Mobile Apps Can Be a Game Changer for Local Retailers

Retailers find new marketing life with mobile appsFor nearly two decades the advent of e-commerce has been the bane of existence for local brick and mortar retailers, large and small.  What could be a more depressing sight for a store owner than watching a customer browse his or her aisles scanning prices to find lower ones on the internet for the exact same products that can be delivered in a couple of days to their doorstep?

Interesting Opportunities for Local Retailers from Mobile Apps

The threat to neighborhood stores from virtual shopping carts is not going away, but the rapid rise and use of mobile applications by consumers presents some interesting opportunities for local businesses to leverage the internet in effective new ways that have the potential to grow their profits very inexpensively.

The Numbers Tell the Story

It helps to take a look, numbers-wise, at exactly what is going on with consumers and mobile devices. They are everywhere! A Pew Research third-quarter survey in 2012 showed that 45% of all American adults currently own a smart phone. (And just to be clear, by “smart” phone we mean one that is capable of connected to the internet at all times, along with added functionality based on location of the user.)  When the survey stats are filtered by age and income, we find that nearly ownership numbers approach 70% of adults 18-29 years old and those in households with annual incomes at $75,000 and higher.

A usage pattern has also emerged that clearly show that consumers clearly like to check into the internet at all times during their day. One study shows that over a third of smart phone owners check their mobile apps before getting out of bed each morning!

All of this should be no surprise to any observer of public activity, which is certainly the profile of a professional retailer. People whip out their iPhones and tablets at any given moment – standing in the checkout line, waiting for a bus – actually any old time! Even while watching TV. (86%)  All trends indicate that within a year – by 2014 – mobile internet will take over desktop internet usage.

Alright, enough statistics, we all get it! Everyone’s getting a mobile device, and they’re doing all kinds of stuff on it throughout the day. But there is one more take-away statistic that is important to note. That is the fact that while websites  are primary destinations when surfing the web on a computer, users on a mobile device prefer apps that provide ready-to-use functionality.

Getting Closer to Your Customers

Providing your customers and customers-to-be with a free, feature-loaded app that parks your business well  within their sphere of daily “mobilized” connectivity can open up a world of possibilities. Smart phone users  use their devices for shopping research, by a wider margin than non-mobile users, and a study by comScore.com on behalf of Mobile Retail Advisor last year showed that 77% of smart phone consumers would be “swayed to a store” with coupons. With the I’m In Marketer app, you can design any type of coupon or special that can be delivered in any number of ways and any market segment you choose:

  • Place QR codes on print material that the app can scan and reveal special offers
  • Provide on-location rewards for your own loyalty program or bonus offers at point-of-purchase – the app takes of the reporting and accounting automatically based on user’s location
  • “Push” notifications similar to SMS (text messaging) to you app users – let them know about exclusives and quick sales when you  want to run them

Your app can let users integrate with their favorite social networks to spread the word and even let customers make purchases right on their phone or tablet.

The value proposition is quite amazing considering that range of integrated marketing tools that are standard inclusions, without any of the high development costs or high recurring fees one would expect for this level of functionality.  Worth checking into – take a look at the video and free demo app.

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