Physical stores are taking on digital (and winning)

It’s no secret that physical stores are struggling to compete with online shopping. The affordability and convenience of shopping online has made it harder and harder for bricks-and-mortar retailers to lure customers into their stores. However, in an interesting turn of events, retailers are increasingly using mobile to improve their business and regain the upper hand. Take Wal-Mart for example. This supermarket giant has an app that helps guide customers (via GPS) directly to their desired products and then lets them skip the checkout line by scanning and paying for items with their smartphones. These efforts have led to astounding results with customers making twice the amount of shopping trips per month and spending 40% more than non-app users.

McDonald's Netherlands has an app that helps customers locate the nearest stores and, most importantly, allows customers to receive special vouchers tailored to their personal taste, the time of day, the weather conditions, and their current location. Just like Wal-Mart, the results have been remarkable. The app not only hit number one in the app store and Google play, but within just 3 weeks of launching over 450,000 customers had redeemed one or more mobile coupons and had spent almost 50% more than non-app users.

These impressive findings suggest that mobile could be the answer to the struggles the digital age has thrust upon bricks-and-mortar retailers. What’s more, with the existence of comprehensive mobile marketing platforms that are easy to set up and use, retailers don’t need to be a Wal-Mart or McDonalds to get customers back into stores.

While the battle between physical and online stores will no doubt continue, the cards seem to be turning. Bricks-and-mortar retailers now have the ability to use mobile to make physical shopping more enjoyable, convenient and personal than ever before. It is yet to be seen however, which retailers make the most of this new ‘jack of spades’.