WITHIN THE OMNICHANNEL world, some retailers are moving away from using mobile apps as ad warehouses or purchase points and are instead using them to engage consumers with a personalized brand story. BBDO’s Drew Panayiotou says retailers should ponder: “How does the mobile device make the shopping better in the stores and at home? How does it become a shopping tool? It’s different than serving you an ad,” he says.
To that end, a few retailers are dabbling in augmented reality. Ikea, for one,rolled out a new app in late July that helps consumers see how specific furniture fits in their homes, including a 360-degree perspective on the item. Macy’s has a similar furniture-related offering for tablets, with which consumers can see how items look in a room of specific dimensions.
Moosejaw Mountaineering has an app called X-Ray that has received 4 million downloads; by holding a phone or tablet over the Moosejaw print catalog, X-Ray users can see through the model’s apparel to his or her underwear. Moosejaw is looking into a new appthat will focus on engaging with customers on a weekly and daily basis between purchases, while linking to its reward program, according to Eoin Comerford, CEO, Moosejaw. “E-commerce apps just don’t work for smaller retailers,” he says. “For us, we’re gear and higher-end outerwear. Average order time is about once a year. For someone to download [an app] and only use it once a year, it’s not sticky enough.”
Razorfish’s Jason Goldberg concurs.If retailers targeted apps to the top 1% of consumers who “really love you and would do what you say,” it would likely be a more fruitful use of apps. Mobile apps“ aren’t sexy until that consumer makes use of it every day,” he says.
Retailers have been obsessed with apps, says Forrester’s Peter Sheldon,“when they should have been invested in mobile web.” Consumers are far more likely to use a mobile website, he says,because even if they install an app, often they forget it’s there amid the numerous other apps they have.“
The vast majority of retailers today have created mobile applications that optimize on-device commerce over in-store experience. Our data shows that this is a fundamental miss in terms of priorities,” Deloitte Digital reports.
Some very large companies will be able to have effective mobile apps, but other retailers will need to focus on optimizing the website experience from devices, meaning responsive website design. “That is a must-do to really understanding where your traffic is coming from,” says Elana Anderson, senior VP-worldwide marketing at Demandware.
Indeed, agrees Goldberg, consumers are likely to buy six times more often if browsing on their laptops. And tablet’s are gaining steam as a go-to device for shopping, in part because the screen is bigger than mobile phones and they are more portable than computers.
Download Advertising Age Omnichannel Retail Whitepaper Here