How many times have you been checking out at your favorite retailer and been encouraged at the register to download the store’s app? Your cashier might mention it, your receipt might remind you of it, and there might even be signs on the credit card machine, all telling you that there is an exciting new app and you need to be using it.
But why are these apps suddenly becoming so prevalent? And more importantly, why do consumers seem to be loving them?
Mobile apps have been around for many years now, ever since smartphones jumped on the scene. In the last couple of years, though, retailers have taken hold of this beneficial technology and really made it their own… and the trend seems to be catching on.
Retailers’ mobile apps are growing exponentially, in fact, and downloads of these types of apps doubled between 2017 and 2018 alone. According to the recent Synchrony 2018 Digital Study, 67% of consumers say that they have downloaded a retailer’s app. Of those who have done so, more than half of them have used it to them make a purchase through the app.
You will find mention of mobile apps from retailers of all kinds, ranging from your local grocery store to your favorite sandwich shop, boutique, or even bakery… and everything in between. National chains and mom-and-pop stores alike have jumped on the app bandwagon, in an attempt to lure in new customers and keep the ones they already have.
Retailers big and small recognize the benefit that a customer app can provide, and how the adoption of such an app can be a game-changer for the company. Maya Mikhailov, CMO and Senior Vice President of mobile app developer GPShopper, said that “in today’s competitive landscape, a mobile application is not just another piece of technology for retailers. It is a vital tool to engage shoppers with their brand. Done well, retail apps engage both in and out of stores with personalized experiences and easy credit solutions.”
If a retailer’s app can amplify the shopping experience both in-store and at home, it’s easy to see the benefit.
There are great reasons for retailers to spend the time and money developing pricey customer apps, and there are also great reasons for customers to download and use them. They are mutually beneficial products, and they don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Of the consumers who have admitted to downloading a retailer’s app (67% of all shoppers, as per the study above), more than half of them say that they downloaded it for a coupon or to take advantage of discount pricing. A quick App Store download is definitely worth saving a chunk of change on your next in-store buy, after all!
Retail apps can also make the shopping experience easier, as well as more personalized. Grocery store apps can do everything from provide digital coupons to track shopping lists, let you know where items are located in the store, or even allow you to pre-order your list for curbside pickup. And all of that is offered at no additional cost to you.
For instance, earlier this year Whole Foods announced their new app in collaboration with Amazon Prime. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can scan the QR code from your app and earn special discounts, credits on Amazon.com, and will also save an additional 10% on all sale items in Whole Foods stores. I’ve personally saved about $50 since its introduction just a couple of months ago, and all I have had to do was download the app and scan it at checkout.
Other apps still will use push notifications to let you know when new items are introduced, if there are special events, or allow you to take advantage of a sale a few days early. In fact, over 44% of shoppers using retailer apps say that they’ve used it to make purchases directly.
It’s easy to see how apps can be beneficial to the shopping experience. They give retailers insight into customer behaviors and preferences, while also allowing customers the access, discounts, and special features they love. Combined with a rewards earning credit card for in-app purchases, you can not only save money on the things you buy at your favorite stores, but you’ll even get cash back in the process.