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5 Reasons Your Retail Store Needs a Mobile App Whether you have a beach town boutique, a shoe shop in the city or a sports store in the 'burbs, you want and need your customers to love your brand.

By Katie Santos

This story originally appeared on Bizness Apps

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Whether you have a beach town boutique, a shoe shop in the city or a sports store in the "burbs, you want and need your customers to love your brand. Even with top-notch customer service and high product demand, something may be missing. Mobile apps have long been on the rise and they're catching the eye of your loyal customers. They want access to your retail store at their fingertips, whenever and wherever they please.

So what is a simple mobile app really going to do for your business? Check out these 5 reasons why mobile is a game-changer for the retail industry.

1. "Everyone's doing it."

As cliche as this may sound, your competitors and their competitors are all producing apps for their shops. It's no longer just larger companies like Macy's and Nordstrom, but small- to medium-sized businesses as well. Consumers are more likely to shop at retail stores that have mobile access than those who do not, simply because going in store and looking for products is one-dimensional -- your customers want more. Mobile is now mandatory for small business growth. If you want to keep up with the race, it's worth it to join the fad.

2. It's fun.

A mobile app allows consumers to be more interactive with your brand. Cosmetic giant Sephora allows app users to test out products without putting any real makeup on using the "Beauty Board Feature." Urban Outfitters created their app "Urban On," which lets you earn rewards while you shop. There's free Wi-Fi in every store and a unique QR code for every Urban On user, which is scanned on purchase. Just for signing up with the app, consumers receive a 10% off coupon, and scanning their code at checkout automatically enters them into a contest to win a $500 gift card. This provides a fun, enjoyable experience at your store that gives your brand a personality.

3. There are many opportunities for loyalty.

Coupons are great tools that provide incentive for customers to buy something, and an app makes the hassle of clipping out a small piece of paper from the Sunday ads a thing of the past. By simply offering 20% off exclusively through the app, you reward your most loyal customers who've taken the time to download your app; in turn, they feel the benefit of exclusivity. First access to sales is another way both your business and your customers feel the bond of loyalty. Customers will be thinking, "I must be a valuable shopper if they're sharing sales with me first." Walmart has skyrocketed in sales from the launch of their mobile app, known as the Savings Catcher, which offers price-matching and discounts. Not only will customers be confident that they have received the best deal, you still keep them coming back with the incentive of more earnings.

4. It's extremely convenient.

Customizable search engines allow users to find exactly what they're looking for anywhere, anytime. For those who need to go in and out of the store quickly, Home Depot provides the incredibly convenient "in store" function. The app tells you exactly what products are in stock and where items are displayed in each aisle to make shopping a breeze. Target gives customers the option to ship an item or pick it up in a nearby store. Offering a merchandise feature through your app that suits your customer's lifestyle and needs can transform their purchase experience and boost your sales considerably.

Katie Santos

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