Why Your Retail Store Needs a Mobile App

How much time do you spend on your mobile phone each day? In the United States, the annual average continues to increase, with 2018 setting a new record among adults, who now typically spend 3 hours and 35 minutes per day looking at their phone. Not surprisingly, the majority of this time (over 90 percent) is spent on mobile applications. Despite this, many retailers remain reliant on web browsers to generate online sales, missing a huge opportunity to reach their audience through a mobile app. Here are a few key reasons why your retail store should consider developing a mobile app:

Increase Revenue

With mobile apps projected to generate $188.9 billion in revenue by 2020, and mobile shopping app usage rising by 54 percent between 2016 and 2017, there is certainly money to be made for retailers who provide their customers the opportunity to shop anywhere, at any time. In the United States, for example, 82 percent of online users say they have used a mobile device for shopping, and those that are multi-channel shoppers (in-store, online, mobile app, etc.) are likely to spend three times more than those that are single-channel shoppers.

For smaller businesses, mobile apps can improve visibility and reach a far larger group of potential customers. Instead of being confined to a city or two, all of a sudden the world is literally at their fingertips. There are also numerous benefits for larger businesses, as mobile apps may appeal to a younger demographic, streamline the sales process and allow for communication with customers across multiple channels.

Strengthen Customer Loyalty

Simply creating a mobile app is not enough to guarantee success. In order to see results, a retail mobile app must make a user’s experience fun and convenient, and provide benefits that a customer wouldn’t receive otherwise. When done right, an app can increase loyalty and even convert customers into brand advocates.

Through mobile apps, retailers have the ability to create personalized experiences for users, tailoring products, messaging and offers based on consumer preferences and previous searches. By combining incentives with convenience, retailers can eliminate some of the typical barriers that may deter a customer from making a purchase, and also ensure that they keep coming back for more. In fact, 47 percent of people say that they would use a retail app again if they were to receive a discount or special offer.

Mobile apps can also help shape a customer’s in-store shopping experience. In a recent study, 51 percent of retail mobile app users said that they use their apps while shopping in-store, often to compare prices, check reviews or redeem discounts. By providing customers another tool to help make a purchase decision, retailers can create an omni-channel experience that gives them a competitive edge.

Empower Employees

Along with helping customers through their shopping journey, mobile apps can also provide additional support for retail employees. At SLD, we believe that technology should help employees, not replace them, and a mobile app can be a great tool to improve efficiency, particularly for the customer service, sales and marketing teams.

With the ability to send push notifications and personalized messages, mobile apps offer a direct marketing channel that other forms of advertising can only dream of. They have higher conversion rates, give deeper insights into customer behavior and preference, and even help improve SEO. Combined with the fact that mobile apps can be synced with a user’s email and social media accounts, it is clear that apps are a great way for retailers to stay relevant and competitive.

Though the mobile app market is becoming increasingly crowded, the potential upside for brick and mortar retailers is hard to deny. As consumers spend more time on their phones, they are also downloading more retail apps (the average number per phone has doubled since 2017), and it is clear that this trend is not going away. All one has to do is look at the mobile shopping numbers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to understand that the future is mobile.