Online and mobile commerce are changing retail right before our eyes, so quickly that some believe in-store shopping is doomed to become a thing of the past. However, there are significant aspects of in-store shopping that could never be displaced by a solely digital experience. Shopping is not always a chore; its an experience and pleasure in todays society.
Take, for example, grocery shopping. In our development of an app for Carrefour that enables shoppers to order and pay for groceries ahead of time, we found that the majority of users are happy to use the app to order the essentials, but still want to actually go into the store to pick out their vegetables, dairy and proteins. These complex customer journeys demonstrate the need for a hybrid approach to mobile shopping that bridges the physical and digital retail experiences.
Whats more, as it turns out, consumers are very open to the idea of using their smartphones as shopping companions. According to a recent Foresee report, 67% of shoppers are accessing brand-related content and apps while shopping in-store. This embrace of mobile shopping is where the real opportunity lies for retailers to make their store a better place to shop. It is gradually becoming clear: the stores that make proper use of mobile wallets are the ones who will come out on top in the modern retail era.
The mobile wallet confronts the new challenges that digital commerce brings to the physical retail store by allowing retailers to package all of their value-added services along with payment options into one convenient and orderly application. The result is a cohesive, digital and in-store experience.
For example, mobile wallets can deliver better ordering at quick-service restaurants. Mobile ordering and payment apps let hungry consumers place orders significantly faster, while also letting them customize their orders to their tastes. These apps also enable a skip-the-line concept that adds value to the ordering experiencereason enough for diners to use the app, especially in the QSR industry, where waits are one of the most significant in-store challenges.
Enhanced loyalty programs are another use-case for mobile shopping apps that help retailers reinforce the discounts, coupons and rewards that are available in their programs. In addition, features like complimentary product recommendations, in-store modes for apps and location-based incentives can actually help retailers win purchases at the point of sale that previously wouldnt have happened.
Despite all of these benefits, the heart of any mobile wallet is still payments, which represents the fundamental difference between a retail app and a retailer wallet. By including payments functionality in their apps, retailers can expedite the most crucial piece of customers shopping transaction, the checkout process.
Retailers should focus this year on including payment schemes like one-click, payment service providers for online payments, card-not-present or online payments. According to Comscore, four out of five smartphone owners are using their devices to shop, painting the picture of a retail ecosystem where more people are making mobile purchases than ever before. All of this information makes it safe to assume that moving forward, mobile payments will be an essential fixture of retail.
The future of mobiles place in retail is already taking shape. Mobile wallets will be the first step towards NFC and proximity payments, which will be much more relevant once a user experience has been built. This is where the onus starts to fall on the retailers to begin carving out their own a mobile presence. Doing so will help them manage their customer relationships and deliver better in-store shopping experiences that are relevant to each consumers individual interactions with a brand. The more value retailers can add to their mobile wallets, the more consumers are going to use them and ultimately, shop at the store.
Jérémie Leroyer is CEO and co-founder of mobile shopping technology developer Airtag.