The Impact of Mobile Apps on Retail

Humans’ need for goods has ensured the continued existence of the retail industry. While the retail industry will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, it has undergone a number of changes in the past several years.

One of those changes is how people make purchases. Mobile technologies such as applications have made it easier than ever to make purchases. Read on to learn how mobile apps have affected the retail industry and how they’ll continue to change it in the future.

The Rise of Retail Mobile Apps

The introduction and proliferation of smart phones led to the introduction and proliferation of mobile apps. For mobile device users, apps were another way to interact with brands.

Retailers quickly caught on to this phenomenon. They realized that they could sell their goods through apps. Consumers took advantage of retailers’ move toward mobile apps. In 2015, retail app development grew by 81%. Year over year, mobile commerce has grown by 29% and now accounts for 60% of all e-commerce.

Why are mobile apps so popular? You don’t have to navigate to a website – you can take whatever actions you need to within an app. Mobile apps tend to have a better user experience than mobile websites, even if users still need to download them (a source of friction that hasn’t dented their popularity).

What Will Mobile Retail Apps Look Like in the Future?

Mobile apps will only continue to grow in popularity. They’re not going to go away. Rather, they’ll only become more sophisticated.

In the future, consumers will be able scan and pay for items before they even leave the store. That’s thanks to mobile scan-and-go technology. It’s in its infancy now, but expect its adoption to grow as more retailers figure out how to make it cost-effective.

Mobile scan-and-go technology offers an opportunity to retailers to upsell or cross-sell. With beacon technology, retailers can “push” notifications to consumers, such as coupons or special deals.

Beacons, in combination with mobile applications, personalize the shopping experience for consumers. They can tailor offers that meet the customer’s needs at the right time.

Putting Mobile at the Center of Your Strategy

Retailers have to face facts: mobile apps are a fixture of the retail landscape now. As such, mobile apps must be the linchpin of the strategy to reach customers.

In some parts of the world, mobile apps are more popular for shopping than desktops. That doesn’t mean that mobile devices will replace desktops (at least, not any time in the near future). Rather, retailers must recognize that mobile devices and apps are a vital part of the omnichannel experience.

Consumers shop with their mobile devices nowadays, comparing prices, looking at other sites for inspiration, and purchasing items with their mobile wallets. If you ignore these activities, you’ll be left behind as your competitors capitalize on this phenomenon. Making mobile apps a linchpin of your customer outreach strategy ensures that you’ll stay relevant and top of mind for consumers.

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