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Las Vegas -- With 96 percent of the U.S. population using mobile phones and the veritable explosion in mobile applications, it makes perfect business sense why more brands are launching their own apps. And c-store retailers should jump on the bandwagon, according to Speaker Tim Greenfield, president of Gold Mobile, during the Tuesday NACStech session, "Is There An App For That?"
According to Greenfield, mobile technology can provide retailers with a host of benefits, including helping them increase in-store transactions and drive loyalty; pull customers from pump into the retail store; promote loyalty and repeat business and create new revenue opportunities. In light of this, apps are yet another tool retailers can leverage to get in front of more customers and build a more powerful brand presence, he said.
"The mobile phone is always with the customer, so those brands that figure out how to get in are going to be able to drive everything they want to drive," said Greenfield. "The key is figuring out how to get into that device…whether it be through email programs, loyalty, web and digital. The beauty of mobile is that you get access to data that grows over time, you're capturing info and you're building valuable data that helps you make better (marketing) decisions in the moment."
Since the most downloaded apps are games and social media, retailers who want to succeed in this space need to make their apps relevant, and that means marrying them with social media. Doing this makes the app more relationship and entertainment-based and thus more appealing to consumers, he said.
Next, Greenfield explored the best practices of several brands achieving great success with mobile apps, including Best Buy, Starbucks and QVC.
Besides helping to drive customer behavior and brand loyalty, mobile apps can be a more cost-effective and user-friendly technology to implement, since there's no hardware to install and the investment can be small, depending on what the retailer wants to do, added Greenfield.
"The challenge is what you want to do with a mobile application and how it will serve your purposes," he said.