Retailers must invest in mobile to save high street


Consumers would use a retail mobile app if it enhanced the in-store experience

Investing in mobile apps will bring customers back into retail stores, and help avoid the estimated loss of 900,000 jobs and thousands of stores in the next decade [British Retail Consortium report], according to a UK mobile app developer.

The latest research by Apadmi of 1,000 UK smartphone users found that mobile apps can drive consumers back to the high street if they add to the overall shopping experience. However, at present, retailers are failing to connect these channels effectively, and in the way that consumers want.

Currently, just 31% of consumers are using retail mobile apps whilst walking around the store, yet the research found that an additional 41% of consumers would use a retail mobile app if it enhanced the in-store experience. On top of this, 29% of consumers would be happy to share their location with a retail app to receive contextual rich messages, incentives, or offers in-store.

The research also found that loyalty schemes are another good way to drive customers back to the store. At present, only 20% of UK smartphone users already interact with a retail loyalty scheme on their phone but a staggering 80% said they would be happy to collect loyalty points on their mobile, including when they complete certain tasks as they walk around the shop.

The rise of mobile payments presents another opportunity to make mobile a more integral part of the in-store retail experience, and the research found that consumers are keen to explore these new methods of payment. While only 8% of respondents said they have used apps to pay for products in-store, a further 49% said they would be keen to use apps that use modern payment options such as Apple Pay.

Nick Black, CEO of Apadmi, said: “The rise of digital doesn’t mean the death of the high street, like rumours would suggest. There is, in fact, a big opportunity for retailers to use mobile as a way to drive in-store sales, especially as our research found that a massive 97% of Brits with a smartphone take it with them when they go shopping.

“It’s time that retailers realised that consumers actually want digital channels, and specifically mobile, to complement the experience they have in-store, and not see stores disappear altogether. According to our research, loyalty schemes are a good step in connecting these channels. But on top of this, new technology is appearing all the time to connect mobile to the in-store experience, allowing customers to have a personalised and interactive relationship with stores than ever before,” continued Black.

He pointed to the latest advancements in location technology, which means that retailers can now use mobile apps to send push notifications directly to consumer’s smartphones, to flag to them when there is a deal on whilst they walk around the store. “There are new opportunities appearing all of the time for retailers to push their stores sales with the help of mobile, and if the figures are showing that the high street is under threat for the next decade, now is the time to invest in this technology,” he concluded.


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