MARKETING. Handbook for Retail Mobile Strategy

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1 MARKETING Handbook for Retail Mobile Strategy

2 Mobile has become an integral component of IT strategy within the retail industry, with a wide range of applications spanning from connecting with consumers to improving internal communications. Many retail organisations have already invested heavily in mobile strategies, whilst others are lagging behind and missing out on the unexplored potential of mobile. Although there is no fixed cheat sheet for a successful mobile app strategy, we have identified a few features that we think would make a killer retail mobile app. Harnessing our experience with similar apps, as well as research conducted as part of our continuous efforts to lead the way in the mobile industry, this handbook offers exclusive insights into retail mobile strategy. UP TO 2nd UP TO 2nd Selecting the Right Platform: Once the decision to launch a mobile app has been made, the next question to be answered is: which platform should we target? Tempting as it may be to launch your mobile app on all platforms in one go, it s essential to identify the right platform for your niche. Doing so requires you to research and understand your target audience, so your marketing campaign can deliver results. Imagine creating an ad campaign for diabetes awareness, and promoting in your bakery section instead of the pharmacy section. Targeting the wrong audience is always going to have consequences for your marketing strategy, including the success of a mobile app. That said, they are also really competitive in developing countries and shouldn t be ruled out when considering these markets. Deciding the Right Mix of Features for the App: Once the platform has been chosen, it s time to decide which features need to be implemented into the mobile app. Similar to the platform, the prospect of adding every possible feature into a single app can seem appealing, in a bid to ensure that every customer is targeted. But this method destroys what we call the User Experience; nowadays, smartphone users have a certain level of expectation regarding how a mobile app needs to look and feel and function. In Brazil Windows Mobile now has a greater market share than Apple Source: IDC DOWN TO 3rd Each OS has its own market share, advantages and disadvantages, and it s important to identify these differences from the outset. As Android and ios both dominant the OS market, it makes sense to focus on them when working on a mobile app strategy. But in places like Brazil and a few European countries, Windows Mobile still plays an important role. Therefore for a Brazilian or European-based retailer, it would be beneficial to consider working Windows Mobile into their strategy. Similarly when looking at South Asian and Chinese countries, Android has more numbers than ios, making it logical to invest in Android before looking at other platforms. Other platforms like Cyanogen OS, Firefox OS and Tizen have only small shares of the market, making them generally undesirable for launching mobile apps. When a brand tries to push all possible features into a single app, it detracts from the experience and confuses the user. If the brand or organisation thinks that all features are equally important, they should consider launching separate apps with a confined set of features for each, rather than launching a single allencompassing app. 76.6% ios and Android Combine for 96.3% Smartphone Market Share Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Feb 24, % hedgehoglab.com 2

3 How in-store customers use mobile Source: Google Survey 53% Of smartphone shoppers compare prices in-store 36% Use mobile for location and directions Although the below features might not offer a blueprint for every app, we think they offer fantastic benefits for a retail mobile app strategy: Catalogue: Any retail outlet has a catalogue of items that they are looking to sell to their customers, and this is the primary attraction for shoppers purchasing online or in store. Hence making this catalogue available to customers via the mobile app is a smart move to boost sales and enhance brand loyalty. However in doing so, the retailer must ensure that these listings are mobile screen friendly, and customise the look and feel of the app to this end. Offers: There is possibly not a single offline or online retailer that does not make offers and discounts available to their customers, and these can be presented on the mobile app. App users are accustomed to using their smartphones to easily and quickly discover what they want to buy and purchase. If the user sees an offer as soon as he/she launches the app, it could potentially result in a quick sale. Loyalty Features: Loyalty cards are commonplace with major as well as independent retailers, many of whom launch their own loyalty cards or merge with existing schemes in the market, like Nectar Card in the UK. Loyalty cards enables users not only to get discounts, but also keep track of their previous purchases and keep an eye on their accrued points with their unique customer number. Making this information available digitally on a mobile app would enable customers to use their loyalty cards more effectively. With mobile apps like Passbook, the consumer can also add a digital card, which can be scanned during a purchase to take advantage of discounts or earn points. Likewise, a brand s mobile app can contain a section with a digital version of the card, which can be scanned at the checkout. Instant Payment: Consumers do not want the inconvenience of filling in their card or bank details for each and every purchase. These days, they expect systems to be smart enough to remember their details and yet keep them secure. There are multiple ways to make this work: the mobile app can integrate a feature like one-click purchase, where the customer s details are all stored in a location and password protected for security. When integrated with features like TouchID, customers can easily retrieve these details using their fingerprint to authenticate their details. Meanwhile, apps can integrate mobile wallets like Google Wallet and even Apple Pay to enable quick purchase options for their users. 39% look for offers 35% Check opening hours hedgehoglab.com 3

4 Categories in-store shoppers search for on smartphones Source: Google Survey 55% Appliances 48% Electronics 40% Baby Care 39% Household care In Store Assistance: Providing shoppers with in store assistance has always been a key element of customer service within the retail sector. However as today s customers spend more time in the digital world using their mobile devices than physically in store, every purchase is researched or compared online using their ever-connected mobile devices. Retailers can encourage their smartphone usage, by enabling users to scan items bar codes, using their app to check benefits, features and even special discounts for loyalty card holders. Even assistance such as helping shoppers locate items in a store could be improved with apps; technology such as ibeacon installed in a store can guide the user to the locations of different items, by sending this information to the users mobile app. These devices can also prompt a user and guide them to discounts or a specific item on their wish list, helping them to navigate though the store. After Sales Service: A quality after sales service is crucial to ensure consumer loyalty and repeat sales in the retail sector. However after sales service in the digital age is very different from the traditional approach; for example users do not search for manuals any more, instead they search online for answers and instructions. Therefore making customer service accessible via a mobile app, or including a section of instructions and FAQs, can be really beneficial to the user. Even systems like Aurasma can be utilised to provide video solutions to common user problems. When embedded into the mobile app, the user can scan an image to trigger a video on the system, such as how to assemble and set up the product for initial use. Similarly various QR codes can be provided by a brand, which can be scanned by users to access solutions instantly on their smartphones. Companies launch hundreds of products on a yearly basis, making it difficult for users and the customer service team to identify the exact product when a problem arises. QR codes provide a simple solution, enabling service personnel to clearly identify the product make and model, and customers to get a better and more efficient service. Integrating New Technologies: Retailers need to stay in sync with the expectations of users as new technologies are introduced on a daily basis. Below are a few technologies that we think enable a better instore experience for customers in high street retail stores: E-Ink Price Tags: E-ink price tags have been implemented in retail stores for few years now, with more and more retailers beginning to experiment in this field. This technology allows retailers to keep customers updated with the live prices of products. If a brand s mobile app is integrated with the e-ink reader via a barcode scanner, QR code or ibeacon, the user can get a view into price trends of that product, as well as possible savings such a loyalty card discounts. hedgehoglab.com 4

5 ibeacon: ibeacon has been briefly discussed above, but as an emerging technology it s something that retailers need to keep an eye on. Apple has already shown how it would work in retail, by identifying customers and providing them with relevant information and offers. This can be replicated in any retailer s outlet by harnessing basic database management. Imagine walking into a clothing store and being notified that the beautiful shirt on sale is the perfect match for the black jeans you bought last week. Smartwatches: Smartwatches are the latest craze in wearables and possibly the next big thing in technology. These devices, whether they be an Android Wear product or the Apple Watch, are perfect for carrying a shopping list app for the customers, enabling users to quickly strike items off the list as they purchase them. These devices can also be used to retrieve information from ibeacons such as discounts or bonuses. Loyalty schemes can be imported into a small barcode on these devices, which could be used during checkout instead of searching for their app or loyalty card. CarPlay/Android Auto: Some retailers have multiple outlets in the same city and also have pick up points, so customers can order products online and collect them in store on their way home. Using CarPlay or Android Auto, retailers can create inter-connected apps, which can identify when the user is nearby an outlet. This technology could notify users when their products are ready for collection, or if they are searching for a particular product, it can inform them when a particular item is available at a nearby outlet. HealthKit/Google Health: HealthKit and Google Health are a set of apps and frameworks, enabling developers to interact with various health-related apps and devices using ios and Android operating systems. All the data generated and created is synced to the app using this system, whilst other apps and systems can access the frameworks to enhance the user experience. Retailers can create apps that connect to these systems, to identify medications and nutrient rich food that could be beneficial to the user, creating a more personalised shopping experience. Attentive Design: Design is one of the main factors determining whether an app is successful or not, translating into user experience something that should be taken very seriously. Brands and developers need to ensure that their app is very intuitive and easy to use. Any app that takes more than a few seconds to start up and has huge steps to enable a user to access a particular section, gets deleted by the users. As mobile sales can comprise a huge chunk of business for a retailer, it would be amiss of a brand to compromise its app success by failing to invest adequate time and money on design and user experience. hedgehoglab.com 5

6 hedgehog lab Generator Studios, Trafalgar Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2LA w: hedgehoglab.com e: t: March 2015

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