Omni-channel retailing has been gaining momentum with retailers for the past few years. It focuses on creating a seamless experience for consumers across all channels from web and mobile, to brick-and-mortar stores. For mobile, this means that most apps will offer in-app commerce. This is only one piece of the pie. There are plenty of ways to build a great app to build brand loyalty and add value for your consumers without commerce.
One of the best examples of an engaging app without commerce is Shoe Carnival's recent release. The app provides consumers with engagement features geared at maximizing savings. Members of Shoe Carnival’s rewards club - Shoe Perks - can easily access their account and see points that are redeemable. However, the app itself doesn’t just cater to its loyalty members. Using location-based technology, the app serves up mobile-only coupons, and shows events that are within 50 miles of you. It also offers “Fun & Games” like scratch and win contests and a chance to spin the virtual wheel of savings. This is a true digital iteration of what is offered in their brick-and-mortar locations; users inside Shoe Carnival can spin a physical wheel of savings.
Another example of an app that adds value without commerce is Lunds & Byerly’s. Lunds enhances the in-store shopping experience by giving consumers the opportunity to plan their trips around deals in store. One way they do this is by letting consumers set price alerts on items. If it reaches a certain level (like buy one get one, or a great deal), consumers will receive a push notification to let them know. They also give consumers the ability to see similar offers to any huge deals currently on offer. By giving consumers relevant information, the app complements their in-store experience.
In-app commerce is only part of the picture. Taking into consideration how your app fits into the whole consumer experience - in-store and online - can lead to a great product, even if commerce isn’t natively involved.