How mobile technology is changing the retail industry

Mobile technology is taking the retail market by storm. With constant technological advances, companies must adapt. Companies such as PayPal, Amazon, Samsung, and Apple have introduced mediums that allow consumers to complete transactions in the palm of their hand. Find out how these companies are adapting to significant changes in the mobile retail market.

The impact of mobile technology on retail

Mobile technology is constantly improving. Due to the ubiquity and convenience of smartphones, customers prefer businesses that have websites and apps that are easy to navigate, which encourages businesses to provide a seamless customer experience. Mobile technology in retail allows customers to compare product prices, shop from anywhere at any time, and instantly receive inventory updates.

A unique and personalized brand experience is key to building customer loyalty through mobile media. By creating a positive experience with businesses’ mobile technology, customers will often purchase exclusively through this medium. Companies that don’t embrace this trend may lose business due to their lack of participation in the mobile market. This is why the adoption of mobile retail technology is vital.

How Retail Businesses Can Use Mobile Technology

There are several ways for retailers to integrate mobile technology into their overall selling strategies.

Retailer apps

A retailer application allows customers to make purchases online. Every retailer should have an app. A good mobile app is more than just a convenient platform for making purchases; it must also provide a personalized “experience” that relates to consumer interests and conveys details about the items for sale. These personalized experiences include email receipts, a 24/7 online store, and inventory updates. [Related article: Financing Your Retail Store]

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Retailers need to consider whether they are better suited for a mobile app or a mobile website.

Push-based applications

Early apps were pull-based, which meant the user had to do something, like request information, search for a product, or put an item in a shopping cart. Today’s apps are push-based, meaning they anticipate user requests and deliver relevant information based on user needs. So, if an app “knows” that a user is interested in a certain product, it will automatically send updates about price information or availability without any user action. Using push apps enables personalized user engagement that can target inactive users to enable re-engagement. The best feature of push apps is that no personal information is required to register.

PointPoint: Push notifications can engage inactive users and serve as reminders for active users.

Tags and Mobile Ads

In-store beacons – small, relatively inexpensive Bluetooth devices placed in a store – bring an added dimension to the push concept. If the shopper allows beacon notifications, these devices not only transmit product information but also sale notifications whenever the shopper is within range. Beacons may also be used to display advertisements tailored to the preferences and interests of individual shoppers. If a customer previously clicked on a business’s online ad and then entered the store to browse, the beacon would link the customer’s ad visit data and could interact with the customer while they purchase; for example, giving them additional details about a certain item or offering a coupon to encourage a purchase.

Mobile payments

Apple Pay and Google Wallet are well on their way to widespread acceptance. Retailers have had to upgrade to better point-of-sale (POS) systems to accommodate the EMV chips that major credit cards now have instead of magnetic stripes. These newer systems typically also have the ability to accept credit card information (as well as store loyalty and gift cards) from a mobile app. The convenience factor here is twofold: there is no need to carry physical cards, and the customer has the ability to simply tap and buy from a product display to quickly complete a transaction.

The benefits of using mobile technology

Mobile technology offers businesses another avenue for customer connection. Although only 48% of small businesses currently have a mobile app, about 27% plan to create one to increase sales, according to a survey by Top Design Firms. Here are some of the reasons companies use such technology.

Reach buyers via mobile

Over the past five years, online shopping has grown in popularity. The number of online shoppers in China alone from 2015 to 2021 more than doubled, from 413.25 million to 842.1 million, according to data from Mordor Intelligence. Many large companies are joining this world of mobile retail by implementing mobile payment apps, which allow customers to make mobile payments through their own personalized medium, such as PayPal or Venmo, to complete transactions.

Did you know?Did you know? According to eMarketer, approximately 83% of online book, music, and video sales in the United States are purchased through Amazon.

Improve the customer experience

Mobile technology makes the shopping experience more efficient, more personalized and more convenient. A positive customer experience is essential for any retailer. Mobile apps can help locate items, provide customer service, and simplify checkout processes. This also benefits the retailer’s bottom line. Allowing customers to get information and make purchases means less need to staff cashier positions. This can not only reduce labor costs, but also eliminate the time and hassle of scheduling a workforce often characterized by high turnover and unreliability.

Giving customers more immediate information improves the consumer experience and can save a business time and money. That’s why mobile technology is a big part of the retail landscape.

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