I was reading a very interesting article on CIO.com earlier this week and it got me thinking about the increasing importance that smartphones and apps are having for consumers – and for the retail industry. According to the article:
“Maybe you’re just looking for shopping inspiration. Or, perhaps you want a deal or some personalized suggestions. So, you load up a retailer’s mobile app or surf to their mobile site. Done and done, right? Wrong. If your experience is like that of a good chunk of today’s consumers, this can be a road to nowhere that is nothing like the elegant mobile experiences you’ve become used to on apps like Uber or sites like Amazon. The retail app might not load properly, or be hard to navigate… or the whole experience may not connect in any way to a recent in-store or desktop interaction with the same reason. So, it’s no surprise that potential customers with short attention spans quickly bail and go elsewhere.”
Smartphones have become the primary device for many (especially millennials) but a majority of consumers do not rate the retail experience on mobile. In fact, according to a 2015 Mobile Consumer Report, less than half of consumers are satisfied with their experiences on retail applications and mobile Web sites.
This is hugely significant because retailers have a perfect way to enhance the in-store shopping experience for their customers, but it would seem that they can’t get it right! Finding opportunities to engage and build loyalty with your shoppers needs to become a primary strategy for retailers.
How can retailers improve the mobile experience for current and potential customers?
75% of mobile shoppers take action after receiving location-based messages. Do you know what your customers are doing with your application? Can you take advantage of this new way of interacting and market to them? Is your app able to respond immediately? If you know what your customer is doing, you can target them more appropriately based on how they are interacting with your app. Timeliness and relevance of data is vital to delivering an interactive and personalized app experience.
How can you achieve this? You need to deliver fast, real-time access to the information your customers want and that requires extreme data management.
Success in retail is all about customer service and experience. Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to shop, so it is the responsibility of businesses to get it right and offer a seamless experience to shoppers. Businesses need to think about their mobile app as the virtual equivalent of the physical store. You need to delight your customers by offering a high quality user experience and an app that complements your store; the look and feel of the app needs to be part of the brand. You want your customers to be ambassadors of your store – and your app should be part of this strategy.
How can you achieve this? Develop apps that are different and innovative, have the right look and feel, navigation and engaging interface and the right data.
Build for ‘Busyness’
Let’s say, for example, that your store has an app that offers in-store discount vouchers and promotional codes to shoppers. It’s a busy Saturday afternoon (or the pre-Christmas rush!) and suddenly your app is hit with thousands of users simultaneously all wanting the voucher you are offering. Your app can’t handle this number of connections, the voucher won’t load and customers are faced with the spinning wheel. Customers are left frustrated. Your app’s inability to scale to lots of users has annoyed your customers – you’ve lost an opportunity to create loyalty.
How can you achieve this? Rapidly scale so if users suddenly increase, you can offer up-to-date, relevant data.
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