8 companies improving in-person retail with mobile apps

Earlier than the pandemic pressured a file quantity of retailer closings, we heard in regards to the “existential reckoning” in retail as consumers shifted their habits from strolling aisles to digital visits.However regardless of the rise in digital, a latest research from Raydiant—an expertise administration platform—confirmed that roughly 50% of individuals nonetheless desire to buy at a bodily retailer. And when Hermés reopened its Guangzhou location in April of 2020, consumers flocked to spend a file $2.7 million in a single day—a lot of that on gadgets they might have ordered on-line.


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It appears the rumors of brick-and-mortar’s demise are considerably exaggerated.

What has modified is how individuals take into consideration their path to buying and which touchpoints do they undergo on their procuring journey

On this publish, we’ll present you ways 8 main manufacturers tailored to create the right combination to drive buyer delight.

The built-in strategy wins 

Most (73% in line with Harvard Enterprise Assessment) say they like to mix in-person and on-line experiences, whereas 57% say they’ve used a retailer’s cellular app whereas in considered one of its bodily areas.

This pattern has been within the works for some time. Approach again in 2015, Goal CEO Brian Cornell noticed that “on Black Friday, 10% of our iPhone app income was from friends buying on their cellphone whereas they have been concurrently procuring considered one of our shops.”

A profitable buyer/model relationship doesn’t separate digital and bodily channels. As an alternative, it creates an built-in expertise that delights consumers as they seamlessly stream from on-line to in-person encounters.

The eight retailers and shopper manufacturers on this listing exemplify the purpose. They’ve used their apps to drive foot visitors whereas making the in-person procuring expertise simpler, safer, and far more enjoyable.

Burger King’s geofence offensive

Burger King pulled a few of the best tech-enabled trolling in fast-food historical past whereas concurrently displaying how an app can drive a lot of foot visitors.

In 2018, BK arrange geofences round 14,000 McDonald’s areas. A geofence is a digital perimeter round a bodily location that may detect app customers who’ve opted in to location companies.

The King then gave out digital coupons good for a 1-cent Whopper, however solely to individuals who opened their app inside 600 toes of a McDonald’s.

The #whopperdetour marketing campaign received awards and generated 1.5 million app downloads.

The lesson

You don’t need to be as aggressive or diabolical as BK to drive foot visitors along with your app. As an alternative, provide time-sensitive, in-store-only offers to clients who’ve opted in to location companies in your app once they’re within the neighborhood.

The Hole’s in-stock answer

It’s irritating while you wish to purchase one thing however the retailer you drove to is out of inventory. The Hole has two built-in options on its app to maintain its clients from experiencing that destiny.

First, consumers can test inventory at a neighborhood retailer on the Hole app. They simply decide a location and a product to see if it’s on the shelf.

However even higher, an app additionally tells Hole workers when it’s time to replenish inventory of a product or dimension on the gross sales ground.


The pandemic made BOPIS (purchase on-line, decide up in-store) a shopper expectation. Whereas most e-commerce web sites will assist BOPIS, your cellular app ought to, too. Which means having a Hole-like inventory checker and a method to place a pick-up at retailer order. Some shops, like Finest Purchase, even can help you textual content while you’re on the way in which.

L’Oréal’s try-before-you-buy AR

Altering hair colour is a giant deal. L’Oréal’s app allows you to check out your ‘do’s new hue earlier than committing to the method—with out ever leaving the shop.

The augmented reality-based app superimposes any L’Oréal colour onto a real-time picture in your cell phone. Simply decide the product and scan the field.

You possibly can even attempt on make-up the identical method. When you’ve picked the proper shade, both take a look at on the retailer or add it to an inventory for future supply.

The lesson

Augmented actuality is the perfect expertise for enhancing real-life experiences—it’s proper there within the identify. Your app can use AR in a lot of methods. Attempt gamifying a visit to your retailer with a digital scavenger hunt (a-la Pokémon Go). Or permit consumers to scan a field and have interaction with a digital model of a product—decreasing torn packages on the similar time.

Nordstrom’s app-enabled becoming room

Becoming rooms are an necessary software within the battle towards excessive return charges. Buyers aren’t at all times thrilled with the expertise, although. So Nordstrom created a dressing room concierge service by means of its app, decreasing the stress to decorate.

By means of the app, Buyers reserve garments to attempt on within the retailer. Associates collect the items and place them in a devoted dressing room—texting consumers as soon as it’s prepared.

Based on Nordstrom’s press launch, an early trial of the try-on reservation service was well-received; 80% of consumers that attempted it returned to make use of it a number of instances.

The lesson

Even in case you don’t promote attire, you may take a web page from Nordstrom’s playbook. For instance, permit app customers to schedule time with a devoted affiliate to study big-ticket gadgets. Or join in-store group lessons or demonstrations. Then observe up with same-day reductions to extend conversions.

Pilot Flying J’s gasoline for weary highway warriors

The Pareto Precept means that 80% of your gross sales come from 20% of your clients. Whether or not that determine is correct at your organization, the purpose is that repeat clients are vital to progress. Pilot Flying J makes use of its app to shock loyal guests with completely timed bonus offers.

App customers which have opted in to geolocation companies and push notifications get personalised reductions on merchandise based mostly on earlier conduct. So if a driver steadily stops by for his or her morning espresso, they might get a deal on a breakfast deal with to go along with it.

Such affords give loyal clients a bit of sudden pleasure and might help improve their common buy worth.

The lesson

Reductions are a strong motivator, however they’re not the one method you may delight frequent patrons whereas they’re in a retailer. Attempt reminding consumers to select up steadily purchased consumables (as a result of nobody likes working out of lip balm). And allow them to know when a brand new taste of their favourite beverage hits the shelf.

Ben’s Authentic’s infinite package deal

Transparency is non-negotiable for at this time’s shoppers. Sadly, product packaging solely has a lot area to coach clients. Ben’s Authentic (previously Uncle Ben’s) app gave discerning consumers a view into its product origins like no package deal ever might.

For a restricted time, French consumers who downloaded the app might scan a pack of basmati rice and study in regards to the farmers who grew it.

The multi-media presentation included video, photos, and replica to spotlight the model’s dedication to sustainability.

The lesson

An app and a scannable package deal code provide limitless alternatives (suppose: recipes, evaluations, how-to movies) to construct buyer confidence proper once they’re deciding which product to purchase.

Walmart’s scan & go

Ready in line can really feel like torture—and it leaves a foul impression on an in any other case good procuring expertise. Walmart’s scan & go app lets consumers leap the road and fly by means of the checkout course of.

Right here’s the way it works. Prospects open the Walmart+ app, scan product barcodes as they store, then scan the QR code from their app at self-checkout. There’s even a working whole in real-time in order that consumers can skip the sticker shock, too.

As a bonus, scan & go additionally means contactless checkout—making the entire course of safer for everybody.

The lesson

There are different methods to use the scan-and-go theme. Buyers might scan gadgets right into a want listing whereas perusing your retailer, even turning the listing into a marriage or vacation reward registry (hopefully, Santa has your app). Then these lists turn out to be one other method to personalize affords, reductions, and content material.

The Dwelling Depot’s brick-and-mortar map

Search a web based store and also you’ll discover the proper product with just a few mouse clicks. Monitoring that very same merchandise down at a cavernous residence enchancment retailer is probably not really easy. At The Dwelling Depot, there’s a map for that.

Say you’re at a brick-and-mortar Dwelling Depot searching for, properly, bricks and mortar. Simply open up the HD app and search like several e-commerce website. The in-store product locator highlights the precise location of your gadgets.

The app additionally lets you already know when an merchandise is out of inventory, so that you don’t spend treasured time trying to find one thing that’s not there.

The lesson

An in-store product locator is a time-saving characteristic that mimics on-line procuring comfort. So is a “individuals additionally purchase” listing. As a result of nobody likes getting all the way in which residence solely to appreciate they didn’t purchase batteries.

Respect privateness, present actual worth

Respecting your buyer’s privateness isn’t simply a good suggestion (creepiness will not be an excellent progress technique), it’s shortly turning into the regulation. As legislatures and working programs prioritize consumer privateness, you’ll have to excite clients in regards to the prospect of opting in to your app’s greatest options.

Not everybody can provide 1-cent hamburgers, so that you’ll need to be inventive. Sharing evaluations of glad app customers is a strong method to make use of social promoting. Coupons and reductions can work, however chances are you’ll lose customers long-term if there’s no ongoing worth. Loyalty packages with common perks are a very good play in case you can join them to app options.

However most of all, be sure the options you’ve provided in change for opting in present actual worth to the individuals utilizing them.


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