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Must Have Black Friday Item: In-Store Apps?

Mobile shopping app platform GPShopper found that more than 10 percent of its client app usage occurred in-store.

Mobile retail apps were a hot commodity for in-store shoppers this past Black Friday, research by GPShopper suggests. The mobile retail platform’s clients saw more than 10 percent of their apps’ Black Friday activity occur in-store.

Lauren Hand, marketing director at GPShopper, says that the company is always measuring its clients’ app usage — on a “daily, if not hourly, basis.” In the case of this year’s Black Friday, Hand says that GPShopper used a “store vicinity report” for all its clients with the specific intention of measuring the impact mobile had on in-store sales.

Lauren Hand, Marketing Director at GPShopper
Lauren Hand, Marketing Director at GPShopper

mCommerce In The Aisles

Not all of the in-store sales netted by GPShopper’s brands, which include Bebe, New York & Co., Best Buy, Charlotte Russe, and Estee Lauder, among others, were done at the register.

In fact, mCommerce played a substantial role, with in-store app usage converting mobile-based sales at double the rate of users of other digital channels. A number of consumers — GPShopper didn’t disclose how many — chose to complete their purchase via the retailer’s mobile app and have the product either shipped to their home or to their preferred store for later pickup. The reasoning behind this choice varied.

“A lot of stores ran out of local inventory,” Hand says, highlighting a scenario that might have prompted a consumer to place an order on their smartphone rather than buy at the cashier. Another possibility is that shoppers were disinterested in waiting in the typically long lines, Hand adds. Thus they’d save time, and probably some sanity, simply buying the product via the app.

The use of mCommerce in-stores on the biggest shopping day of the year speaks to the importance of having a mobile pay feature, says Hand. GPShopper clients’ New York & Co. and Express have a mobile pay functionality, but Hand declines to comment on whether either of these retailers saw a boost on the big day.

Next Year It’ll Be Beacons

This year consumers were using their mobile devices to assist and/or improve their in-store shopping experience. Next year, they’ll be doing the same thing, Hand says, only by then, beacons will be more prominently in the picture.

GPShopper has developed its own beacon technology and all its clients mobile apps are beacon-enabled. While beacons are being more widely embraced this holiday season, Hand says GPShopper won’t be a participant because it’s too risky to make a drastic change to an app during such a crucial season for business.

“We actually have a code freeze that started in November,” Hand says. “We will not touch any part of [an app’s] code until the holiday season is over. “By March 1, and and on into Q2, they’ll be a splash in beacons.”