Ten years ago, you might have scoffed at the thought of ordering groceries through a mobile phone. Now, more than a quarter of global consumers do just that.
Mobility has quickly become a key player in enterprise business strategy, largely because of consumers’ willingness to experiment with mobile platforms. In fact, consumers have come to expect that their favorite brands offer mobile apps – meaning if you don’t have one, you may be behind.
This is all too apparent in the fast-paced athletic apparel industry. Retailers not only have mobile shopping apps, but they also offer consumers apps to measure athletic performance, track progress and even deliver expert coaching.
Athletic apparel retailers serve as a key example of how the right mobile strategy can not only boost sales, but it can also provide access to new customer data, improve customer communication and even increase customer loyalty.
Don’t fall behind
In a global PwC survey, 66 percent of clothing and footwear consumers indicated they made at least some purchases online in the past year. And 46 percent of global consumers buy products via mobile at least a few times a year – up six percentage points compared to 12 months earlier.
While mobile apps may have been hot, novelty items a few years ago, they’re now a necessity for many consumers and brands. It’s not too late to catch up and offer a mobile app, but it’s important to do it quickly – before all your competitors have.
Stretch your brand
As an athletic apparel retailer, you probably talk speed, agility and a competitive edge in your brand messaging. But is your company measuring up? Offering a convenient, intuitive mobile app will help convey to your customers that your brand is what you say it is.
Further, your app can help keep customers engaged with your brand long after they buy your clothing. For example, the Nike+ Run Club app provides a system for runners to log their workouts and compete with friends – all while wearing their Nike gear.
Consumers are busy. If they have the ability to take their shopping carts from one platform to the next, they’re going to favor your company. Many retailers offer a “find in store” functionality, which ensures the item a customer wants to buy is in-stock and ready to go when they arrive.
While some shoppers prefer to checkout and pick up their items in stores, others want them delivered. Give your customers the flexibility to choose how they shop and receive your merchandise, and they’ll keep coming back.
Customers like interacting with brands that show some personality, and a good way to do this is by providing them with a fun in-store experience. Offer accessible Wi-Fi in your stores, and encourage shoppers to use your app by offering discounts or giveaways for doing so.
Add-ons like videos and personalized shopping recommendations will add value to your customers’ experience with your app. Make sure whatever unique perks your app offers, they’re consistent with your products and your brand. That’ll help make customers view you as a sincere – and personable – company.
Coupons are great, but consumers want to feel special. With a strong mobile app, you can offer exclusive, in-app promotions instead. Doing this will bolster app downloads, and once you have access to customers’ mobile devices, several doors open up for getting in touch.
Push notifications and text messages make excellent additions to your email marketing program, and may be viewed as more personal by many customers. But you can take customization a step further by extending any loyalty programs over to your mobile app. Developers can work with marketing to offer mobile users exclusive sales and discounts, providing customers with a sense of exclusivity that only helps drive loyalty even further.
While customers will relish the customization features you can deliver with a quality app, your internal business units will love you for the data you can provide. With the proper tools, you can easily track and analyze app-user behavior. This provides a wealth of opportunity, from which products receive the most engagement to how users navigate the app.
Marketers benefit from being able to make more informed decisions on product offerings and positioning. Developers can benefit by studying app behavior and improving the app accordingly.
Build Brand Trust
And the final piece of the mobile puzzle here is a look at trust. According to the Harvard Business Review, 62 percent of a company’s value results from intangible business concepts, such as trust. While you can’t place a specific value on trust, all leaders know that trust can help grow your business while a lack of trust can sink it.
All of the massive mobile app benefits discussed thus far, from better customer data to a higher-quality omni-channel experience, these all offer vital stepping stones to build trust with your customers. After enough uses of an athletic apparel’s run tracker, enough customized push notifications (without getting spammy), and enough engagements with a quality mobile app, that trust grows. And your sales can only grow with it.
That’s a wrap for the app
So there you have it, folks. A mobile app can help boost retail performance in a variety of ways. But the best opportunity provided is the one to engage your customers wherever they are, slowly building their trust in your brand.
Hopefully, you’re well on your way to leading your industry on the mobile-app front. If you’re not, hopefully this post will provide the ammunition needed to kick your mobility strategy into gear. And when you do, you’ll want to make sure mobile testing stays on your radar. For that, check out our guide on how to jump start a mobile test lab.
In the meantime, sound off in the comments below on your favorite ways mobile apps can help retailers, whether focusing on athletic apparel or something else, get ahead of the game.