During the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Retail’s BIG Show 2016, the largest retail show of the year, we took the opportunity to collect new data on the impact of shoppers’ mobile phones and retail mobile app usage on brick-and-mortar stores. During the course of the multi-day study, we surveyed 500+ consumers in order to determine how mobile usage has impacted shopping in traditional stores.
Based on the results, it is clear that mobile phones have a powerful role in the in-store shopping experience. Below are the biggest takeaways.
- Retail mobile apps can be addictive
Many of us have been incentivized with special promotional offerings to download retailers’ mobile apps, but how many people have actually downloaded them, and do they use these apps regularly? We discovered a staggering 86 percent of respondents use a retail mobile app, and 59 percent use them up to five times per week. (If you think that’s impressive, we discovered that one in eight shoppers use retail mobile apps more than 10 times a week.)
- Move over sales associate and say hello to the trusty mobile phone
Do you find sales associates uninformed about products or sometimes too aggressive to make a sale? Many respondents of this survey have the same feeling, too. When asked about how they would prefer to peruse products in a store, 57 percent of respondents would rather consult a mobile phone than a sales associate.
- Retail loyalty apps keep customers coming back
When respondents were presented with the option of shopping at a nearby competitor’s store versus a similar store where they are a loyalty member, less than nine percent would actually go with the competitor’s store. While 20 percent admitted to being indifferent to the option, a whopping 72 percent would select the store they were a loyalty member over other options.
- In-store navigation gets top billing
Gone are the days of static mobile content. A retail mobile app should not be built just for basic catalog purposes or to give store information. Consumers want to be engaged by the retailer and that’s being accomplished through real-time, location-based information. As part of this study, we discovered that in-store maps and indoor navigation is considered a top incentive for downloading retail mobile apps, making real-time location to products a key selling point for both the shopper and the store.
- In-store incentives yield a high conversion rate
One of the main drivers for retailers to create mobile apps is to encourage their customers to purchase more with special in-store incentives. But do these incentive really yield results? Do shoppers actually take stores up on their offer? According to the study, they do. A hefty 78 percent said they are likely to take advantage of an in-store offer if it’s presented to them.
- For shoppers, Wi-Fi is king
Mobile data coverage is ubiquitous in most populated areas. However, once inside the walls of large stores, the coverage can quickly degrade and bandwidth becomes unpredictable. Given the fact that the modern shopper is tethered to his mobile phone to facilitate in-store purchases, providing easy-to-access Wi-Fi is key for retailers. In fact, when respondents were asked what they used their mobile phones for most inside stores, connecting to in-store Wi-Fi came in at number one.
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