Retailers see the future in the palm of their customers' hands.
And for some, smartphone applications for shopping, paying and finding discounts aren't the future — they are the present.
The Pita Pit, for example, offers a free app that allows customers to order and pay for their meal wherever they are. At a new Edmond location, opening soon at 33rd and Broadway, they can even grab their food in the drive-thru, giving new meaning to “fast food.”
Oklahoma franchisee Ray Reyes, who operates the Norman and Edmond locations, said the app speeds up the whole process of ordering food. Within a minute, a customer can place an order; repeat orders take just seconds.
“Sometimes, we're just in a hurry,” he said.
Scan and go
Oklahoma City-based grocery chain Homeland also is using mobile payments to speed up the customer experience. With the SwiftScan mobile app, shoppers can pay for their items at the register by scanning a QR code and selecting the payment option — eliminating the need for cash, checks and debit or credit cards at check out.
The program was launched in June, and 1,500 people have downloaded the app and used it to collectively purchase more than $55,000 in groceries, according to DoubleBeam, a technology company that designed the app.
SwiftScan is available at 20 Homeland locations, with plans to add 26 more locations by the end of the month.
“Homeland is one of the first grocery chains in the country to bring the convenience of mobile payments to their customers,” said Ted Tekippe, chief executive of DoubleBeam.
Successful retailers will take notice of the trend. A recent report showed 55 percent of all retail-related Internet time originated on smartphones and tablet devices, outpacing desktops at 45 percent.
“Since U.S. consumers now spend more than half of their time on retailers' websites using their smartphones and tablets, mobile can't be viewed simply as an ancillary device or action. It now epitomizes how consumers think and act when they interact with retailers,” said Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation. Shop.org on Tuesday released results of the study, which was conducted by comScore and The Partnering Group.
Nearly 60 percent of smartphone users visited a company's site or app while in the store, the survey found.
The top reason was to check price differences; others uses were to search for an online discount, take a picture of a product, locate a store and look up product availability.
Mobile commerce represents a small but growing percentage of e-commerce and as Pita Pit and Homeland demonstrate, is blurring the line between online and brick-and-mortar shopping.
“Retailers must adapt to this new landscape if they are to succeed,” said Lynee Alves, director of retail solutions at comScore.
At a glance
Customers shop online, pick up items at store