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If there is one reason retailers must move forward with a mobile app strategy it’s this: Consumers not paying in cash spend an average of 13 percent more when it’s a mobile payment experience.

That statistic, as well as the opportunity to boost a loyalty program, collect valuable consumer data and improve the purchase interaction are all key reasons to develop an interactive mobile experience, according to Tod Caflisch, director of IT for the Detroit Red Wings. Today’s small device screen, whether a smartphone or a tablet, is now the world’s most popular display for consumers, customers and clients and requires big attention from retailers, restaurants, health care and services providers.

“The goal is to enhance the patron experience, make it as positive as possible,” said Caflisch, during a session on the state of mobile at the recent ICX Summit in Dallas. The enhancement possibilities range from the parking lot experience to the game experience. “We’re looking to simplify, automate process, from the driveway to the seat,” he explained.

Mobile app development, strategy and implementation is also the focus of the upcoming CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit being held this month in Chicago. Speakers include Baron Concors, global chief digital officer for Pizza Hut, who will share insights about the chain’s digital strategy. FastCasual interviewed Concors to get some inside info on what he’ll discuss during his session, “The State of Mobile: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?

Also speaking will be Daniel Eckert, senior VP, Walmart U.S.; Shashank Saxena, senior director for strategy development and integration at Kroger; Tim Doherty, Dunkin’ Donuts’ mobile product manager and Alysia Kempa, director of mobile marketing for Sears Holdings. Kempa shared her insights on mobile app strategy in a Retail Customer Experience interview last week.

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CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit
August 15-17 | Chicago
Learn how leading consumer brands are leveraging cutting-edge mobile technologies to improve customer engagement, enhance customer loyalty and increase sales. Learn more.

During his ICX talk, Caflisch noted the Detroit Red Wings mobile app development effort will play into providing customers information, event news, food and drink order capability, and even “experiential purchases,” which may range from purchasing Zamboni rides to attending a meet-and-greet event with players. It also will provide the organization a tremendous opportunity to gather data on customer needs and activity, he said. For example, consumers will be able to order team items, such as custom shirts, and have them delivered to their seats during the event.

A mobile app will also help with providing event attendees with insight on the shortest concession lines as well as bathroom lines. Down the road the plan is to provide gamification aspects, such as contests, to boost patron interaction.

Caflisch, as well as Scott Parker, assistant VP of retail operations for Ochsner Health System and Tom Wolf, VP of business development for BT Global Services, shared lessons learned in developing a mobile experience during the ICX discussion which was moderated by Raj Maini, worldwide director of marketing, visual retail, Intel.

One best practice the panel experts cited was using a mobile app to solve a pain point, and to develop it with ease of use in mind.

“Success is all about utilization,” said Parker.

The focus is to connect the customer, the manufacturer and the retailer and enable a single point of contact, noted Wolf.

“It’s about enhancing the customer and the employee experience in the store,” he said.

For more insight on the upcoming CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit taking place Aug. 15-17 in Chicago, click here.

Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

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