Daily Insights

Don’t Cater to the Consumer

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Jul 10, 2019

In today’s day and age, it seems like consumers have all the fun. Digital sneaker drops? All for the buyer. Easier delivery options? Made for the online shopper. Mobile apps? Catered to the consumer. Sam’s Club is switching up the game with a new app, Ask Sam, made especially for its associates. The app allows associates to ask questions about work schedules along with item locations and availability. But the app may do more than help an associate in need. Here’s how.

While having an app is not required for a brand’s score, Challenged and Feeble brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Grocery that do have apps offer few features and tend to earn low ratings from customers, making the apps net losses for the brands. Additionally, third-party apps like Instacart have stolen the attention of many consumers, making the struggle to build a desirable app all the more difficult. That said, it makes sense that Sam’s Club might decide to try something a little different when it comes to the mobile app route.

Because Ask Sam allows associates to get more information without having to walk away from a customer to ask someone else, or without leading that customer to another department only to discover an item is out of stock, it might help speed up in-store shopping. This could also help build loyalty and motivate customers to come back to shop in stores, something brick-and-mortar establishments have been experiencing difficulty with in the retailpocalypse. The app may also ease some of the struggles of tracking and maintaining employee schedules, a major pain point for associates across retail.

Thought the app is new for Sam’s Club, the store has a history of masterful mobile strategies. It boasts an entirely mobile-optimized email strategy that overachieves in open rate. Additionally, the brand’s main app ffers advanced in-store technologies such as product reorderings and Scan & Go technology, garnering a significant number of reviews. Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go earns higher iOS app ratings than the retailer’s main app, a sign of its efficacy among wholesale shoppers and helping the brand maintain its place in the Gifted category.

While grocery e-commerce adoption remains low, brands should consider adding twists to traditional way to add supplementary mobile tools for in-store customers. These strategies prove that brands don’t always have to cater directly to the consumer to boost loyalty.