December 14, 2016
Key features in a retail app that shoppers will love
By Mandy Hawkins
In the retail industry there is one guarantee: there will always be competition.
And when your competition gets better, you’ve got to strategize your next move. This includes creating an omnichannel approach to reaching and retaining customers.
One of the most important tools in your omnichannel arsenal is your mobile app. With mobile sales from apps reaching $59.86 billion in 2015, it is important for retailers’ apps to integrate and enhance the customer’s online and in-store journey (1). These three key features will make users fall in love with your app.
It’s all about the customer’s experience. Beginning with the onboarding process, and continuing with personalized interaction with your customer, the app should cater to your customer’s specific preferences. This includes tailored content and product recommendations, in-app features, and rewards.
Examples: While Knomi is not a retailer, their highly personalized app points subscribers to high-end fashion boutiques near them. What makes the Knomi app stand out is the personalized push notifications which suggest items to discover in nearby boutiques, based on the user’s preferences. In-app purchases are available, but the Knomi app strives to drive traffic in stores. Additionally, users receive special event invitations, based on their preferences.
Staying true to their commitment to have happy, healthy customers, Walgreens launched Your Digital Health Advisor, a personalized health plan that allows participants to track their progress. The app even allows customers to connect their Fitbit data, helping them earn points for Walgreen’s Balance Rewards program.
2. Location Intelligence
In a fast-paced world, time wasted searching for needed or desired items ranks high on a customer’s complaint list. Adding location intelligent features to your app greatly reduces this pain point.
Retailers that complete digital indexing allow customers to find products easily, integrating product location with mobile coupons and price comparisons for the big win. Some cool features that your customers will love include concierge assistance, where customers can call for service directly from their smartphone; real-time inventory across multiple stores; product suggestions; and integration with your customer’s personalized shopping and wish lists.
Examples: Walmart’s real-time inventory tracking allows customers to find their product in-store, down to the aisle location with price comparisons and offered savings. If the customer can’t find what they’re looking for in that store, the intuitive app will search multiple stores nearby to track down their desired items. Their Savings Catcher compares the nearby competition’s prices and gives customers the difference with an e-gift card.
3. Augmented Reality
Combining elements from the real world with virtual reality features, customers can do everything from a kitchen remodel to a beauty makeover with this app feature.
Augmented reality features enhance the customer’s personalized experience, eliminate customer pain points, and elevate the retailer’s customer service. In fact, 55% of customers believe virtual/augmented reality will influence their purchasing decisions (3).
Examples: IKEA’s virtual reality app allows customers to design custom kitchens or virtually place products in their homes for better visualization of how that product works within their real-life settings.
Sephora allows customers to complete a virtual makeover, eliminating the need to sit through a product demonstration and streamlining the customer journey.
While the retail industry will always remain competitive, smart retailers will see the value of investing in a solid mobile app. In an ever-changing digital landscape, the smartest retailers will continue to add the latest features, ensuring they’ve enhanced their customers' online and in-store journey every step of the way.