Retailers miss opportunities without a mobile app
By Marc Biel, CEO, Shopgate
In a world that's gone mobile mad, there's not much you can't get in a few taps of a smartphone. Retailers selling everything from computers to clothing, closets to caffeine, have tapped into the ecommerce marketplace.
With the inherent convenience of ordering favorite specialty items online, come new demands from consumers, namely: the expectation of finding their favorite brands in the app store. The more consumers turn to their smartphones for buying convenience, the more competition arises for brands looking to cash in on the gold rush.
With retailers like Amazon taking up so much of the ecommerce space, merchants need to differentiate themselves with value-added user experiences. Smaller brands can combat their big box competitors by complementing their product offerings with inspiration, education, curated communications and truly personalized user experiences, to effectively fight the clutter of a crowded marketplace.
Providing pleasant experiences plays a significant role in not only customer acquisition, but customer retention. As ecommerce competition continues its dizzying ascent, brands must focus not only on new customer acquisition, but also on capitalizing upon the value of those customers once they've been acquired, paving the way for improved customer loyalty and higher revenue potential.
For example, with more than a third of consumers buying groceries online in 2011, the packaged food industry has grown explosively as a key vertical in the ecommerce industry. The stage has been set for food and beverage retailers. The next step is to simply reach out and grab the opportunity.
In the age of "craft goods," consumers have the knowledge and expectation to discover and demand the best of everything, a trend that's paving the way for specialty retailers who cater to an exacting clientele. With simplified technologies allowing smaller, specialty retailers to make waves selling their wares online, consumers have unprecedented access to anything they seek — right on their smartphone. Overcoming the traditional barriers that long plagued small sellers, has been a major jump forward for these retailers.
Take for example, Black Rifle Coffee Company, a veteran-owned, small batch, roast-to-order coffee company with a large social media following. Prior to using a plug-and-play solution to create a mobile app that would maximize their share of the mobile market, the company could already see their mobile users growing and wanted to capitalize on the increasing traffic. Vice President of Black Rifle Coffee, Charles Waldron said, "Honestly we were behind because we didn't have a mobile app."
For a company that places such a heavy influence on providing the best coffee drinking experience, Black Rifle Coffee needed a mobile app that would provide a similar level of performance, and one that would integrate with their existing online store. With their own mobile app, Black Rifle can now send push notifications that allow them to directly connect with customers and keep users engaged
Because no one likes to wait when they are in need of caffeine, the Black Rifle mobile app allows one-touch payments via Apple pay, allowing customers to get through the checkout process with a single thumbprint. With push notifications, Black Rifle is now able to proactively and directly communicate with users who have already downloaded their app, giving them unprecedented access to the pockets of loyal customers.
It's clear that for food and beverage retailers, finding customers on mobile is not only smart and savvy — but a profitable way to reach the customers they really want. According to our recent mobile commerce outlook report, rather than just utilizing mobile as another channel of outreach, retailers are starting to demonstrate an interest in tools that contribute to building the mobile customer relationship via mobile apps. These tools include push notifications, loyalty programs, product availability and personalized offers.
This year, make sure to put your brand directly in the hands of loyal customers and keep coming back for more.