During the National Retail Federation (NRF) Retail’s BIG Show 2016, the largest retail show of the year, wireless network provider Aruba took the opportunity to collect new data on the impact of shoppers’ mobile phone and retail mobile app usage on brick-and-mortar stores.
During the course of the multi-day study, Aruba surveyed 500+ global consumers including those from Middle East and Turkey in order to determine how mobile usage has impacted shopping in traditional stores.
Based on the results, it is clear that mobile phones have a powerful role in the in-store shopping experience. Below are the biggest takeaways that will give retailers in the Middle East an insight into what they need to do to attract and retain customers:
Retail mobile apps can be addictive
Many of us have been incentivized with special promotional offerings to download retailers’ mobile apps, but how many people have actually downloaded them, and do they use these apps regularly? We discovered a staggering 83% of respondents use a retail mobile app, and 26% use them up to five times per week. (If you think that’s impressive, we discovered that one in ten shoppers use retail mobile apps more than 10 times a week).
Move over sales associate. Hello trusty mobile phone
Do you find sales associates uninformed about products or sometimes too aggressive to make a sale? Many respondents of this survey have the same feeling, too. When asked about how they would prefer to peruse products in a store, 38% of respondents would rather pass up human interaction with a sales associate and turn to their mobile phones to continue their shopping experience.
Retail loyalty apps keep customers coming back
When respondents were presented with the option of shopping at a nearby competitor’s store versus a similar store where they are a loyalty member, less than nine percent would actually go with the competitive store. While 10% admitted to being indifferent to the option, a whopping 50% would select the store they were a loyalty member over other options.
In-store navigation gets top billing
Gone are the days of static mobile content. A retail mobile app should not be built just for basic catalog purposes or to give store information. Consumers want to be engaged by the retailer and that’s being accomplished through real-time, location-based information. As part of this study we discovered that in-store maps and indoor navigation is considered a top incentive for downloading retail mobile apps, making real-time location to products a key selling point for both the shopper and the store.
In-store incentives yield a high conversion rate
One of the main drivers for retailers to create mobile apps is to encourage their customers to purchase more with special in-store incentives. But do these incentive really yield results? Do shoppers actually take stores up on their offer? According to the study they do. A hefty 63% said they are likely to take advantage of an in-store offer if it’s presented to them.
For shoppers, Wi-Fi is king
Mobile data coverage is ubiquitous in most populated areas. However, once inside the walls of large stores, the coverage can quickly degrade and bandwidth becomes unpredictable. Given the fact that the modern shopper is tethered to their mobile phone to facilitate in-store purchases, providing easy-to-access Wi-Fi is key for retailers. In fact, when respondents were asked what they used their mobile phones for most inside stores, connecting to in-store Wi-Fi came in number one.
* The author senior marketing manager, Middle East and Turkey at Aruba, which is a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company and is a provider of next-generation networking solutions for enterprises of all sizes worldwide.