5 Ways to Connect to In-Store Customers via Mobile

Some store owners bemoan the sight of shoppers peering at their phones as they wander the aisles and pick up what they need, but those owners lack vision. A customer on the phone is an opportunity to reach out, engage, and inspire loyalty — but only if you’re willing to provide the high-tech mobile services that your target market craves. It doesn’t take much, but it’s probably time you at least considered the idea of designing an app to benefit your business and help you with customer outreach.

Walmart customer

photo credit: Walmart Corporate / Flickr

Let Mobile Customers Skip the Line

The fastest way to a shopper’s heart is through a quick checkout line. Thanks to mobile technology, POS systems are quickly adapting, as well. That allows associates to check out customers from any spot in the store, which is helpful when checkout lines are busy.

While some stores switch over to self-checkout lines to ease the crunch of crowded lines, others have discovered how pleased customers are when they receive an alert on their phone that someone can help them or when a cashier approaches with nothing more than a mobile device. The decrease in waiting times is worth the upgrade.

Allow Them to Check Prices

Those handy barcode scanners set up in most stores aren’t so handy. They’re hard to find, and it’s cumbersome to cart your items to the nearest scanner. One way to connect with in-store customers is to either create an app that allows consumers to scan barcodes with their mobile devices or to enable this technology in an existing app. PriceGrabber is an excellent example, along with Amazon Price Check and Google Shopper.

It’s more convenient than hunting the store for a scanner or finding an associate. It also helps shoppers with their budgeting. You can easily integrate comparison shopping capabilities into an app like this.

Offer Something Special for Every Purchase

Shopping apps that give rebates to users after they scan the barcodes or receipts of the items they buy are wildly popular. Consumers love receiving money just for spending it. Whether you offer rebates, special deals, or surprise discounts, this is a surefire way to entice customers to shop with you. Look no further than the Target app with Cartwheel for an excellent example of an app that tempts shoppers into the store.

Shopper using shopping app

Tell Them Where You Are

Dozens of stores implement push notifications with their apps. Along with GPS coordinates, they send alerts to customers when they’re within range of a particular store. Store apps like the Walgreens app do the same, as do general coupon apps, such as The Coupons App.

The idea is to let shoppers know that not only are they close by, but they’re missing out on terrific deals and sales. Most of today’s shoppers rely on the newest phones, such as the new iPhone X from T-Mobile, and they’re quick to get alerts. With T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, in particular, users who opt-in know that a store is near in plenty of time to stop and buy what they need, even on the spur of the moment.

Catch Them at Checkout

Shoppers love coupons and discounts. It doesn’t matter what they’re buying. Give them a percentage or a flat dollar amount off their purchase, and they’re loyal forever. Your app should alert customers about any special deals on specific items, and it should prevent them from having to clip coupons to get the deals.

The coupon craze hasn’t faded, but the way consumers save has evolved. Rather than snipping slips of paper and organizing them carefully, shoppers either use third-party apps that pluck eligible coupons for them or they rely on store apps. If they can’t flash their phone at checkout, they’re barely interested. Make things easier for them, and they’ll happily spend their money at your establishment.

Stores have endless opportunities to form a connection with their customers, but more than that, each connection has the potential to create a lifelong consumer. Don’t assume that shoppers who are glued to their phones aren’t engaged in the retail experience. Just make sure they’re using your app while they’re in there.


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