Here’s the hard-hitting reality. In the last year alone, there has been an increase of more than 247% in shoppers using apps to make their purchases. It’s also not surprising to know that 79% of smart device owners are also smart device shoppers. Despite retailer worries, the growth of online shopping has not lead to the death of physical store customer engagement. In fact, online shopping has only revived and doubled conversions. But how?

The answer is simple. Let’s face it. We’ve come a long way from bulky cash registers to never-ending pile of files to being able to use a single electronic device and accessing our every need and requirement anytime, anywhere. Research has found in the current world of touch, swipe and a single button solution, consumers are not only looking for instant solutions on the go from their brick –and-mortar stores, but are pretty much expecting them to do so. In times like this, it is but imperative that retailers embrace an omni-channel e-commerce strategy. Nothing can bridge the gap between retailers, their physical online store and customers better than a mobile app. A shopper using this app is instantly connected to the online & offline shopping experience. Imagine the change in customer experience that this could bring – from using coupons to generating brand loyalty and emotional investment if done right?

8583947713_c1880b3fae_k

In a nut-shell, a mobile app for a retail store can serve two main purposes:

Bridging the offline-online Divide and Gap – Get a glimpse of what your customers are like. Their inherent reasons to make purchases, the channel funnel that they prefer among several others. Research has shown that mobile apps are instrumental in not just taking the customer from visit to purchase but understanding their behavior patterns. In addition when customers use an app to purchase their product, the store is still fulfilling a useful integral function, it just changes in its primary role.

Engagement with Customers: The cost for acquiring a prospective buyer is progressively becoming significantly high, as a result of attention drawn by different ad-media including television, bill boards, digital ads among others. All these channels, decrease the probability of brand recall. The smarter way is to build apps that add value to a customer’s daily life by being relevant, providing them with precise information in the form of a ready catalogue and subtly making the brand recall more. Examples of such apps are countless: a calorie count value for a restaurant; a recipe book for a grocery outlet. Customers are soon beginning to appreciate the potential of a personalized shopping experience, and the more the feel they are in control, the more they like it.

To stay ahead of the curve, keeping your customers engaged better than your competitors is the foremost important aspect of an omni-channel experience. If you’d like to know more, stay tuned as we’re going to be covering lots more on that in the weeks to come.

In the meanwhile, what are your thoughts on enhancing shopping experiences with apps? Feel free to share your thoughts below.