Presented by Phunware

A recent article in Marketing Land cited two different studies (from InMarket and Euclid) to establish two pertinent facts: More than half of consumers use smartphones as part of their in-store shopping experience, but few of them are using the retailer’s own apps. While each study reported varying percentages of smartphone and app usage, the trend was consistent.

If you’re a retailer, your first question has got to be: Why aren’t consumers using our apps?

The main reason is that too many retail apps offer customers a terrible mobile experience and not enough value to move them off of Amazon. What’s more, many retail apps do not offer the retailer a comprehensive, platform-based solution — they’re just storefronts without the robust tools and back-end integrations to make the most of the mobile opportunity.

Most retail mobile strategies are leaky boats.

Instead, a comprehensive mobile platform should offer:

  • A fully branded user experience that is dynamic, engaging, and visually exciting
  • Location awareness so you can gather contextual user data, as well as provide specific “in-store mode” experiences
  • The ability to transition between location technologies like GPS, Wi-Fi, and beacons to engage users indoor and out
  • Marketing automation (push notifications and SMS) informed by rich user and contextual data
  • Analytics to measure online-to-offline conversion, allowing you to test, optimize, and increase the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns
  • Deep contextual insights about your app users, your brick-and-mortar stores, and your competitors — such as foot traffic trends, dwell time, shopper preferences, behaviors, etc.
  • Robust and efficient audience-building capabilities, allowing you to grow your app-install base with high-value potential users
  • Big data harnessed across a broad app portfolio for insights outside of your user base
  • Seamless integration with your inventory management system and CRM, as well as any mobile commerce or ecommerce platforms
  • Additional features and functionality to drive app installs and monetization

If your mobile app lacks any of the above, you’re not going to get very far. Your app is leaking users, data, engagement, and sales opportunities all the time. The good news is, there are things you can do right now to plug those leaks or even build a better boat, and get your mobile journey on the right course for 2017.

Plug #1: Improve conversions with more relevant data

The best way to drive conversions and yield in your offers — whether they’re digital, physical, in-store, or in-app — is to improve targeting and segmentation. To do that, you need a better understanding of who your audience is and what those people care about. And that takes data.

Across the Phunware app portfolio, we have nearly 700 million monthly active users and a petabyte (that’s a million GB!) of data. Even an app with 30 million downloads has only 5 percent of Phunware’s scale across multiple apps, events, and physical locations.

Wherever you are on your mobile journey, you can license Phunware Data to immediately gain richer insights about more consumers. The more you know, the more targeted offers you can make, and the more conversions you can expect. Right away.

> Learn more in our eBook, Mobile Data: The Missing Link in Your User Acquisition and Engagement Strategies

Plug #2: Transform engagement with location-based marketing automation, location and wayfinding

Stop sending essentially meaningless emails, texts, and notifications to your customers and instead engage them when and how it matters.

  • Add Phunware’s Marketing Automation SDK to your existing app portfolio, and in as little as one week, you can be reaching app users with 1:1 indoor / outdoor engagement that’s hyper-personalized, contextually relevant, and 100 percent attributable. Our Marketing Automation module enables next-generation tactics such as geo-conquesting, geo-fencing, and much more. Send an exclusive discount offer to your customers the minute they approach a competitor’s store. Target users in a specific geographic area with savings on locally overstocked items. Greet customers by name the moment they enter any of your brick-and-mortar stores and guide them directly to the types of products they’re most interested in.
  • Add Phunware’s Location Services (Mapping, Navigation and Wayfinding) SDK to your existing app to give it an extra layer of utility and value, particularly if you have a more complex physical venue.

If you decide to add any location components to your app, it’s critical to select a technology partner that can handle inputs from multiple location technology types (GPS, Wi-Fi, physical and virtual beacons, etc.) to seamlessly engage and target users. If the technology you use on the back end feels clunky to users on the front end, they simply aren’t going to use it.

> Learn more about geo-fencing and other tactics in our eBook, Location Technology 101.

Plug #3: Budget for buoyancy

Sometimes, plugging leaks won’t keep you above water. If your mobile presence has too many holes to count, you may need to rethink your mobile strategy and budget. If you can do that, you’ll be putting yourself far ahead of competitors who are lagging in mobile investment — and that’s a lot of brands.

Nearly half (47 percent) of marketers say mobile is either “nice to have” or a subset of their digital strategy that’s “not really part of the mix yet.” Only 20 percent say mobile ads and apps are an investment priority for them in 2017, and 44 percent are still in the “Shrink and Squeeze” phase of mobile maturity, where they attempt to squeeze experiences designed for PC onto smartphone screens. To top it all off, only 20 percent of marketers agree with the statement, “We have the budget we need to support our mobile initiatives.”

This means that with proper planning and investment, you have a real opportunity to leapfrog your competitors with mobile engagement and marketing. This isn’t about staying afloat — it’s about sailing past the competition — and the time to act is now.


Phunware helps brands plan and execute their marketing strategies with licensable mobile modules, pre-built mobile solutions and top-of-the-line custom application portfolios. Visit Phunware to learn more about rising with the mobile tide.

Alan Knitowski is chairman, CEO, and cofounder at Phunware.

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