Aldo Agostinelli

Not everybody has understood it, and some people still feel it is out of their reach, however, the app + targeting formula is an efficient source of new opportunities for retailers both online and offline. This sector has been booming and it is now ready to offer high quality omnichannel purchase experiences especially when matched with virtual and augmented reality.

According to the new report entitled “Mobile Retail Apps 2018: Strategies to Acquire, Engage and Retain Users” issued by eMarketer, in the United States 86% of users, once they are holding their smartphones, will spend most of their time using apps, thus favoring those retailers who do have a suitable app. Nevertheless, many retailers haven’t got one, yet and keep relying just on their presence on the web.  This is clearly a disadvantage vis-à-vis their better organized competitors.

Two years ago, I already warned the readers of this blog, about the fact that mobile retail was growing fast and the smartest among them were already designing their own apps aimed at offering a pleasant user experience and increase customers loyalty (Online and in-store shopping: VR and AR are leading the new hybridizations ). Now that e-commerce has reached a  global worth of 459 billion dollars in 2018, believing that a responsive website may be enough to sell sounds quite naïve. Especially considering the opportunities offered  by both AR and VR (and a more intense and visually richer experience is likely to lead to purchases!).

According to the Connected Shopper Report by Salesforce, 35% of Millennials wish to be able to search for products through images both in physical stores and online ones. High resolution images pre-caching and video contents improve merchandising inside apps and AR using the cameras of smarthphones and tablets allow retailers to largely expand the potential of their apps, for instance by allowing mobile users to virtually try on garments and accessories or to check whether a piece of furniture would suit their living room.

Sephora and Ulta Beauty the two biggest cosmetics retailers, have been exploiting augmented reality to allow their customers to virtually try their makeup, while teaching them how to use their products: clients watch, learn, find out what suits them best and buy things with a single tap on their phone display. Since last year, the new app by Ikea, Ikea Place, enables customers to select any item in their catalogue and fit it in a given location inside the room they are pointing at with their camera.  eBay app is less advanced but allows sellers to select the right box for shipping their goods.
Nowadays, being online is not enough, what makes the difference is HOW.

What do you think about omnichannel apps? Have you already used them? Are you planning to devote part of your budget for using one to expand your business? Tweet @agostinellialdo.

To find out more about the digital world, you may read my latest book: “People Are Media” 

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Aldo Agostinelli