When I was young, I knew people who would just leave the television on one channel because they couldn’t find the remote control. Now sometimes I can see the remote in front of me but don’t want to bend forward to pick it up so I just change the channel with an app on my phone.

popularmechanics_1957For those who grew up with computers, the integration of apps into our lives during the shopping experience, the service experience and the workday is a natural. Unlike that flying car I’m still waiting on, it’s a science-fiction luxury that actually came true. While the past belonged to the company with the most physical stores, the future will belong to the company that offers the greatest one-touch convenience.

 

Appwardly Mobile Consumers

Q: Someone spills marinara sauce before a meeting and needs to replace their shirt quickly. If they are 10 km away from one retail outlet by highway driving at 80km/h and 3 km away from a second outlet by city driving at 45 km/h, which store should they visit?

A: Whichever one has the shirt in stock, according to your store’s mobile app.

Your app can let your customer know what’s in stock at a particular location or just have it delivered without ever leaving their couch. The latter is especially handy for remote communities that once relied on catalog stores for their more unique purchases. If you are a traditional retailer, think getting your app on the customers phone screen being like getting a store on their street, no matter where that street may be.

Apps aren’t just changing the way you sell physical goods; selling software is going through a sea-change too. If you sell accounting software, purchases and invoices can be entered as they happen so that nothing is forgotten. If you’ve got a great health & wellness program, steps and reps can be entered right in the gym instead of going into a notebook or trying to remember what they did when customers get back to their desktop computer. The software is on their phone or Fitbit and those are always with them.

 

The Speed of Ideas

mobileVdesktopMobile usage has overshot desktop access and that gap will only grow bigger. Furthermore, 80% of time spent on a mobile is now spent in apps, rather than on the web. As each new wave of smartphones and tablets accelerates computational power you’ll have to move fast on development to keep pace. And whatever else you do, keep an eye on the little guys. Are you finding the new Starbuck’s app for ordering your coffee from your phone novel? A little shop in Birmingham, England called Urban Coffee Company was doing it as far back as 2010. Those smaller companies are able to enact innovation in a way that is very difficult for larger organizations, so you can expect a lot of the new trends to happen there first.

 

App-ortunities:

  • Track customer purchases more effectively than points cards
  • Helicopter customers watch their purchase coming every step of the way without taking up your time
  • Create offers based on what you know people want rather than sale alchemy
  • Guarantee your outreach is hitting an interested audience
  • Highlight product reviews that rarely travel as word of mouth
  • See which products need marketing attention, ie: rave reviews but slow sales
  • More online transactions cut cash on hand and lower staffing costs

App-solute musts:

  • Short load time: nobody wants to wait while a circle spins
  • Make sure your brick & mortar shop is properly geo-tagged for other mapping apps
  • Access your stock database quickly and accurately – customers want to purchase quickly
  • Stability: get them to the checkout without crashing
  • Be intuitive: don’t make it harder for somebody to buy
  • Security: trust is essential when ordering online

 

The societal change with mobile phones and tablets is undeniable. We’ve all seen groups of people with their eyes glued to their devices. Developing an app for them to shop and browse is becoming as much of an imperative as having a website became a decade ago. It’s time to move some of your eye-catching signage down onto people’s screens where everyone’s attention lingers so long.

 

Need help on your path to app-solute sales domination? Just reach out to us.