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Office Depot triggers automatic in-store check-ins via app update

Office Depot is making a hard push into the mobile in-store experience that is centered around the company’s application serving up store-specific coupons tied to a check-in.

The office supply retailer has updated its iPhone and Android app with a new feature that uses geo-location to detect when a consumer is within a geo-fenced area around a store to serve up mobile coupons. The app update also links directly with an Office Depot account, which likely helps the retailer track cross-channel shoppers.

“The more you visit, the more you save,” said Luke Justin, senior director of future store/omnichannel customer experience at Office Depot, Boca Raton, FL.

“It’s the first time we’re featuring global offers on our app,” she said. “We want our mobile app customers to feel special and really give them a reason to engage with us.”

Location-based offers?
When consumers open the Office Depot app, they are prompted to turn on in-store mode, which transforms the user experience.

At the top of the page is a section that promotes an exclusive in-store coupon. To redeem the coupon, consumers must create an account with Office Depot.

Once consumers have created an account, the app will automatically check-in users in the future that have the app open while in a store. These opted-in users will receive exclusive coupons that can only be redeemed in-store.

As retailers look to better own the mobile in-store experience, check-ins are one tactic that retailers such as Best Buy are deploying.

These in-store check-ins are typically integrated into loyalty programs or mobile-only offers as an incentive for consumers to download and use a branded retail app.

For example, Best Buy rolled out in-store check-ins with its app earlier this year as part of a new loyalty program (see story).

Office Depot is taking its own twist on this by integrating Passbook into the retailer’s iPhone app that are location-triggered.

For example, the Office Depot Times Square location in New York is currently offering $5 off of a purchase. IPhone app users can add the pass to the built-in Passbook app, which then pops up anytime that the consumer is within a set area of the store.

In addition to the new location-based mobile coupons, Office Depot also leverages the in-store mode with a scanning feature that lets consumers scan UPC and QR codes in-store.

There is also a weekly ad that shows consumers what is on sale that week. Office Depot is already pushing out its Black Friday circular with sales that begin on Thanksgiving Day through this feature.

Office Depot’s app has also been updated so that consumers can receive notifications when an order has shipped.

In-store best friend?
Office Depot has made several updates to its mobile app this year that focus around the in-store experience.

In July, the retailer updated its mobile app with augmented reality features as part of a back-to-school campaign with musical group One Direction. The app was also revamped to integrate with a new loyalty program (see story).

Additionally, the office supply retailer rolled out mobile point-of-sale this fall to help cut in-store queues (see story).

“In-store mode allows us to provide our mobile app customers with a unique experience in-store,” Ms. Justin said.

“They are able to scan any shelf-edge bar code in-store to read additional product info, customer reviews or price check,” she said.

“Now they will also be rewarded just for visiting. We’re hoping this will encourage mobile shoppers to seamlessly transition between channels and feel confident they will have the same or better experience.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York