Top 3 retail app trends that will drive sales in 2021

Top 3 retail app trends that will drive sales in 2021

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With the start of 2021 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to assess retail app trends. App downloads are important to retailers because consumers who spend a lot of time in-app are more likely to spend money. Furthermore, omnichannel shoppers in general spend more money than single-channel shoppers. Implementing the following best practices will help to keep up with consumer expectations, increase sales, and ensure you’re on the cutting edge of your industry.

Personalization Across Channels

Shopping across multiple channels is now common practice, with 85% of shoppers starting a purchase on one device and finishing on another. Consumers also now expect a personalized experience when shopping, with 80% more likely to buy from a retailer providing a personalized experience.

As a result, retailers must find a way to unify and personalize the customer experience across all channels. To help guide this strategy, retailers track activity across their web, mobile, and brick-and-mortar stores.

Cross-channel connection arms retailers with information about what individual shoppers are browsing, wish-listing, liking, buying, and reviewing online, whether via mobile or in-person. Retailers can then use this data to develop their strategy and create relevant messages, tailored offers, and curated content to keep shoppers engaged.

For instance, Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program saves information on hair and skin type as the basis of their tailored product recommendations. They change landing pages based on recent browsing history and send out “replenish” discounts for items shoppers purchased in the past.

Personalization can even lower acquisition costs up to 50%, lift revenues by 5–15%, and improve spending efficiency by 10–30%.

Personalizing push notifications is an extremely effective way to re-engage mobile users and increase conversions. The most successful notifications use images, animated GIFs, videos, emojis, quizzes, coupons, and fun copy to engage shoppers. Push campaigns can be based on past purchases, designed for hyperlocal sales, or centered on favorite categories. Triggers for notifications may include location, days since last login, recent purchase activity, or even shopping at a competitor’s location.

There are several ways to encourage shoppers to keep push notifications activated. You can develop a homescreen widget that appears every few weeks, reminding users of the benefits of enabling push, or you can utilize abandoned shopping cart notifications, which can increase app revenue by up to 15%.

Beacons are tools retailers can utilize in their effort to personalize the shopper experience. Beacons allow retailers to gather actionable consumer data and take personalization strategies offline and into the real world. The shopper preferences and behavioral insights collected from beacons can then be used to inspire events, products, or new services.

In-Store Mobile Experiences

In-store mobile experiences are increasingly becoming integrated into retail shopping apps to create strong and meaningful customer connections, which ultimately lead to sales.

What defines an in-store mobile experience varies, but ensuring your app addresses common pain points shoppers are faced with in-stores provides a solid foundation for building that dual-facing mobile/brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

Offline shoppers often turn to mobile in-stores to retrieve information that store displays and packaging may be lacking. Given this, successful shopping apps typically include: in-depth product information, reviews, pairing suggestions, and how-to videos. Aiding consumer research increases the likelihood of making the sale.

Shoppers also turn to mobile when they can’t find what they need on the shelves. Walmart’s mobile app comes with a barcode scanner for price and inventory checks. It can also be used to save items to order online later. Mobile coupons can help prevent showrooming—which is the practice of browsing items in-store, only to buy online or with a competitor.

Of course, there are many FUN ways to engage mobile in-store shoppers using gamification strategies, which create a more immersive shopping experience. Shopkick is a popular mobile shopping rewards app that specializes in enhancing the shopping experience through unique engagement tactics. One such way is through in-store “treasure hunts” that drive consumers through the purchase funnel. This gamification strategy influences purchase behavior in three main steps: product awareness, at-shelf engagement, and rewards.

Product Awareness Binoculars Icon

Product Awareness

To drive consideration and trial, Shopkick sends users on an in-store treasure hunt for promoted products to find when they enter the store.

This helps cut through the clutter of the immense competition partnering brands and retailers are facing in-store, and also encourages shoppers to physically engage with the product now that it’s directly in front of them.

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At-Shelf Engagement

Once Shopkickers find each promotional item, they scan its barcode to earn “kicks” (reward points).

Bonus kicks are received if they purchase the product and upload their receipt.

Scanning items’ barcodes provides shoppers with additional product information, trigger informative videos, and more.

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Once they’ve accumulated enough kicks, Shopkickers can redeem them for gift cards of their choosing.

Often, Shopkickers choose the retailer where they earned their kicks from as their preferred gift card, providing an incremental revenue stream for retail partners.

Regardless of where Shopkickers choose to redeem their kicks, you will have created a memorable experience that will foster a positive customer relationship and create long-term loyalty.

To see this concept in-action, you can look to Kraft’s campaign with Shopkick. Kraft wanted to drive trial, consideration, and sales across multiple brands during the holiday baking season. We first built pre-shop consideration by sharing in-app recipe content that used three of the main products Kraft wanted to promote. Once in-store, Shopkickers were sent to find these products in-aisle and were encouraged to physically engage with the products via barcode scans in exchange for kicks. Extra kicks were offered if all three products were bought, increasing the likelihood of purchase. Over 9 million Shopkickers physically engaged with the products at-shelf, with 27% converting to purchase for a 7.6x return on investment (ROI).

Advanced mCommerce Capabilities

Most apps now allow users to shop directly through them. Ideally, a mobile app should automatically sync with the user’s digital website login credentials, that way activity on one channel can easily and quickly be picked up on another.

Modern retail apps are also offering more convenient ways for consumers to pay for their items, enabling payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Venmo, as well as the ability to store a credit card. This flexibility can reduce cart abandonment by 8%.

To create the best mobile app experience possible, it’s important for retailers to perform incremental A/B testing in order to optimize their current strategy. Retailers will gather actionable insights, allowing them to create more helpful and engaging visual prompts to increase the number of completed transactions. For instance, many retailers use progress bars and guest checkout options to ease impatience.

Ensure You’re Incorporating 2021 Retail App Trends With the Help of Shopkick

Shopkick incorporates the latest and greatest in retail app trends, successfully boosting brand awareness, shopper engagement, and revenue. Mobile shoppers can interact with the Shopkick app from home, on-the-go, or in-store, enabling partnering retailers and brands to engage with shoppers wherever they are. Consumers can make purchases with their favorite retailers online through the Shopkick app, or at their brick-and-mortar store, increasing the chances of capturing a sale.

By focusing on rewards instead of discounts, there’s no profit margin dilution. And while no purchase is necessary to earn rewards, our strategic method of rewarding shoppers for their engagement builds brand affinity and loyalty, often leading many Shopkickers to purchase (with the added bonus of extra kicks awarded!).

Want to start the new year off on the right foot? Ensure you’re incorporating the latest retail app trends through a lucrative partnership with Shopkick. Our partners have found great success, and we’re sure you can too! Learn more about becoming a Shopkick partner or contact us directly.



Shopkick is the fun and easy way to earn free gift cards for the shopping you already do. Download the app now!

Top 3 retail app trends that will drive sales in 2021



Shopkick is the fun and easy way to earn free gift cards for the shopping you already do. Download the app now!

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