Using your flyer or advertisements is a great way to add value to consumers and to build loyalty, as well as sales. It is a non-traditional strategy and one we have recommended. Previously, we reviewed Target’s planned launch of an omni-channel strategy this fall. Included in that strategy is their new mobile shopping app “In A Snap”, so Retail Category Consultants decided to give it a test run.
For a merchant who was plagued by data breaches and their fallout in 2013, a mobile app that requires consumers to provide sensitive data in the mobile environment is an interesting strategy. Since Target is working to gain back consumer trust, we expected that taking this route meant that the app would be exceptional.
At Retail Category Consultants, we are strong believers in using omni-channel retailing to remain competitive and broaden marketing awareness, but like all new omni-channel strategies, the devil is in the details and execution is important. Unfortunately, in their rush to launch their new app, Target seems to have missed many details and their execution is lacklustre.
If you are considering launching an app as part of your omni-channel strategy, make sure your execution is impeccable in these areas:
1. Efficient Mobile App Programming
With thousands of mobile apps available, there is an expectation of excellence in the basic programming behind the app. First impressions are important. Make sure that your app has been built to perform lightning fast. In A Snap was so slow to launch on the mobile device that we wondered if there was something wrong.
As we moved through the pages within the app and tried the product recognition functionality, the performance didn’t improve. This breaks down the seamless customer experience you want and creates pain points. You never want to turn off your potential customers because your app was built quickly and not efficiently.
2. Delivering Customer Convenience
Customers want to get back time in their busy days, so make sure your app is designed to do this. It’s important to think about how the consumer will experience the features of your app. At a basic level, understand where inventory is available and which delivery methods will best help you get product to consumers. But consider this: will customers appreciate having to drive to several stores to pick-up their products? Is it a win to have some items delivered and others available for pick-up in-store?
Like the Gap’s new Click and Collect program, In A Snap missed this point. “Snapping” an advertisement linked us to a webpage with the items from the advertisement on it. However, some were only available in store, others both online and in-store. Getting all the items in one place or through one delivery method was impossible, and this is not convenient for the customer.
In addition, Target Canada is a merchant who has had trouble getting product to their store shelves. It seems unlikely that they will be able to deliver product ordered through In A Snap, which would require being able to deliver dependably to consumer’s homes (a factor significantly larger and more random than their stores) or to their store shelves and then picked and set aside for in-store pick-up. In A Snap didn’t provide any comfort that Target had the logistics to execute on these demands.
3. Value Add
There are thousands of mobile apps available. If you want to build loyalty, connect with your customers, and turn them into brand advocates, give them a reason to put your app on the first page of their mobile device. For example, look at the industry leading apps from CVS and Walgreens. They make shopping easier – both in-store and online – and provide value added services that are worth using even when not in-store. If, like In A Snap, your app is designed only to sell customers more product, why would they put it on their device?
A simple value add would answer your customer’s product questions or provide greater transparency by displaying ratings or product reviews. In fact, a simple value add that Target missed was connectivity to their Cartwheel app. There is so much information available in today’s wired world that you can easily compile answers to the most common questions on a product by product basis. It’s a simple value add that will help to move your app to their front screen and increase their use of it.
While Target has made omnichannel a priority, we feel that they have fallen short on execution with In A Snap and have taken a piecemeal approach, rather than an integrated approach, to omnichannel.