Leading Brick-and-click Retailers Winning in Mobile

Large multichannel retailers are using mobile commerce and mobile apps for in-store earnings. Although trend-tracking company comScore recently ranked Amazon and Ebay as the top two mobile-savvy sellers, there’s strong evidence traditional retailers are using mobile to help boost sales both online and in-store.

For instance, Walmart’s Savings Catcher, which tracks local advertising circulars and matches competitors prices, is”a must-have app for many shoppers,” based on comScore’s”2015 Digital Future In Focus” report published March 26, 2015.

Mobile Apps Help to Drive In-store Sales

Walmart’s Savings Catcher is apparently designed to aid in-store shoppers feel more confident about the prices they pay for goods in Walmart stores.

Shoppers who have downloaded the app to their smartphone may scan a particular barcode in their Walmart receipts. The app will then compare the items on the receipt to a database of local competitors’ advertised prices. If the app finds a lower price for any of these things, Walmart pays the difference.

Walmart Savings Catcher, from the iTunes app shop.

Besides making customers more confident, the app is a type of pseudo loyalty program, because Walmart is collecting information about a specific user’s purchase customs and has access to information regarding the consumer through the app. In theory, Walmart could make special offers to app users, further boosting earnings.

There are many more examples of brick-and-click retailers using mobile nicely.

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Control and digital strategy firm iVentures Consulting recently reviewed 111 retailers’ ecommerce and mobile user experience as part of its “Eshopper Index 2015” report. The company found that 91 percent of websites reviewed had a mobile optimized version; 51 percent of the merchants had an iOS mobile app; and 37 percent of those merchants in opinion had an Android mobile app.

The top five mobile features provided, based on iVentures, were:

  1. Notification services (think new goods );
  2. Special offers and discounts;
  3. Shop locators;
  4. Barcode scanning;
  5. Loyalty applications and articles advertising.

Some retailers were offering enhanced features, based on iVentures, including:

  • Mobile trade;
  • Personalization;
  • In-store payment options;
  • augmented reality for more product information in shop;
  • Shop maps and merchandise locators;
  • the capacity to picture a product on the road and find similar in store.

Given apps like Savings Catcher and other retail apps, it might seem that brick-and-click retailers have figured out that mobile is a station to sell products electronically and provide services and information which will increase in-store sales.

In-store Sales Might Help to Explain the Mobile Commerce Gap

There’s also conjecture that in-store earnings may explain, at least in part, what some describe as the mobile trade gap.

On the one hand, mobile usage in up significantly.

“For the last few decades, U.S. smartphone penetration has been growing at approximately 10 percentage points annually and reached 75 percent penetration of the mobile user base at the end of 2014,” the comScore Digital Future report stated.

What is more,”mobile now accounts for 60 percent of electronic retail participation as measured by time spent,” again according to comScore.

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On the other hand, mobile commerce isn’t generating as many sales as you might expect.

Regardless of representing 60 percent of retail engagements, mobile trade accounted for only 13 percent of dollars spent electronically — consequently, the mobile trade gap.

Though there are certainly other things, it might be that a number of the gap between expectations and actual mobile commerce sales might be the fact that shoppers are using mobile devices to aid with in-store purchases.

Consumers Use Different Devices for Different Purposes

To further clarify why or how mobile devices might be boosting sales in physical shops, it can be useful to keep in mind that shoppers use different devices for different tasks and at different times.

Consider your own mobile use. When are you more inclined to use your phone’s camera? When you are sitting at your desk or when you’re out?

Similarly, if you’re at home, which device are you most likely to use to store: a smartphone, a tablet computer, or your notebook?

Mobile may be stronger for brick-and-click retailers because shoppers are more likely to utilize a mobile device when they’re in-store or on the way to a shop.

Be Helpful to Shoppers

Retailers with physical stores might have been somewhat slower than vendors like Amazon to accommodate a mobile plan, but lots of the top brick-and-click retailers now appear to be making great use of tablets and smartphones to boost sales.

Interestingly, these retailers aren’t necessarily doing anything Earth shattering. Rather just about all the mobile features used are only things that are helpful to the shopper.

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Walmart’s Savings Catcher is little different than many retailers’ price-matching policies, except that it does the job for the shopper as opposed to requiring the shopper to manually track circulars.

Any merchant — brick-and-click or pure-play ecommerce — developing mobile plans would be sensible to concentrate on utility too.