The element of place will fundamentally change mobile app design for the better.
This is a great story that illustrates some of the reasons why store apps succeed and fail. It includes concepts of gamification and personalization, 2 key elements that add value and can keep people coming back and spending more in your store. The great thing for me is that these are examples of people who are fighting back against online but also supporting it from the perspective of helping people buy from them via the app, from home as well as in-store navigation.
It is refreshing to see some stores provide in-store navigation. This is particularly important to men who want discovery, but only related to their purpose for being in the store, where for many women the discovery element of the store is part of the fun of shopping.
How do you make the app indispensable is a key. An example of an OK app is for one of the major New Zealand retail grocers. Countdown. In this blog I discuss some of the extras I would have liked to see them offer. One of those is gamification. Even though they have the app, they still run old school trading stamps, why not save all that extra money and tie them to the app so that they don’t have to print the stamps, people don’t have to ask for them, lose them and they can see a motivational graphic of how close they are to their next George Foreman kitchen knife.
My Air New Zealand application is now indispensable to me because it is my electronic boarding pass, it tells me all my flight details which is great if I or they are running late. It know when I arrive in the Koru Lounge at the airport, knows my coffee preference, asks me if I would like one and pages me when it’s ready. It also tells me about real time traffic conditions around the airport. They could make it even better by incorporating in-app purchases including for their excellent Air NZ Taxis service. Great for loyalty when we have choices.
The Home Depot example is great from the perspective of allowing me to create a shopping list of things I need as well as in-store navigation. How often do you go to the DIY store and forgot one of the things you specifically went there for. I’d also like suggestions related to my shopping list. These are the tools you might need. Laying tiles? You might need a grouting tool, particular chemicals for mixing colors, cleaning, some nice profiles to put around the edges. Just like good supermarket apps provide recipes and companion sales items, a DIY store could be doing the same.
One of the major problems that I identified in a previous blog around DIY and other major retail is that their Point of Sales systems are not set up to deal with big data. They don’t even record the category of products you buy let along unique SKU’s. That blows away my desire for proximity based marketing solutions that send a message saying Dear Valued Customer, we can see you are nearby. Last year you bought a lawn mower from us, we trust its going well. As a thank you for your business we have a leaf blower vacuum with your name on it if you visit in the next 2 hours with a 50% discount. Just tick his box and it will be waiting for you at the service counter when you are ready to check out.
Using the power of the mobile phone, the phone could communicate with a marketing module in the individual store or at chain level, rather than having to deal with millions of individual transactions from customers who might never come back.
This isn’t rocket science and can be done today. If you are a retailer who is complaining about the Internet taking business from you, you might as well compete or roll over. Think outside the square or get someone to help you with some ideas. I know it is really hard as a retailer to take time out, but if you don’t, you could find that you are no longer a retailer and there goes your home, your lifestyle, your holiday and your future. What’s all that worth? You know something has to change right? Internet retailers winning is only a fait accomplis if you let it.
So Dear Reader. Do you use retail apps?