The rapid growth of smartphones has become a blessing for retailers. A business mobile app offers merchants a way to deliver a highly tailored and immersive in-store shopping experience that customers have increasingly come to expect in this age of digitization. It is no secret that much of the appeal of some brands to shoppers comes as a result of the in-store experience. Add to that the fact that many shoppers now prefer to shop online and it is obvious that consumer’s expectations of the in-store experience, is higher than before. It is the in-store experience that keeps many customers interested, causing them to come back for more. Thus, your in-store shopping experience should match or exceed the experience they enjoy online. While using technology in online and offline stores to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern consumers is a challenge, a growing number of businesses have already begun making the most of the mobile apps to improve in-store shopping experiences. They have begun integrating features like item recommendations, product reviews and in-store layout maps in their mobile apps. While the smartphone is about to beat other forms of sales drivers at their own game, the channel is best used to streamline the shopping experience. That is why many retailers are investing heavily into their mobile strategy to keep up with rising trends in mobile shopping. There are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration to ensure that the in-store shopping experience does not get lost in the transition to mobile. Know your target audience The customer’s preferences should be prioritized. What are their needs? This information helps you decide what strategy would reach them most effectively. The ability to view prices, offers and competitor’s prices give customers the information they are looking for while they are shopping. Also, retailer’s apps that provide customers a barcode-scanning feature are favorable to consumers. It may be the easiest way for merchants to connect in-store shoppers to product information on business websites. This lets shoppers view pricing, discounts, inventory, reviews, recommendation and other details regarding a product. The more effort you put into knowing your customers, the better their experience. Mobile tools According to DMI, retailers can assess how well their stores meet customer needs across the main areas of shopping experience: pricing, inventory, store guidance, personalization, checkout, product reviews, and loyalty. Your mobile app should offer options and tools like an interactive in-store, maps to guide first-time shoppers, digital reward cards and more. This essentially improves the in-store experience and result in consumers buying more. Your digital strategy should be anchored around convenience. This makes shopping for products seamless and relieves stress and hassle for store associates. Let your mobile app blur the line between online and offline shopping. Adding rewards or loyalty programs into your in-store experience also makes it easier for customers to redeem points, receive special offers or save payment information for easy checkout. With that said, it is recommended that businesses should focus on personalization in future app updates. Many of featured promotions are too generic and not tailored to each person and his/her buying history. The mobile app should be designed to perfectly fit the shopper’s in-store experience. For example, it should allow users to access loyalty information as well as reviews and other tools. Leverage WI-FI to increase in-store physical traffic Recent research by ABI suggested that the gradual increasing of 4G WI-FI rollout will increase store’s mobile and physical traffic this year. It predicts that increasing 4G adoption will drive store’s physical traffic by up to fifty-three exabytes per month. Shoppers who do not usually browse in a particular brick-and-mortar store may be lured to walk inside the building if they see a signage showing “4G WI-FI is available”. This could lead many shoppers making unplanned purchases. WI-FI is a must for retailers who want to take advantage of mobile technology to create more personalized experiences. Implementing a free WI-FI can pay off in more ways than you think. It is estimated that more than 50% of retailers will be on board by the end of 2016. Retailers who have not yet deployed WI-FI may not connect with shoppers each time they enter the store. At the end of the day, such retailers will find themselves at a great disadvantage among their tech-savvy rivals should they choose not to embrace these tools. Great customer experience trumps product It turns out that most shoppers are in pursuit of memorable experiences. They got more happiness spending money on great experiences than material things. And it should come as no surprise that when shoppers feel more valued they are more apt to remain loyal. It is likely the reason brands like Macy’s continues to surpass competitors. Basically, this means that your products or services are not going to be so fantastic or unique that customers will not walk away if you deliver a poor experience. Show customers you care by getting to know them. Good customer experience should be at the core of everything a business does. Good mobile experience has the power to create seamless, user-friendly checkout process that inspires loyalty and trust. It removes the hurdles along the path to purchase. Final Thoughts A record number of shoppers are turning to their mobile devices to make purchases. And by a landslide, shoppers prefer mobile apps to mobile sites for shopping. In other words, a consumer path to purchase is becoming increasingly mobile. In the months and years to come, it will become increasingly vital for online and offline merchants to fuel this growth by creating a faster and personalized shopping experience that ends with them purchasing what they want from your store. A great mobile in-store experience will also help merchants further distinguish themselves. Improving your in-store should be considered as always an ongoing process for you because there can never be a perfect store experience. You can always aim to improve. Images: ” Attractive woman checking bar code in shopping mall / Shutterstock.com“ ____________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. 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