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May 10, 2013

Enterprise Mobile Apps: Gain a Competitive Edge in Retail

Mobile application management (MAM) and enterprise mobile apps are especially relevant for brick and mortar retailers who can use mobile apps in sales and marketing to exponentially increase sales. This is not a strategy to ignore, as customers are increasing their interest in retail mobile apps. According to analytics firm Flurry, Android and iOS users spent 525% more time on retail mobile apps in December 2012 as they did in the prior year, while in 2012, consumers spent 27% of their app time on retail apps (up from 15% in 2011). For the retailers who can leverage the mobile medium effectively, the sky is the limit. Retail enterprise mobile apps can run the gamut from consumer-facing apps that drive foot traffic and increase purchases to employee productivity apps that help salespeople increase their effectiveness on the floor.

For brick and mortar retailers, driving foot traffic is imperative, and leveraging mobile devices to access their consumers can make it happen. According to Mobile Marketer, 44% of all restaurant and retail mobile ad campaigns include a store locator. This location-based component not only encourages users to go into the store but removes barriers from doing so; the information is right there. Once in the store, engaging customers to drive purchases is the next key goal for brick and mortar retailers. Price is one way the retailer can connect with the customer -- for example, Walmart has a price checker app which allows customers to get prices and stock information about products. Enterprise mobile apps can help shoppers choose coordinating products while the retailer is happy to upsell. For example, J. Crew’s new mobile app helps customers to find matching products and then requests the help of a sales assistant once they are ready. For retailers such as Walgreens and CVS, utility is a strong component of their mobile apps, which allow users to request prescription refills to pick up at the store and to get deals.

Lastly, putting apps in the hands of retail employees can enable them to sell more and provide a better customer experience -- Apple store employees can conduct an entire purchase experience via handheld devices coordinated across multiple employees, while many mobile solution vendors are introducing apps that leverage location-based data to help salespeople optimize their activities on the sales floor.

Using apps that provide stock availability information or styling suggestions can help the salesperson drive up a consumers’ total transaction value, such as in Sephora’s mobile app, which enables the salesperson to scan a customer’s skin and recommend the optimal matching colors and products. The possibilities seem endless, however 30% of the top 100 US retailers do not have a mobile app for iOS or Android.

Clearly, if your organization can effectively tap into the power of enterprise mobile apps, you will have an advantage over your competitors.


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