Mobile app use jumps, 55% use retail apps in-store

NEW YORK—App use in-store is skyrocketing and the rate of increase is surpassing many retailers' expectations as smartphone use and shopper preferences expand beyond the expectation of discounts delivered via mobile devices.

According to Cisco's fifth annual retail survey, shoppers now want a convenient, contextually relevant shopping experience. One that seamlessly integrates mobile.

"If it doesn't work on mobile, it doesn't work," said Joseph Bradley, VP, global Internet of Everything, Cisco Consulting Services.

A whopping 55 percent of shoppers said they will use a retailer's app for or while shopping and 34 percent claimed to use a third-party app for the same. The popularity of mobile as a shopping aid has been on the rise. "What's new is the rate of increase," said Bradley. "The rate of adoption is becoming mainstream."

The growing Internet of Everything (IoE) is enabling a connected store environment and, in turn, raising consumer expectations.

While deals continue to rank high with shoppers, the fifth annual retail survey found that most shoppers want innovations at retail that center on convenience and efficiency in what Cisco terms "hyper-relevance."

Hyper-relevance delivers value—such as greater savings, efficiency, or engagement—in real time throughout the shopping lifecycle, using analytics to determine the experience that best suits the customer's context (where he is, what she is looking to accomplish in that moment), according to the company. The ability to track shoppers in stores is providing a wealth of data and analytics are helping to determine the most relevant use of mobile technology.

Cisco tested 19 different shopping concepts with consumers in its survey to compile a snapshot of consumer receptivity to new IoE-enabled innovations in the shopping experience.

Ordering online and picking up in stores at a dedicated drive-thru lane was desired by 57 percent of those surveyed and 53 percent said they would pay $5 for same-day, at-home delivery. Forty percent expressed interest in using a secure locker to pick up online orders.

A good many shoppers are interested in augmented reality: 73 percent said they would use a smartphone to scan products for special customized offers and promotions in the store; 63 percent would use augmented reality apps to help locate items on their shopping list in the store; and 57 percent would like to receive information about products, such as online consumer reviews or ingredients.

Mobile payments also intrigue consumers: 60 percent would scan barcodes on items while shopping to track and pay at a self-service checkout and 49 percent would like to store several payment cards on smartphones and smartwatches to pay in stores by swiping the device at the checkout. Half of all shoppers would like some kind of "smart online shopping cart" that uses information from smart home appliances, purchasing history and items added by the consumer to maintain a constantly updated virtual cart.

In-store digital signage holds great promise as the majority (77 percent) want digital signs at each checkout line to provide estimated wait times; 67 percent want to view offers tailored to their interests and preferences; and 67 percent are interested in in-store wayfinding capabilities through mobile maps.

Shoppers, it seems, have come to expect discounts and deals—the table stakes of retailing today—and are now valuing convenience in a similar manner. They have come to expect price parity and may soon do the same with the added value that mobile promised.

There's a lot at stake. For a $20 billion retailer, for example, these use cases drive a total gross annual value opportunity of $312 million and a 15.6 percent improvement in profitability.

For more:
-See this Cisco study

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