In 2013, the hottest, most in-demand mobile apps will be less about launching birds at pigs and more about delivering a completely interactive, mesmerizing experience that engages shoppers at every level.
With that in mind, here are five innovative eCommerce apps that are changing the way we compare, shop, browse and connect (and what you can learn from them!)
Nine West Bridges the Gap Between Mobile and Retail
Nine West’s new app now accounts for up to 75% of daily transactions in its store
Most retailers with apps tend to view their storefronts and apps as separate entities, and while it’s true that different audiences have different buying behaviors, women’s shoe and handbag retailer Nine West is making the connection.
According to an article by Internet Retailer, since gradually rolling out its in-store iPad app and mobile checkout system starting in September, stores equipped with the technology set sales records over Thanksgiving weekend while doubling online traffic. Today, the app now generates between 20-75% of daily transactions in the aforementioned stores.
Key Takeaway: Studies are showing that more smartphone owners want product information on their phones when shopping in store. They also don’t mind making large purchases through their phones but 44% of them wish they had a mobile wallet-style program to be able to pay for purchases. By combining their retail store and mobile apps, NineWest is giving the customer exactly what they want.
TopGear Builds on its Outstanding Reputation
TopGear’s iPad app has plenty of content for fans to explore
TopGear has one of the largest and most enthusiastic fan bases when it comes to motoring, and their iPad app only builds on that success. Subscribers to the print magazine get the app for free, while non-subscribers pay a nominal fee. In return, they get bold HD quality specifics on all the cars in full interactive beauty – including clickable “hotspots” with lots of extras. Nothing is thrown in just for show — every interactive piece adds another treasure trove of videos, insider information and more. It’s every motor-head’s dream come true.
Key Takeaway: Look for ways to use every technological advantage to the fullest. “Tap” into your customers’ enthusiasm and create a legion of what Guy Kawasaki calls “brand evangelists”.
Caché Pushes Out a New Spin on Push Notifications
Traditionally, push notifications were the mobile equivalent of opting in, and were as simple as getting notifications of new sales and discounts. Cache took this to a whole new level by integrating its push notifications based on how the user shops. In addition to pre-loading its 200+ locations into the app, Cache also customizes the type of notifications the customer gets. For example, if they browsed new arrivals on the app, they’ll get notifications related to those items. More importantly, the app is smart enough to limit its interactions with users, and will limit itself by frequency of notifications and even geo-targeting when users are close to a store in their area.
Key Takeaway: Always connect with users on a level they’re comfortable with. It’s good to track shopping habits and the user’s location, but actually doing something worthwhile with that information can take conversion rates to a whole new level.
Sons of Anarchy Makes its Own Rules
This app, which follows the hit TV show and chronicles the lives of a motorcycle gang, does more than just allow fans to watch episodes on their smartphone. It goes several steps further by letting them sync their phone to the times when the latest episodes are available. Like its technological marvel friend TopGear, the Sons of Anarchy app takes advantage of technology by inviting users to tilt their iPads to see a 360 degree views of the bikers’ clubhouse.
Beyond pure content, the app also lets users purchase gear they see on the show, letting them express a new layer of fandom that turns mobile shopping on its head.
Key Takeaway: Leverage the brand to get customers involved in more than just content – but also involved in shopping and sharing. Don’t be afraid to make your own rules when it comes to engaging with your audience.
Fandango Sets the Stage for App Domination
The Fandango app set a sales record in 2012
The online movie ticket retailer app was one of the first to let users buy tickets through its app. Now, with the iPhone 5’s release, Fandango takes mobile ticket purchases to a new level by integrating with Apple’s Passbook where the ticket can be scanned by the theater’s ticket-taker so that all the user has to do is find a seat and enjoy the show.
Beyond just buying tickets, Fandango covers every aspect of the shopper’s movie-going experience – from finding movies, to reading reviews, to buying tickets and sharing with friends. It also helps that Fandango is now integrated with key players in the industry, including AMC, Regency and Southern Theaters, as well as Yahoo, AOL and MSN’s respective movie portals.
According to InternetRetailer.com, while Fandango has not released exact sales figures, 2012 did set a record, with a 57% increase in annual ticket sales and a 34% growth in traffic to the site.
Key Takeaway: Being the first in a niche doesn’t mean you get to rest on your laurels. Always look for new ways to reach out, form partnerships and get more than just a foothold in the industry. Find ways to step out of your ordinary comfort zone and give users a complete start-to-finish experience so that your brand will always be at the front of their mind when making an informed decision.
What are some of your favorite apps to be released so far this year? Post your movers and shakers in the comments below!