Beacon for retail

Beacon in Retail: The New Shopping Experience

Walking into your favourite local shop, you feel that distinctive short vibration in your pocket. 10 years ago, you knew it was either a text message or an email. But today, it just might just be a special offer, customized for you, for something special inside!

It goes without saying that a huge number of us manage our lives through our smartphones and this is something modern retailers are trying to leverage. Proximity marketing is one of the best forms of communication that has been facilitated by mobile technology. Large retail has been exploring the deployment of proximity marketing and beacon technology for some time. Now the technology is accessible to medium and small retailers too.

What is Beacon and How Does It Work

If there is one thing we know for sure, it is that nobody wants to be bombarded with emails and messages with invitations to buy products at all hours of the day. The general public is sensitive to spam and will not think twice about closing communication channels with brands that it perceives as excessively intrusive.

Beacons are small, battery-operated wireless devices that transmit low energy Bluetooth signals to nearby smartphones, so it reaches only users who are actually located near the shop. It is also possible to further personalize the communication by sending different messages according to the location of each customer.

How does beacon work

For example, those who pass by the store can receive a message inviting them to enter, providing information on the most interesting offers of the day. Those who are already in store can receive more specific communications, providing information on products in the immediate vicinity, and inviting feedback and interaction with the retailer both directly and via social media. In this way it’s possible to collect valuable data on the reactions of the public to any initiative, from the reorganization of space to the management of special offers.

How Beacon Technology Benefits Retailers

There are several benefits retailers can experience by adopting beacon technology.

Advertising Tool

Today, shoppers expect more relevant messaging than that facilitated by traditional advertising channels. With beacon technology this becomes possible. Proximity marketing makes it possible to market shoppers at the right time and in the right place.

The Power of Personalization

With beacon technology it’s possible to personalize messages based on a customer’s previous purchases or the user’s taste. Everything from coupons, deals, and product recommendations can be tailored to individual customer preferences and shopping habits. This helps develop long-term customer loyalty and create a more engaging shopping experience as well.

Accessing Data

Knowing your target customer is the first, fundamental step to produce effective and targeted communication. Tracking shopping habits and preferences allows retailers to access insightful consumer data.

For example, retailers can analyze what day of the week and time of day shoppers are more likely to download and use certain coupons. From there, they can take a look at other connecting points, such as what other items are purchased on the same shopping trip.

Increase in Mobile App Use

With beacon-triggered notifications retailers can increase interest in using their app. By leveraging beacon technology, apps can become even more useful and engaging tools for shoppers.

How To Start Using Beacons

Now that you’ve discovered the possibilities beacon technology can offer your retail business, you likely want to know how to get started.

Basically, you need 2 things to start – Beacons and a customized Mobile App.

beacon and customised mobile app

After you’ve set up your in-store beacon technology, you’ll want to inform customers, encouraging them to download your store’s mobile app for special deals and discounts. Accomplish this with signage around your store, emails to your subscribers, and/or a social media campaign to explain the benefits to current and potential customers.

Beacon technology has the potential to revolutionize customer communications for retailers. While shoppers can enjoy more engaging, seamless, and personalized experiences, retailers can get insights about their consumers, ultimately making it easier to achieve a number of business goals using a single piece of technology.

Appify is a leading retail app development and mobile consultancy agency. We have award-winning teams of app developers with years of experience in developing bespoke mobile apps. We help our clients improve customer engagement and user experience, facilitate mobile purchasing and drive promotions. We can enable layers of intelligence that assist build unique micro and macro audience understandings that enable effective retargeting.

So if you need a customized mobile app for your store / brand or you want to improve an existing app to implement beacon technology in your stores, feel free to contact our experts.


create a retail app for your business

4 Good Reasons To Develop a Retail App For Your Business

A decade ago, shoppers typically made purchases in a pretty straightforward manner.  They either went online, browsed a catalog, or walked into a physical store. People interacted with the different channels independently. With the rise of mobile technology and retail apps however, the shopping experience has changed quite a lot.

What’s different today is that shopping has become an omnichannel experience. 6 of 10 online purchases start on one device but continue or finish elsewhere. 82% of smartphone users consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. They assess product information, they compare prices, they search product reviews and endorsements and then make decisions.

More than 2 billion people globally use their smartphones every day and 46% of those have used their phone to make in-store buying decisions. Hundreds of brands have already identified the opportunity and have deployed retail apps.

A Website Isn't Enough Anymore

In recent years it has become clear that mobile apps for retail are better able to engage customers than websites and generate higher revenues than websites. According to a Criteo report, native retail apps generate 66% of all mobile commerce revenue, twice as much revenue as mobile websites. Native retail apps generate 90% higher add-to-basket rate and 120% higher conversion rate compared with mobile websites.

Consumers prefer apps over mobile sites because of the enhanced user experience, greater speed,  superior features and intelligence based offers. This is especially true for Millennials.

In this mobile-fueled shopping landscape, the retailers that thrive most harness the opportunity to be there and be useful for shoppers in those intent-rich moments when people open their smartphones to know, go, or buy.

Reasons To Develop a Retail App

So we see why mobile apps are so important for the retail sector, but what benefits can your retail business derive using this technology?

boost conversion

1. Boost Your Conversion

Mobile interaction, through smartphones and tablets, is core to our lifestyle. Our eyes are glued to these devices that offer us almost whatever we want, anytime and anywhere. Retail marketers should meet people where they are and position their brand and product where their audience exists in the mobile world. This is the key to driving positive conversions.

  • Mobile retail sales are predicted to exceed 2,910 million USD in 2020.
  • 88% of customers who download retail mobile apps actually use them.
  • Mobile purchasing volumes have increased by a factor of 6x over last year.
  • 62% of shoppers while in store will use the store’s mobile app to assist purchasing decisions.

2. Be up-to-date

Many medium-sized businesses, and even some small retailers, already have a branded app or are about to release one. They understand the need to adopt new technology as early as possible to remain relevant in the rapidly evolving retail space.

Uncomfortable though it may seem, as buyers move to mobile, sellers must choose whether they are going to lead them, follow them or simply lose them. The leaders will be the biggest winners. Followers may survive, particularly in niche or specialist markets. But those who simply hope that this will all just go away, well that may not work out for the best.

brand loyalty

3. Build brand loyalty

Retail apps do not only serve in achieving certain financial goals but in building brand loyalty as well. Many businesses develop their apps for this purpose. For generations, retailers have used loyalty programs to reward their most active clients.

Mobile apps are powerful tools in understanding what rewards are relevant to who, when the optimal time is to deliver the offer and in putting the message into the customers hand in the most compelling way.

Couponing is an example of traditional loyalty programming that can be replicated or enhanced through an app. Coupons can be automatically triggered through an app to customers who haven’t purchased in a while or to customers who refer another for example.

Apps can manage couponing initiatives in much more sophisticated ways though. Apps can ‘learn’ what types of loyalty offerings work best for certain audiences. They can then target meaningful offers to specific groups at the right time, maximizing the value to the customer and the associated loyalty earned by the business.

But maybe the most engaging way of building brand loyalty is through gamification. Who wouldn’t like to earn rewards for playing games?? Just see the Starbucks app for an example. Users collect stars and win instant prizes through game play. Customers can also earn additional stars by purchasing through the app. Stars can then be exchanged for a variety of products.

in-store experience

4. Better In-Store Experience

Retail mobile apps open the shop doors to hundreds of thousands of potential customers. But not only for online shopping! As discussed above, shoppers are becoming increasingly omnichannel. More than half use mobile applications while purchasing stuff in physical stores.

So if you think that your app and physical store are separate entities, think again! Each can be used in support of the other.

We live in a very fast world,…we are always in a hurry. One very useful feature for many customers to implement for a better user experience would be the ability to order and pay for goods on-the-go from the app and then collect them in-store without wasting time on checkout lines. Many companies, like the aforementioned Starbucks, managed to increase its revenue after the introduction of this feature.

As buyers crave to know as much as possible about a product before buying it (especially for higher category goods and special items), they often go to their smartphones to look for datasheets, benefits, ratings, reviews, endorsements etc.

It is impractical to position all of this information on your shelves. So what could you do?

By adding a QR-code scanner to your retail app and the QR codes themselves to the shelves, you can provide the option for your customers to conveniently access all the product data to facilitate buying decisions.

Beacon technology provides an additional opportunity to engage customers in-store via the app. When an app user approaches a store, or a point within a store, a beacon that detects the proximity of the user’s smartphone can trigger the app to perform some preset action.

The app could, for example, welcome the customer to the store, provide a limited time voucher for a product that the user has reviewed previously through the app, an in-store discount for an accompanying friend for downloading the app, an invitation to collect a free sample etc.

Conclusion

Retailers can no longer afford to ignore advances in technology, given that the way in which customers review, select and purchase products is evolving fundamentally. Mobile apps are at the forefront of this evolution and represent a major opportunity for retailers to win in today’s omnichannel retail environment.

In this article, we examined some of the characteristics of the changing market and, hopefully, offered some solid examples of how mobile can be embraced and harnassed to drive success in retail.

Appify is a leading retail app development and mobile consultancy agency. Our team has extensive expertise in retail mobile app development.

So, if you are ready to grow your business with a fantastic brand new retail app, don’t hesitate to contact us without obligations. Our experts are always happy to help you with a free initial consultation!


customer app development

3 Reasons Why Your SME Needs a Customer App

There seems to be a commonly held perception that only large brands and enterprises can experience the commercial benefits of having an ‘own brand’ customer app. That may have been the case up until a couple of years ago but certainly isn’t today.

Accomplished App development companies with multi-national production capacity, such as Appify, can now construct m-commerce apps starting at £10,000.

Why do you need a Customer App?

So, the question is why would you allocate a portion of your Sales & Marketing budget or Customer Service budget towards a mobile app? Well there are lots of strong reasons but below is a summary that might assist with the ROI assessment.

Before we start to consider these benefits, let’s start with one self-evident thought…

You consider it’s important to have a website. But what if your customers spend more time on their mobile phones than their PCs? Would you not need an app?

1. Brand Building

brand building

Because of the perception that only big brands have apps, your own app will add real credibility to your brand. Once a customer downloads your app, your brand icon serves as a constant piece of brand reinforcement on a highly valuable parcel of real estate – your customer’s mobile screen.

Your app can be enabled with social sharing elements so that those using your app can extend your brand presence by sharing their in-app experiences with their social network and thus act as brand ambassadors on your behalf!

2. Customer Experience Optimisation

customer experience

Once your customer has your app, there is no need for them to type your URL or to Google your products / services. Your store is simply a click away.

Once inside the app, your customer will experience a quicker, easier to navigate and more intuitive experience than a website can deliver. This is critical in today’s cluttered media environment in minimising ‘bounce’ from your platform. Inside your customer app, you can offer your client a myriad of valuable consumer centric experiences.

For example, some major retailers offer entertainment hubs to maximise the frequency of client visit and dwell duration within the application. (Contact us about our work on behalf of JD Sports.) The longer that you can engage the prospect within your environment, the more likely you are to convert to a transaction. Entertainment features can include music, video, social media feeds, news, gaming and live chat.

The app can be deployed as a wonderful customer service tool. Customers can order, pay and track delivery using an app.

In certain industries, the client experience journey can be largely managed through the application from start to finish.

Let’s take the case of a beautician’s business to illustrate the point. A potential client could view the range of treatments, make a selection, view available appointment times, make a booking, execute payment and receive notified appointment reminders all via the customer app!

Your mobile app is the perfect vehicle for a client loyalty programme. The application can be used for digital couponing and redemption, transaction management, points accumulation and rewards distribution.

This is all fantastic for the customer, but also highly worthwhile for the business. The client behaviour intelligence that can be accumulated from a rewards programme can be invaluable.

3. Sales & Promotions

sales

Some of the sales benefits of having a customer app are apparent in the foregoing commentary. We have already seen how the app can manage all elements of a transaction. However, and maybe most importantly, the app can turn your customer into a repeat client through intelligent promotion.

At a simple level, your customer can be sent promotional notification based upon profiling. These can be similar products to those searched previously, geographical profiling based upon location, seasonal profiling based upon previous purchases (birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas) etc.

Consequently, your customer can receive interesting, timely, and relevant offerings from you on a regular basis.

If you are a retailer, location based promotions can take direct targeting to a new level. With the use of simple, inexpensive beacons, your app can be triggered to push a notification whenever a customer passes your door.

Imagine what might happen if a client passing your door gets a ping from their phone saying “As one of our favourite customers, we have just sent you a voucher for a free bottle of wine if you spend £30 in store today!”

Now imagine what might happen if ALL of your passing customers get similar messages. You’re going to need a bigger boat!

All of the foregoing may well make an app project sound daunting, but it need not be.

Given that most people do their product research on their phone while waiting for something, it is just important to start. Give your potential customers your shop window on their phone while they are waiting for the bus, or in the doctors’ foyer, or watching their kids on the climbing frame, or ignoring the ads on TV!

As mentioned at the outset, the starting point need not involve a major investment. First we launch version 1 of the customer app. Then, when it starts to generate results, you can justify additional spend on more sophisticated feature sets that will accelerate the benefits for both your customers and your business.

This is an incremental and iterative process. Just decide to start!


retail enterprise app

How To Develop a Retail Enterprise App?

Last week we discussed Enterprise Mobility in the Construction Sector, this week we look at the Retail Sector. When we talk about retail enterprise apps we usually mean non-consumer facing applications that are designed to bring efficiency and cost saving to various in-house processes. However, when we look at enterprise mobility in the Retail Sector we must also consider the customer as an end user.

Let’s start with a consumer facing App…

The last decade has seen phenomenal growth in online selling across all product categories. eBay, Amazon et al not to mention virtually every high street retailer has changed consumer behaviour.

So, how can the High Street face this challenge and regain the customer loyalty?

Well, the fight back has already started. Mobility has changed our buying behaviour, both online and on the High Street. The ubiquitous smartphones and tablets that drove the consumer to the online platforms in the first place are now, more and more, being used by retailers to educate, incentivise and reward their customers.

And as the relationship grows so does the data and with that the opportunity to develop single customer view profiles.

As with all new technologies, the best start point is to understand precisely what your business needs and how it fits into the overall marketing and sales strategy. Only then can you understand the challenges that face your particular business.

Retail Enterprise App Development with Appify

At Appify, we always start the retail enterprise app development process with a client workshop that examines the real issues, internal and external.

Areas covered would include:

  • Competitor offerings
  • Current available tech
  • Consumer behaviour.
  • Global and local market trends

In terms of Enterprise Mobility in the Retail Sector, the advantages are many.

A comprehensive mobility solution should tackle all issues facing today’s retailer and allow for integration with existing POS and Stock Control systems.

Delivering real time information on

  • Warehousing and distribution functionality leading to increased productivity and operational efficiency.
  • POS data feeding stock control information to inform management of demand swings and drive consumer promotions
  • Management of shelf-space and in-store positioning
  • Data for supplier negotiations

This is by no means a comprehensive list of needs and wants but as before this is something to be teased out during an initial workshop.