By Steve Cunningham, Sales Director, Retail US, Scandit
Amongst the many things keeping stressed retailers up at night nowadays, the topics of customer engagement and loyalty are two heavily recurring themes. Retailers are exploring every potential avenue for improvements from innovative experiences using augmented reality (AR) to more meaningful in store merchandising. But some of the biggest opportunities lie in making shopping as frictionless as possible, creating better digital engagement through retail apps and mCommerce. One effective option to help drive better customer engagement is through mobile barcode scanning.
Retailers have added barcode scanning into mobile apps to enable the ubiquitous devices in your customers’ hand to do things like look up and display product information and enhance mobile shopping. Scanning helps underpin an omnichannel strategy, to combine the in store and online experiences, and drive lifetime value by making people more likely to choose you again in the future.
App fatigue is driving a mobile app vs mobile web dilemma
Recently, rising levels of ‘app fatigue’ amongst consumers are making digital engagement more challenging. According to a recent study, only a third of people (35%) are downloading new apps. People are becoming more picky about what apps they’ll download or they’ll often delete apps within two weeks of downloading them. This is forcing retailers to investigate their options to make sure that they are reaching the widest possible audience.
Almost every retail company nowadays has a website, typically with mobile optimized pages to ensure accessibility from any device. Many have gone a step further, developing a native app designed specifically to deliver the best experience on a mobile device.
Retail app use has risen by more than 50% since 2016 and no wonder with these slicker, more personalized experiences potentially delivering 3x higher conversation than mobile sites. Developing a native app allows businesses to enhance mobile shopping and offers advanced levels of interaction through things like push notifications with customized offers or offering exciting features including barcode scanning and AR overlays which display real-time product information, reviews or availability on customer smartphones to create a “wow effect” that sticks in people’s minds.
The very success of apps has created a crisis with customers citing app fatigue and becoming less willing to download dedicated apps for each and every store or brand they interact with. Whether it’s about draining battery life, seeing non-stop notifications, data privacy concerns or simply deleting apps clogging up their screens which they rarely use or don’t see the value in, people are becoming increasingly selective. And if they won’t download your app, you can’t offer them differentiated features like barcode scanning, which can lead to things like slower checkout processes and lead to challenges like cart abandonment.
Supporting both mobile apps and websites requires very different development resources, not to mention the time and energy, meaning many retailers have poured more focus into one or the other. It can also be confusing or frustrating for the customer, switching between different channels and receiving different experiences.
Here we look at how retailers can overcome these challenges to successfully engage customers with barcode scanning, without necessarily having to develop a mobile app.
Having trouble getting people to download your app? Scan from your website instead
With Scandit SDK for the Web, it’s possible to easily and seamlessly deploy enterprise-grade barcode scanning into your website or web apps, integrating it by adding a few simple lines of code to your site. Your customers simply have to browse to your website, using any web or mobile browser, and they’ll be able to scan barcodes in the same way as they would with a native app. It’s also great for boosting organic traffic
For activities or interactions that are more infrequent, for example populating a gift list for a holiday or a wedding registry, customers can instantly access barcode scanning with no downloads required. It’s also handy for reordering or registering products in B2B or B2C environments, simply by scanning the barcodes and completing the task in seconds, not minutes. All information is input with guaranteed accuracy, it’s very useful when product names or codes are long and complex, if your labels are damaged or hard to read, or when you are ordering multiple items. You can read more about the benefits of web-based scanning in B2B environments in our blog post.
So if you don’t have a native app or are struggling with low adoption rates, consider website scanning. You can add an additional avenue of engagement with your customers or simply create a more homogenous experience by synchronising the scanning feature of your mobile app and mobile site – it’s now easy to do so. Web apps are quick to produce and integrate, as the main effort has already been completed on the website itself. Native apps can require a significant investment in resources (mainly time and money) to be developed and maintained. They also need to be optimized cross-platform in order to target as many users as possible, and they often need to be manually updated by the users themselves every now and then – unlike web apps which can be accessed by anyone through a search engine or browsing your site.
Help optimise mCommerce and reduce cart abandonment with web-based scanning
While native apps undoubtedly provide a fast, convenient and personalized experience, most eCommerce stores also deliver a familiar, user friendly experience that you’ve heavily invested in already. And for eCommerce managers looking to drive up online channel share, continually enhance the user experience and incentivize customers to complete the purchasing process via the website, barcode scanning is a useful tool which can capitalize on this effort.
Cart abandonment is becoming a great threat/pain point. On average cart abandonment has reached up to 78% and this is even higher at over 85% on mobile devices with smaller screens. Many customers will add items into a shopping cart when browsing your site, but don’t actually make a purchase in the end. Various factors could be to blame: the length and effort required to complete check-out process, problems with the website like slow load times or unintuitive CX, or simply a postponed buying decision. But by adding barcode scanning into your website channel, you can reduce cart abandonment by shortening the length of purchasing process. You can scan barcodes quickly, rather than looking for items one by one, speeding things up and ensuring a better CX. It also gives consumers a single tool for automatically selecting virtually any item anywhere for purchase or review.
Last but not least, the quality of barcode scanning is essential: any errors during the scanning phase could have retrieved the wrong item (a false positive) or no item at all (no scan), leaving the customer frustrated with your brand or even abandoning their purchase. Scandit delivers enterprise-class barcode scanning into any smartphone or desktop browser, it works with any barcode type, from any angle, at a distance and when light is bad or the barcode is damaged.
Mobile apps vs web apps vs using both – you decide
The key is to align your strategy with your customers and how they interact with you Find the sweet spot between customer preference, adoption and choice, with the cost, integration and maintenance challenges presented to you in managing a native, web or a combined environment.
Scandit supports retailers, no matter which digital strategy they decide to implement. By removing the hassle of figuring out how to blend digital with physical with barcode scanning, retailers can then focus on how to best create engaging customer experiences and leave a “wow-effect” with their audience.
Whether you choose to develop native apps, web apps, or both, Scandit will back you up with Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK or with Barcode Scanner SDK for the Web, effortlessly integrated into any environment. Our enterprise-grade mobile computer vision technology works with any camera-enabled smart device, is designed for large-scale implementations and comes with specialist technical support.
For specific information on how Scandit mobile computer vision software can help you transform your enterprise with barcode scanning from any browser, be sure to contact us.