Pick any customer in your store at random. Chances are, if they have opposable thumbs and are breathing, they have a smartphone. In fact, 80 percent of all Internet users own a smartphone, and if you’re not making this trend beneficial to your store, you’re almost certainly hurting business. For instance, Ashu Garg, a partner at Foundation Capital, told VentureBeat.com an anecdote that underlines how mobile devices can negatively affect your store. According to Garg, chewing gum sales were down 20-25 percent, not because shoppers didn’t want gum, but because the time they would normally buy it (waiting in the checkout aisle) was now occupied by smartphone usage. Your store is probably not going to beat-out your customer’s phone for their affection, so the solution to this problem is simple: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Create an in-store app.
If we’re assuming your customers own a smartphone, we can conclude they are almost certainly spending a large chunk of their time using them. Consumers spend about 30 hours a month on their smartphones, and 80 percent of that time is spent on applications. It only makes sense that with this rising use of mobile devices that actual foot-traffic at brick-and-mortar stores would fall, and it has, by more than 11 percent last year. These numbers make it clear you have to make the most of the customers who are coming into your store, and one effective way to do that is to take advantage of their ever-growing connection to their phones through an app.
This shouldn’t be difficult, considering consumers are demanding their grocery stores have products and services available via apps (94 percent say they expect it), but it’s only just now catching on, and with positive results too.
For instance, County Market implemented its myCountyMarket app across 45 stores, allowing customers to receive special, location-specific offers. So far, 3,000 customers have downloaded the app, with up to 50 percent of customers taking advantage of the special in-app offers. These apps use beacon technology, allowing stores to know the precise location of shoppers and providing them coupons for items in the specific aisle they are in. If you’re in the bread aisle, they will receive a special notification that Sara Lee is on sale, for instance, and be able to activate the coupon at the register. The implementation of beacon technology or an in-store app like this can help point customers to deals they would have otherwise missed, improve customer loyalty program and even encourage more foot-traffic into your store with an exciting shopping experience.
Although this is just one example of a way to reach customers via their mobile devices, but it’s hard to argue implementing any sort of mobile marketing plan can’t be beneficial to both shopper and store alike.