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I’ve been thinking a lot about mobile apps in retail recently. I’ve been thinking about which retailers need an app and whether in fact we’re seeing a bit of a backlash against the app, fuelled by mobile optimised and responsive websites.
Retail apps still have their place in a mobile optimised world, but they’re increasingly characterised as devices for customer retention. Loyalty programmes and coupons keep regular customers feeling loved.
Of course, there are still some successful shopping apps, too, often for retailers big or pervasive enough to demand smartphone real estate (supermarkets, Amazon and the like).
So, here you go, here are 10 apps that I think have made a difference for customers in retail.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments.
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for spending time with the family, eating too much and frantically shopping for bargains online.
A recent Nielsen survey found that almost half (46%) of US shoppers plan to shop online on Black Friday while Adobe has predicted that ecommerce sales will total £1.6bn as people log on for bargains the day after Thanksgiving.
This is on top of the online shopping that will be done on Thanksgiving itself, which is predicted is reach $1.1bn.
Unsurprisingly ecommerce sites have already begun promoting Black Friday deals to try and keep up with the competition and capture those holiday dollars.
With that in mind, here’s a look at how six major retailers are marketing Black Friday deals on their homepages...
It’s no secret that people commonly use smartphones while in-store, however a new report has revealed the extent to which mobile devices influence the purchase journey for grocery shoppers.
A survey of 1,400 people who were logged into Wi-Fi hotspots found that 83% of respondents use a smartphone or tablet to prepare their shopping list, while 59% use a mobile device to search for recipes.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents then use their smartphone while in-store to help them shop.
The data is obviously skewed to only include people using some sort of mobile device, however it is a useful indicator of how connected consumers buy groceries.
An effective site search tool is hugely important tool for ecommerce as it’s a common way for shoppers to navigate sites and find products.
In fact up to 30% of visitors will use the site search tool and these tend to be highly motivated shoppers who know exactly what they’re looking for.
The speed in which results are returned is very important, but there are also many other factors that influence the overall user experience and could be the difference between making a sale or losing a potential customer.
Over the past few weeks online retailers have begun unveiling tools aimed at inspiring shoppers as they search for Christmas gift ideas.
I’m unconvinced as to whether these features have any impact on sales as they often appear a bit gimmicky, but judging by their popularity among retailers they presumably achieve some kind of ROI.
I’ve already reviewed Argos’ rather quirky Gift Finder which offers a unique browsing experience at the expense of usability, so in the interest of fairness thought it would be interesting to take a look at how other brands are catering to Christmas shoppers.
Here’s what I came up with...
The research ranked the 50 retailers according to how engaging their Facebook posts were between January 1 and June 30, with engagement rated as the number of fan actions per post.
As mentioned, Tiffany & Co. proved to be the most successful brand by scoring a massive 28,741 interactions on each post. It achieved this by posting one high quality update per day.
On the flip side, although Walmart clocked up a higher total number of interactions it posted as many as six updates per day so achieved an average engagement score of 11,461.
Google+ is an interesting conundrum as many people feel obliged to use it in the face of any logic and just because “it’s Google”.
We’re all sitting around expecting that one day Google will unveil its true purpose and all the effort will have been worthwhile, but at the moment I feel that blind optimism is one of the only things keeping it going.
Admittedly the latest updates have improved the usability somewhat and Hangouts are certainly an interesting feature, but in the face of the sheer amount of time spent on Facebook and Twitter’s increasingly important role as a news platform it does seem that G+ is floundering while trying to work out what purpose it actually serves.
Normal users don’t need to fret about this problem and can wait for Google to lure them in with a killer new feature, however for brands it raises a bit of a dilemma.
Pinterest is no longer the darling of the social media world, but its relationship with brands has become cosier recently with the launch of its business pages and new updates that enable companies to show product information on their pins.
However some brands remain unconvinced and either don’t have an account on the social network or give their pages limited attention.
So to find out who is yet to jump on the bandwagon, here is a look at how the top 10 US retailers use Pinterest...
In the debate over mobile websites versus native apps, native app detractors frequently make a seemingly good point: there are just too many native apps, so you can't expect consumers to install and use yours.
For companies hoping customers and potential customers, that assumption has a significant implication: if your mobile strategy is native app-centric and you don't have a mobile-friendly website, you might be missing out on the mobile opportunity.
Brick-and-mortar retailers may face challenges in competing online, but pure-play online retailers that think they've won the ecommerce game shouldn't count out their old-school competitors.
In fact, in some product categories, brick-and-mortar retailers are starting to beat out pure-play retailers.
Social media is one of the most important marketing channels for brands, as it offers unique opportunities to communicate with customers.
But getting social media strategy right isn’t an easy task, and the brands that are achieving the best results tend to be those that are taking risks and trying new things.
With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how major brands use social, focusing on which of the main networks they are active on and how they use them.
And what better place to start that with the world’s biggest retailer: Walmart. Handily Walmart has actually published its own social media guidelines, which include things like 'don't be rude' and 'keep it real'.
So here's a quick look at how Walmart uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
Walmart may be the 800-pound gorilla of brick-and-mortar retail, but gorillas are capable of moving faster than it appears, and Walmart has proven that it's no slouch when it comes to digital.
From its adoption and use of social media to acquisitions of startups and digital agencies, Walmart may not be on the verge of dethroning Amazon, but it's clear that the retail giant believes the internet is a big part of its future.