4 Things A Retail App Must Do To Enhance The In-Store Experience

Cognizant that there is no 'one-size fits all' when it comes to a branded store app, GPShopper outlines a basic framework that emphasizes commerce, loyalty, engagement, and utility.

At the heart of any discussion of using interactivity in a retail setting involves finding ways of “enhancing the in-store experience.”

That’s a fairly obvious and nebulous concept. But there are some basic functions that have to be met when it comes to making online-to-offline marketing work. A GPShopper white paper, titled Right Idea; Wrong Question (download available here), the proximity retail platform outlined the four items brands need to check off when it comes to the differences an app must satisfy versus a more general desktop/browser function: commerce, loyalty, engagement, and utility.

When a brand seeks to build or revamp its digital presence, it often begins by asking, “What is a mobile app going to do that my responsive site doesn’t?”

It’s a reasonable thing to ask, writes David Kovacs, VP of Business Development at GPShopper, but that query doesn’t lead to clear business objectives. Instead of comparing a responsive website to app, Kovacs proposes different question:

“If you could build a digital experience for your best customers, what would that experience be?”

Reframing the question this way will lead retailers to envision experiences that are very different than their mobile responsive site, Kovacs says.

“That’s not to say that responsive has no value,” Kovacs continues. “Indeed, responsive serves its purpose quite well for the 80-90 percent of visitors who are not brand loyalists and just passing through. But an app will reach a more concentrated group of shoppers that will spend larger amounts. ‘The 80/20 Rule’ implies that 80 percent of revenues will be driven by 20 percent of customers. This 20 percent is the audience that an app is targeting. For many retailers, the top 10 percent of their customer base accounts for over 50 percent of their revenues.”

In looking at how the four elements of a retail-centric app strategy – commerce, loyalty, engagement, and utility — thinking about how to combine them is the individual challenge brands have to consider.

“The best course of action for a brand to start is to focus on two of the four elements and getting those right for customers,” Kovacs says. “Typically, this means a great commerce experience and one of the other three. Commerce and loyalty is a logical combination if you have a loyalty program, while lifestyle brands with great content might lean towards engagement as the second element.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.