Mobile apps are transforming the retail landscape. They help customer’s compare products and pricing, receive personalized promotional offers, purchase items and review products after the purchase. With mobile applications, consumers are empowered like never before. The demand for business mobile apps is being driven by both retailers and consumers who understand how mobile phones can make the shopping experience more efficient. For example, according to a recent report from CFI Group, the use of mobile apps for in-store shopping almost doubled from the previous year. Businesses of all types are moving towards mobile. With the growth of consumer demand for mobile applications, customers are soon going to witness an explosion of high powered business apps that will create a revolution in retail. Google Android and Apple’s iOS have cemented their places at the top of the mobile app operating system market, grabbing the lion’s share of app sales and revenue. Building applications for these operating systems, forward thinking retailers’expectations are very high – neither customers nor retailers are willing to go back and use yesterday’s technology. Below are five key ways how you can use mobile applications to improve the in-store shopping experience for your customers. #1. Provide a Seamless Experience Consumers interact with businesses through many channels, such as mobile apps, online chats, and speaking with a customer service representative over the phone or in a physical location. Customers often do not complete an activity through a single channel or in one sitting because they are interrupted or want to do more research. In some situations, consumers move from the physical world to the digital world. For this reason, retailers need to provide a seamless experience to their consumers. Customers are using mobile devices for better cross-channel experiences. Many of them depend on their phones to purchase products. Providing a quality mobile application can help retailers provide a unified cross-channel experience, thereby improving customer sessions that drive higher conversions. #2. Use Mobile Apps to Increase Customer Engagement Mobile applications can remind your customers that you are open and available for business. Mobile coupons, for example, have the potential to remind customers to visit your shop or can trigger shopping activity within your retail location. According to a survey carried out by RetailMeNot, in partnership with Omnibus Company, more than 33 percent of shoppers admitted to being bargain hunters. They often search for online coupons on their mobile devices. Mobile coupons can be positioned to engage consumers in real time and encourage them walk into your business to make a purchase. If shoppers receive coupons or other promotions on their mobile phone while they’re near your store, they are more likely to enter your store and make a purchase. With mobile applications you can keep your customers and prospects updated with your new arrivals, discounts, offers and so forth right at their fingertips. Customers can also be reminded of your products or services – triggering impulse shopping – thanks to mobile features such as push notifications. #3. Provide Product Information in Your Store Features such as in-store navigation provide a convenient shopping experience that helps your customers find products. In-store mapping can let your customers locate any item in your store. It can help guide them through your store to the products they’re looking for. Additionally, you can provide your customers with an easy way to research product information while they are in your store. Research indicates that 41 percent of consumers actively use mobile apps to access relevant product related information while shopping. The CFI Group’s study that was mentioned earlier also found that 47 percent of this mobile app usage is dedicated to checking product prices vs competing products, highlighting the need for retailers to engage shoppers searching for this information. Another option is to allow customers to be able to quickly access up-to-date inventory to determine if the items they are interested in are available for purchase at their preferred location. Additionally businesses are able to provide employees with mobile applications including detailed product information to improve the quality of customer service and increase sales. Sales representatives are then able to provide better, more personalized customer service and are able to easily check availability of products.Mobile applications can turn a business’s sales representatives into the ultimate customer service team by helping them streamline processes and access key information. #4. Increase Consumer Confidence with Reviews The modern consumer often relies on product reviews to make purchase decisions before buying an item. You can use this trend to improve the conversion ratio of your product pages by providing your customers with customer reviews. Cisco reported that their research indicated that a full 63 percent of online shoppers who frequently use mobile to make purchasing decisions agreed that ratings and reviews displayed on websites have a sizable impact on their purchase decisions. #5. Boost Efficiency and Profits with Point of Sale Apps With mobile point of sale applications you can equip your retail staff to process payments anywhere in the store, reducing the chances a customer may change their mind. Long waiting lines make customers apprehensive when it comes to shopping in-store and now with mobile applications these are easily avoided. While this may sound like the future, it isn’t really that far off as Motorola research determined that by 2017 nearly half of all in-store transactions would be completed using a mobile point of sale application or a self-checkout feature on the mobile device of the customer. Final Thoughts It cannot be denied that mobile applications are profoundly changing the way businesses and customers interact. By recognizing the benefits of in-store marketing, mobile wallets, personalized promotions and price comparison, a mobile app for your business could accelerate your store’s path to success. Researching and understanding the current trends and implementing them appropriately are what will make a difference. This is where you can stand out from the rest, gain a competitive edge and leave your competition behind. 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