Shoppers walking into a clothing store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood should not be surprised if a smartphone app, rather than a salesperson, greets them at the door.
Some retailers in the United States are starting to communicate with shoppers via a smartphone app called Swirl that uses in-store sensors to track their location in the shop to send them personalised offers and recommendations.
It’s just one of the ways that brick-and-mortar shops are using apps to appeal to younger, more tech-savvy consumers. “Retailers want to give consumers something that’s value-added and does what an expert salesperson might do — for example, tell them ‘Here’s some great new products,’ or ‘Here’s a special offer because we know you’ve been looking at handbags,’” said Hilmi Ozguc, CEO, Swirl Networks.
Retailers in New York City and Boston are among the first to adopt this technology.
Although Swirl’s use of sensors to detect shoppers is among the first of its kind, several other apps provide deals or tips when entering a shop.
Shopkick, available in the US for iPhone and Android, tells consumers about offers and points when they walk into select stores, and allows them to redeem points for rewards such as gift cards.
Several other apps, including Clutch, released for Android last week and also available for iPhone, and a new app called Sudo, also on both platforms, help consumers find deals nearby.
With a new iPhone app called Shopcaster, users can browse goods available in a particular neighborhood before heading out shopping, or order items directly via app.