Do you know which app features are the most compelling for attracting shoppers and boosting sales? As retailers strive to be more compelling in an increasingly competitive market, they must rely on a number key app features that are drawing in shoppers left and right—and making the biggest impact on sales. Read through just a few of the most essential elements.
Two good examples of the use of augmented reality features in mobile apps are Wayfair and Sephora.
Wayfair rolled out an AR feature that allows shoppers to envision what their new furniture will look like in their home. WayfairView, the company’s first-party smartphone augmented reality application, available in Google Play. Developed by Wayfair Next, the company’s in-house research and development team, using Google’s technology, WayfairView allows shoppers to visualize furniture and décor in their homes at full-scale before they make a purchase.
“Wayfair Next is laying the groundwork for new innovations that will change the face of retail – all with first-party technology,” noted Steve Conine, co-chairman and co-founder, Wayfair. “By digitizing our vast catalog through 3-D scanning, we will dramatically improve the visualization of products to create the best possible shopping experience for our customers. With smartphone augmented reality, we can take this a step further. Built using Google’s robust Tango technology, WayfairView will allow shoppers to visualize furniture and décor in their homes by virtually placing real products from Wayfair’s extensive catalog in any room at full-scale.”
Sephora allows user to apply filters to envision what their makeup will look like on their faces. The use of augmented reality in fashion helps provide a more seamless, cross-channel experience for customers who shop in-store and online. In the first eight weeks following the launch, 1.6 million customers have visited Sephora’s App and 45 million used Try-ons in the same period.
The Virtual Artist mobile app allows customers to virtually test and purchase cosmetic items via their smartphone. The app allows users to “try on” lipstick shades or eyelash treatments using the front-facing camera on their mobile device. When shoppers see a look they like, they can simply “add to basket” and purchase the items they have been modeling.
Gamification: As a society, we love gaming, and retailers who can incorporate gamification into their mobile apps are winning over customers who are addicted to the trend. Starbucks is a real winner when it comes to rewarding its customers via this technique.
Starbucks rewards customers for purchasing drinks, offering discounted products for members who accumulate a certain number of points—keeping customers coming back for more. By collecting stars for each new purchase, customers can build points for free food and drinks, and unlock new rewards levels.
In-store beacons detect when app users are nearby, alerting customers of in-store sales and offers. Beacon technology helps retailers boost in-store traffic with digital features.
“When properly used, beacon technology can be very effective, as it enables brands to capitalize on granular location data,” said Karen Pattani-Hason, director of agency relations at Urban Airship, New York. “Levi's can gather this data on their customers for use both in-store and for future campaigns.
“Knowing where in-store their customers browse can provide invaluable insights on product preferences that can be used at a later date. This data could also be used to drive future traffic to stores, with relevant offers based on items the consumer has considered, based on Beacons location data.”
One important use of mobile apps is to help shoppers know whether or not their desired items are in-stock or available for shipping when they want them, so inventory visibility features are crucial to keeping customers happy.
AppSheet’s Store Inventory app can help small businesses to keep track of inventory items where the list is usually kept in spreadsheets with greater mobility to manage inventory and run inventory via mobile devices. The app also automatically enters dates and uses the phone/tablet camera as a bar code reader.
Target and Walmart are pioneers of this feature, allowing shoppers to view the status of stock at specific locations. Having insight to this information can make or break a trip to the store for consumers.
Target’s service was implemented by Washington-based tech company Point Inside, allows customers to see what’s in stock and where to find those items in the store. Shoppers can start their list using a type-head function that includes brand named items, and the app notifies customers where the product may be found in store and if it is in stock.
Walmart’s Search My Store feature also allows customers to search a particular store for specific items on their list, from electronics to groceries and more. “Search My Store is a great example of how we are using core online capabilities, such as search, to address key pain points of our Walmart store customers,” a Walmart blog post explained.
"Consumers spend more time shopping on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, than they do on desktops. To make matters more complicated, they access retail apps in a variety of different circumstances —while connected to spotty Wi-Fi, juggling between multiple devices, simultaneously running other power-hungry apps, and more. It’s hard to maintain a quality app experience through all of those variables. But through extensive app testing, companies can perfect the digital experience of their brand and stay up to speed in the competitive retail market,” explained Eran Kinsbruner, mobile technical evangelist at Perfecto.
In order to ensure digital quality, apps and platforms need to undergo comprehensive pre and post-production testing across all of the unique popular devices in each retail industry. The first step is testing the functionality of the app, to make sure features and transactions are working properly and to proactively identify availability and other app issues. Next, Kinsbruner says, developers need to “stress test the app, increasing server load in the testing environment to mimic heavy user traffic, as companies monitor for alerts in how the app handles it. These steps allow companies to detect issues with their app in real end-user conditions, before they become a problem—and lose a customer.”
“Brands that invest in a rigorous testing program can confidently bring their app to market with new features and functionality that are proven to provide a quality experience for their target audience. ….Without testing, there’s no guarantee apps will work properly for the high volume of users expected during [peak]seasons," concluded Kinsbruner.
AppSheet offers a range of possibilities for retailers who are interested in making the most of their mobile retail apps. See how AppSheet can help you integrate these key mobile app features to capitalize on sales.