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Mobile content covers the gamut, from the implementation of mobile apps and mobile web sites to in-store mobile technology. A fast-changing industry segment, mobile presents unique challenges to today's retail organizations. This section will help retail executives stay on top of the latest news, insights and information to help solidify cross-channel strategies and draw traffic into stores.

Secrets To Building Successful Mobile In-Store Experiences

AVP Hughes headshotDo you have a mobile in-store experience strategy? Many articles and studies tell us mobile is the greatest technology disrupter in retail since the barcode. At three Retail TouchPoints executive breakfasts in New York City, Dallas and Minneapolis earlier this year, mobile was the hottest topic of discussion. So hot that at one event the presenter never made it past the third slide when mobile strategy was brought up for discussion! The question for retailers remains deceptively simple: How do you build a successful mobile in-store experience that leads to higher conversion rates and larger basket sizes?

A successful mobile experience starts with a well-defined strategy, beginning with a basic choice between mobile app and mobile web. This may lead to questions concerning user interface or device type — are you designing for an iPhone experience or Android? Is it a customer facing or associate driven experience? What features are needed across channels and should they all be delivered at once or over time? Will push notifications be implemented? Keep in mind 86% of mobile users’ time is spent in apps vs. mobile web since April 2014 according to a Flurry Analytics, comScore and NetMarketShare study.

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Loyalzoo Digital Loyalty Platform Brings Programs Onto Single App

For decades, loyalty programs have encouraged customers to visit stores and buy from retailers on a more ongoing basis. These programs are undoubtedly a mainstay for large brands and retailers, but smaller businesses also can capitalize on these initiatives.

Loyalzoo has launched a loyalty app that enables independent retailers to build and manage their own brick-and-mortar, online and mobile loyalty programs. Retailers can add their own logos and colors to the app in order to make the customer experience more aligned with their brand image.

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Shoppers Use Smartphones More Than Any Other Device

The smartphone is the most widely adopted Internet-connected device, with 71% of shoppers using their devices each day, according to Blackhawk Engagement Solutions. An increasing number of consumers also are using their laptops (66%) and tablets (43%) daily, confirming that consumers are growing more connected and retailers now have more opportunities to engage with them.

However, to successfully engage with connected shoppers, retailers must understand when consumers use their devices most frequently. The study, titled: Where It’s At: A Connected Shopper Story, indicates that the optimal time to capture customer attention is late in the day. In fact, 48% of online shopping now occurs between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Some consumers also shop online during the workday; 28% of all online shopping occurs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. When consumers are home after a long day of work, they tend to watch TV and browse online simultaneously. As many as 58% of consumers shop at home while watching TV, and 47% of consumers learn about products, special sales and shopping news on TV.

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Former Google Shopping Exec Launches Mobile Tech Startup

Nitin Mangtani, a former Group Product Manager at Google Shopping, has founded mobile technology platform PredictSpring. Recently, the startup raised $2 million in funding from Beanstalk Ventures and Novel TMT Ventures.

The PredictSpring Mobile Platform is designed to enable retailers to build customized native mobile apps that offer a seamless shopping experience. Brands using the platform are better positioned to elevate their mobile brand experiences, reduce drop-off rates and increase mobile conversions.

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More Than 90% Of Consumers Use Smartphones While Shopping In Stores

Consumers are relying more on their mobile devices to communicate, research products and acquire information. As a result, retailers need to prioritize mobile as a key communication and engagement channel.

After all, more than 90% of consumers use their smartphones while shopping in retail stores, according to a survey from SessionM. While more than approximately 54% of consumers use their devices to compare prices, others search for product information (48.4%) and reviews (42%).

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Retailers Lag Behind In App Quality But Fanatics, Domino’s And Groupon Stand Out

Mobile has made an undeniable impact on consumers’ shopping habits, particularly their interactions with the store. To measure up to consumers’ heightened standards and expectations, retailers need to design mobile apps that are equally engaging and easy-to-use, helping to streamline the overall purchase process.

When it comes to mobile app quality, even top retailers lag behind other industries, according to data from Applause Analytics. ARC — the Application Resource Center for Applause — released the report, titled: The Best And Worst Rated Retail Apps, to help retail brands understand how U.S. consumers rate the most popular retail apps. In total, 95 apps qualified for the company’s Applause Retail App Quality Index, which include apps that have more than 200 app store ratings and reviews.

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Swirl Beacons Help Drive In-Store Mobile Engagement

AS Swirl ImageWith so many consumers now using mobile devices while they shop in physical stores, retailers are using proximity marketing to engage consumers and increase basket sizes.

Through its beacon marketing platform, Swirl helps retail marketers deliver relevant content and offers to shoppers’ smartphones based on their location within a store. For instance, a retailer can tap the platform to greet shoppers as they enter a store, or deliver coupons or content to help consumers make more informed in-store purchase decisions.

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Target Tests Beacons In 50 Stores

Target is adding beacons to its growing list of omnichannel investments. The retailer will test beacon technology in 50 locations throughout the U.S., according to a company blog post. With the technology, Target plans to deliver content such as discount information and product recommendations directly to consumers’ smartphones that are opted in to the service. Although the service is not currently available for Android users, Target expects to unveil it at a date to be determined later.

The technology will be located in stores in the following markets: Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. A nationwide rollout will be completed by Christmas, according to TechCrunch.

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Engaging Millennials Through Proximity Marketing

AVP iSignMedia headshotAs the Millennial generation moves out of budget-constrained youth into their higher earning years, their buying prominence will change, but not at the expense of how they interact with the market. This is a culturally savvy demographic that is not as easily motivated as prior generations. Today, traditional marketing is being replaced by newer, more relevant methods, and companies that want to stay ahead of the curve will need to change with the times.

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Bouncepad Luna Augments In-Store Experiences With Mobile Devices

Consumer expectations have heightened as the retail experience has expanded across new channels and devices. While in stores, shoppers expect associates to be knowledgeable about the products they are selling, and want them to be mobile on the sales floor.

In an effort to help associates provide better in-store service, Bouncepad has launched Luna, a dock and charge enclosure for tablet devices that can be used in multiple scenarios, such as fixed self-service or mobile selling.

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Mobile Accounts For 30% Of E-Commerce Transactions

AR Criteo ImageU.S. mobile transactions now account for more than 30% of all e-Commerce transactions, according to a report from Criteo. This total is expected to reach 33% in the U.S. and 40% globally by the end of 2015.

Among the top quartile of retailers, the mobile share of e-Commerce transactions increased to 40%. Fashion and luxury categories lead the industry, with mobile accounting for more than 35% online transactions.

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EBay Closes Down Same-Day Delivery Service

EBay has discontinued its eBay Now same-day delivery service, according to a company blog post. The online marketplace also announced it will close down multiple standalone mobile applications, including eBay Valet, eBay Fashion and eBay Motors. In retiring the mobile apps, eBay plans to migrate these functionalities into its flagship eBay app.

The company is undergoing a transformation in an attempt to narrow the focus on its online marketplace, with the blog post indicating that these closures are the “first phase of their sunset plans.” News of the closures follow eBay’s sale of its Enterprise business for $925 million and its official split from PayPal.

When the eBay Now service launched in 2012, customers in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area were able to access same-day delivery of items from local merchants via couriers.

EBay also is discontinuing a local pilot program in Brooklyn, NY that started in December 2014 and offered same-day delivery from approximately 80 local merchants. Both eBay Now and the Brooklyn program will officially stop service on July 31.

The company initially shut down the eBay Now mobile app in November 2014, bringing the program’s delivery capabilities and many participating merchants’ inventory into its core mobile apps.

“While we saw encouraging results with the eBay Now service, we always intended it as a pilot,” said RJ Pittman, Chief Product Officer of eBay, in the post. “We are now exploring delivery and pick-up/drop-off programs that are relevant to many more of our 25 million sellers, and that cover a wider variety of inventory that consumers tell us they want.”

EBay will continue to pilot scheduled delivery in the UK, according to the post.

Most of the employees affected by the eBay Now shutdown will be reassigned elsewhere in the company, an eBay spokesperson told CNET.

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Youngland Kiddie Shops Taps Aptos Solution Suite To Drive Growth

aptosYoungland Kiddie Shops has implemented a variety of solutions from Aptos, formerly Epicor Retail, to support retail operations, improve customer engagement and streamline chainwide efficiencies.

The discount retailer — which operates 17 stores under the Kid City brand — implemented several Aptos solutions through the cloud, including: Store and Mobile Store (Point of Sale); CRM; Merchandising; WebIM (Inventory Management); and Sales Audit.

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The Top 15 Stories Of 2015 (So Far…)

topstoriesWe’re halfway through 2015 and Retail TouchPoints already has covered a plethora of new industry trends and best practices through our features, special reports, awards programs and proprietary surveys.

While the Apple Watch and Internet of Things (IoT) turned the heads of industry analysts and retail executives in a number of articles, the final top 15 list also includes a variety of topics that are relevant to all retail businesses, such as: Pricing, inventory management, customer service and loyalty programs.

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