Mobile apps are shaping the ways consumers interact with retail companies both on and offline. Apps continue to create a mass amount of buzz with new one’s constantly coming to fruition. The question is which retailers are successfully using mobile technology in creative ways to increase sales and their brand loyalty.
Pharmaceutical retailers have been doing some interesting things in the app space. Walgreens has adopted a prescription service that enables refill notification and re-order confirmation all via automated SMS. In addition to CVS’ comprehensive mobile app, they have taken their tablet experience three dimensional. The CVS iPad app allows customers to engage, shop and order prescriptions in a 3D replica of their familiar CVS stores.
Black Friday, known as the start to the holiday shopping season has caused retailers to create apps for that single day. Walmart has an app specifically deployed for Black Friday. The app maps out each store’s merchandise, allowing for customers to strategize their plan of attack during the shopping frenzy. Macy’s also powers customers with a Black Friday app. The app was tailored for consumers who were either in line or already in the store, notifying them every 5 minutes with special offers for that day.
Office Depot and Walmart have almost put the entire POS system in the hands of their customers. In select Walmart stores, customers with the Scan and Go app downloaded to their smartphone can enter items via the associated bar-codes as they place them in their cart. Once they are done shopping, all they need to do is hold up their phone up to a checkout kiosk, which finalizes the transaction and they are on their way. Office Depot is using a similar model in certain stores as well.
The Starbucks app, has become widely popular. Aside from being able to receive offers, find the nearest location and create custom beverages, the app also lets you pay for your drink and keep a bank of cash for your caffeine fix. Their program has helped grow the popularity of their gold-rewards loyalty program for Starbucks clients.
McDonald’s is in the technology works as well, with speculation that they are creating a mobile payment app, much like Starbucks. However this app will allow you to order your Big Mac and pay right from your phone, allowing head to your desired drive-thru to pick up your order.
As technology advances, it is interesting to see how mobility and retail evolve. The possibilities are virtually endless, only limited by imagination. Perhaps there will be apps that will make our choices for us and decide what we want to wear and what we want to eat , blurring the lines between the physical and the digital world. Apps with such precise sophistication that will know and present things before we have a chance to realize.