April 11, 2022
Retail Growth

The Future of the Shopping Journey? It’s in the Palm of Your Hand.

Henry Kim

Today, more people are connected to their mobile devices than ever before. Whether it’s to check Instagram, send an email, or fire off a tweet, mobile users now spend an average of 4 hours and 48 minutes, per day, using their phones. That means that the world’s 5.3 billion mobile users will spend more than 1 billion years of combined human time using mobile phones in 2022. Of those 1 billion years, 92.5% will be spent using mobile apps. With global smartphone users spending over $170 billion on apps and in-app purchases, retailers can’t afford to sit idle. 

So, how can you engage with countless potential customers as mobile screen time skyrockets? 

Adopt a mobile-first approach. Today, mobile plays a critical role in the consumer journey as one of the most important ways to drive growth and traffic. It also offers an effective means of connecting with a massive number of buyers, influencing purchase decisions, and driving conversions. And with more and more retailers becoming mobile-first, it’s important not to fall behind. 

Mobile is changing the way people shop 

The first generation of the iPhone hit the U.S. markets in 2007. But today, the media landscape looks much different from what it looked like back then. Nobody could have imagined the high-tech apps or the high-resolution camera on the iPhone 13. And nobody could have imagined the way that consumers are using mobile to shop—and the impact it has on the entire shopping journey. 

Today, shoppers are using mobile to: 

  • Research products - looking at ingredients and ratings, evaluating availability, or comparing products 
  • Discover new products - through filters like “non-GMO” or “keto”
  • Purchase products - with “add to cart” or “buy now” features
  • Engage with products - leaving reviews or searching for deals 
  • Make purchases - both online and in-store with new mobile product scanning technology

With 90% of purchases still happening in-store, a mobile platform increases traffic, in-person visits, and basket size, while also allowing shoppers the luxury of rich features like in-store navigation, loyalty rewards, and in-app coupons. 

The shift to mobile has also dramatically improved the speed, convenience, and efficiency of the shopping experience; it’s allowed retailers to deliver highly personalized content to individual shoppers by collecting data and identifying patterns in their use habits. 

But it’s not just retailers who are hungry; now, brands want a piece of the mobile-first pie. With increased mobile app usage throughout the shopping journey, brands are pouring traditional ad dollars into digital advertising. In fact, eMarketer projects that advertisers worldwide will spend over half a trillion dollars on digital ads in 2022. The reality is that it’s all happening on mobile.

Competitive clamor remains a challenge across the mobile landscape 

Obvious advantages aside, mobile is not without its challenges. Competition is fierce for consumers’ attention. While users check their phones an average of 344 times each day, they are constantly bombarded with countless messages, offers, and ads as they multitask across devices. In fact, smartphone users in the U.S. receive an average of 46 app push notifications every single day, according to a Business of Apps study.  

So, how do you break through the noise?

A personalized, highly-engaging customer experience reaches distracted shoppers

Breaking through the noise is possible—with personalization, creativity, and options. Here are a few of the best ways to reach shoppers and drive desired engagement on your mobile platform:

1. Integrated loyalty programs 

Mobile shoppers use apps in-store to find deals in real-time; 75% of consumers favoring companies that offer rewards, and 56% staying loyal to brands that “get them.” With a data-driven program, you can offer your shoppers rewards and personalized suggestions that drive loyalty. 

By integrating a loyalty program into your mobile platform, shoppers can better understand and use their rewards. For example, they’ll be notified when a certain product earns extra reward points and they’ll be able to scan their app at checkout for maximum return. What’s more, by harvesting first-party data based on shoppers’ browsing and purchase patterns, your loyalty program can incentivize shoppers to fill their baskets with brands you already know they love. In fact, top-performing loyalty programs can boost revenue from customers who redeem points by 15 to 25% annually, by increasing their purchase frequency, basket size, and loyalty. 

2. Personalized coupons and promotions

Everyone loves a deal. But with more people glued to their phones than ever before, fewer people are physically clipping coupons—it’s time-consuming and tiresome. Not to mention, physical coupons are produced with the masses in mind rather than personalized for individual recipients. Digital coupons, on the other hand, offer personalization, simplicity, and convenience in the palm of the shopper’s hand. As of 2019, more than 25 million Americans were regularly using couponing apps. 

Offering personalized coupons and promotions based on a shopper’s unique preferences becomes possible with the data from your mobile platform. For example, if a shopper puts “paper towels” on the weekly shopping list, your app can show deals on their most-purchased paper towel brand. Or, if a shopper consistently buys a specific brand of pasta, you can run a BOGO promotion on that brand. And, of course, these personalized deals can be integrated into your loyalty program, allowing shoppers to gain additional points from everyday purchases—incentivizing sales and fostering loyalty. 

3. Videos

Videos are another effective way to cut through the noise and capture shoppers’ attention. HubSpot found 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands or businesses they support. However, the average length of time for a video to engage a user online is only 2.5 seconds, so it’s important to be strategic. 

Inserting a short, relevant video at the right time in the user purchase journey can help them seamlessly move through the purchase funnel. By creating an engaging and impactful experience while driving them toward a conversion, you can boost sales and create a shopping experience that they’ll remember—which will keep them coming back time and time again.

4. Contactless payment and delivery options

As a result of the pandemic, global retail commerce has become increasingly digital and almost exclusively cashless. Contactless payment and delivery are moving from a “nice-to-haves” to a “must-haves” in the present retail landscape. 

With Apple Pay, shoppers are becoming accustomed to the ease and security of storing payment methods on their phones rather than carrying around a wallet or purse. Paying right from an app in-store offers convenience, and makes it easy for shoppers to integrate in-store purchases into their loyalty programs. 

Contactless delivery has also become a staple of pandemic safety and convenience unlikely to fade even after pandemic concerns subside; contactless payment values—which were valued at $1.05 trillion in 2019—are projected to reach $4.6 trillion by 2027, according to Precedence Research. Contactless delivery not only promotes safety, but it allows customers to get the products they need when they don’t have time to run to the store. 

The bottom line: offering mobile features that make the shopping experience safe, seamless, and convenient is the key to building loyalty and driving sales. 

Ready to enhance the value of mobile to your customers?

The mobile-first approach isn’t just a trend—it’s the future. Your store’s mobile platform is a powerful opportunity to impact the customer journey at every phase of the purchasing process, whether your shoppers are at home planning their next grocery trip or in-store browsing the aisles. With an effective mobile platform, you can cut through the smartphone clutter by showing personalized, attention-grabbing content that promotes convenience, increases sales, and builds long-term loyalty. 

Swiftly has the platform and solutions to have you thrive and grow in today’s digital world. By providing a retail platform, a mobile platform, retail media, insights, and analytics in a simple, out-of-the-box model, Swiftly can get you started on building an effective mobile app quickly. You don’t even need to hire a team.

Contact us to get started.