The last half-decade has brought tremendous changes to the retail industry. Many of America’s staple retailers have fallen to the so-called “retail apocalypse,” including Toys R Us, Sears and Payless Shoes. The list of “sick stores” that have already filed for bankruptcy or plan to file in the near future continues to increase. However, many stores such as Nordstrom and Target continue to thrive. The reason? Innovation in the form of retail mobile apps, on-trend marketing, and business flexibility has kept these stores competitive and relevant in a tech-centric consumer environment.
How Retail Mobile Apps Protect Companies from the Retail Apocalypse
When thinking about retailers that failed, it’s easy to spot the common factors: stagnant branding and marketing practices, little technological innovation, and massive costs from large inventories and physical retail space. Lots of the surviving businesses have retained their place in the retail industry using a retail mobile app and mobile marketing.
Target, for instance, came out with their original mobile app, Cartwheel, a few years ago. Back then, it was a way to score coupons and discounts on your physical, in-store purchases. Now, it’s transformed into what is now just the “Target” app. For many of Target’s dedicated fans, it’s a hub for online shopping, weekly ads and catalogs, in-store and online discounts, and more. The app incorporated Target Circle, too, the company’s rewards program. The more users shop inside the retail app, on Target.com, and in-store, the more they earn in cashback rewards. The rewards are even better for Target Red Card holders.
Nordstrom has a similar set-up; a retail mobile application with a built-in rewards program and online shopping capabilities. Retail apps make shopping with these retailers easy and instantly-accessible, 24-hours a day. This convenience is what modern-day customers expect thanks to trendsetting retailers like Amazon. This leads to greater loyalty and transactions no longer bound to brick-and-mortar operations.
On-Trend Branding and Marketing Fortify Retail Success
A willingness to adapt to the retail market’s interests is another critical component of “making it” in retail. Things change quickly, so top companies judiciously and effectively adjust their marketing strategies to suit their target audience(s). Whether that means quickly employing engaging, shareable ads on the latest social media app (think TikTok and Instagram) or reskinning a retail website so it fits the sleek design aesthetic people pine after, adaptable marketing strategies are key.
Business Flexibility in Retail: The Only Thing That’s Constant is Change
Another key component of future-proofing retail businesses is creating a business structure that’s highly flexible. For many retailers, that means reducing the amount of inventory owned by the business and limiting reliance on brick-and-mortar stores. Inventory and rent are costs that eat away at profitability, so the less of it businesses have, the better.
Companies that leverage low-inventory levels through third-party drop-shipping and encourage customers to shop online tend to have the highest chances of retaining the profitability that’s needed to keep a business afloat. The less inventory and physical space, the fewer employees required to maintain them, and the more money left for reinvesting and the shareholder’s wallets.
The Strategic Mix for Optimal Retail Performance
Retailers that understand why retail apps are important, keep up with modern marketing standards and reduce their reliance on expensive, physical assets can produce a customized business strategy that far outlasts the retail apocalypse. Leveraging expert development services can make it even easier to find success with this strategy.
7T has experience helping businesses identify missed opportunities and increase operational efficiency through software development – from back-office and inventory management solutions to retail mobile applications equipped with augmented reality.
Increasing your retail business’ accessibility through mobile apps fortifies sales and improves brand recognition. 7T has offices in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, and Austin, but we work with clients across the nation and beyond. Let the team at 7T tell you how. Reach out to us today!