user behaviour, buying patterns, interests, location and more.
Mobile apps are also ideal for letting users set up personalised experiences based on the type of content they want to see. They do this simply by tracking and observing user engagement and offering custom recommendations and updates that the user may find helpful.
Leveraging mobile app technology that many shoppers are already using helps everyone to find the products they need in-store and online. This opens up the opportunity also to create cross-platform experiences both online and offline.
Customer Chat Bots
Many retail companies are using chatbots to transform their consumer experiences and bridge the gap between online and offline. They replace the tasks of human workers too like taking customer queries, providing customer service and up-selling to shoppers.
Brands are therefore engaging with their customers in a more conversational setting to drive customer engagement and stay ahead of the competition. Chatbots enable retail businesses to provide superior customer service by driving customer engagement without requiring human intervention and are backed by machine learning to provide personalised product recommendations.
They can be integrated with various communication channels such as Facebook Messenger and e-commerce websites.
What is next for retail?
To conclude, mobile app technology helps deliver the complete experience. Now that the entire world has gone digital, it is time to consider the role that smartphones play in the retail industry. Customer chatbots are also great for simulating a conversation with human users and providing answers to customer queries based on the information they are given.
The mobile uprising has transformed the way retailers work together with consumers and is maturing at such a speed that it is said to outdo all other types of retail engagements. There are multiple ways a retailer can make the shopping experience simpler, by offering customer reviews on services and products, empowering users to track orders and boost business visibility.