It’s still rare to make a direct payment in a store with a mobile phone, but there are other ways that currency is changing hands thanks to mobile apps.
First consumers started using smartphones to research products, then to make purchases, and now, mobile devices are becoming a means of currency exchange even in the offline world. Although it is still relatively rare for consumers to make a direct payment in a store with a mobile phone, there are other ways that currency is changing hands thanks to mobile apps.
Loyalty cards give consumers points for purchases, and many are now available in app form. Shopper reward programs like those from Kiip, Shopkick and Belly also tally in-store activities and offer discounts and freebies for regular mobile users. Then there’s Square, which still relies on “real” money, but gives smaller retailers a way to accept credit cards through its smartphone and iPad apps.
So what does all this mean? It means that shopping norms are changing, and smartphones are playing a big role in that shift. The growth in smartphone ownership over the last few years is staggering – Cisco says by the end of 2013 there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people – and because consumers always have their phones nearby, it’s inevitable that mobile devices will continue to play a bigger and bigger role in the retail experience – both online and off.
Which leads to another question: If mobile is becoming a more important channel for retail, what does that mean for retailer apps?
It means retail mobile apps need to be more dynamic, customized to suit different types of shopping experiences, and built with transactional ease in mind. Apps are driving purchasing behavior, and in turn, purchasing behaviors are driving requirements in app design. Retailers have to manage the experience more effectively, and take every advantage of access to the new mobile wallet. The retail landscape is changing rapidly. It’s time to optimize mobile apps to meet consumer shopping needs.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.