In today’s digital age, the rise of retail apps has revolutionized the shopping experience, transforming the way we browse, purchase, and interact with products and services. Retail apps, developed by expert retail app development companies, offer a convenient and personalized way for consumers to shop directly from their smartphones or tablets, providing a host of benefits to both retailers and customers. From seamless transactions to personalized recommendations, these apps have become a vital tool for retailers looking to enhance customer engagement and loyalty. In this blog, we will delve into the world of retail apps, exploring their features, advantages, and how they have reshaped the retail landscape.
What is a Retail App?
A retail app is simply an application that enables retailers and consumers to transact their business online. The main goal of the application is to help shop owners or retailers manage all the business processes with a click. It can help you keep track of customers buying patterns, and transactions, manage marketing & campaigns, manage staff, and more.
Why Do People Like Apps Better than Mobile Websites?
With the rise of mobile apps, mobile websites aren’t thought about as much as they used to be. The 2016 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus shows that more people use mobile apps than Websites. Because the most popular way to browse on mobile is through mobile apps is the best way.
But why does this happen? Why do more people want to use apps than mobile websites?
- Dedicated Apps: Apps are specific and make it easier for users to do what they need to do than if they did it on a mobile web browser or even on a desktop.
- Apps Load Fast: Users don’t have to open a web browser, type in a URL, and wait for the website to load. It’s faster to click the app icon.
- Mobile-Friendly: Some mobile websites are incompatible with mobile browsers and difficult to use. Apps make things so much easier.
- Accessible Offline: Apps can work offline too. Even if some resources (including the software) take up storage, it’s much more convenient than needing to connect to the Internet for everything.
- Apps use Features: Apps easily use device functionalities. Includes camera, GPS, and Bluetooth. With mobile apps, checkout and payments are automatic. Scan your credit card with your phone’s camera to avoid keying in the numbers. Wearable e-commerce apps will also make mobile websites obsolete.
Also Read: Retail App Development Cost (2023)
Why Go Mobile?
Over the past few years, mobile has taken over the world. Consumer habits have changed, and smartphones and mobile apps have become an integral part of everyday life. As consumers’ habits changed, businesses also had to adapt, so many small and big retail companies have joined (and are still joining) this movement.
To show you the importance of going mobile, we have collected ten impressive statistics about smartphone usage, shopping mobile apps and its revenue projection via app stores.
- Almost half of the people spent five or more hours on their smartphones daily in 2017 (Source: Statista)
- The number of smartphone users in the world is expected to reach 2.7 billion by 2019 (Source: Statista)
- As of December 2017, 82 percent of online users in the United States used a mobile device for online shopping (Source: Statista)
- The total number of Android apps on Google Play is 2.8 million as of March 2017 (Source: Statista)
- The total number of iOS app on the App Store 2.2 million as of March 2017 (Source: Statista)
- Usage of shopping apps was up 54 percent from 2016 to 2017 (Source: Statista)
- 47 percent of people would use retail app again if they received a discount or coupon offer (Source: Statista)
- Shopping content apps had a 35,9 percent reach among global Android mobile users in 2017 (Source: Statista)
- In 2020, mobile apps are projected to generate 188.9 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via app stores and in-app advertising (Source: Statista)
- 51 percent of smartphone buyers in the United States had made the majority of their smartphone shopping purchases in 2016 via app (Source: Statista)
Why Mobile Apps in Retail Business?
Let’s See the Pros and Cons of Mobile Apps in Retail Business.
- The amount of time people spend on smartphones is undoubtedly increasing, which means that you can utilize this time to actually grow your business.
- Apps help keep your brand notable in the market.
- Apps will help you increase customer satisfaction.
- Apps will help you strengthen your marketing strategies.
- If done in the right way, retail apps will amplify your customer base.
- Mobile apps are faster than websites.
- Apps will let you manage everything from anywhere and anytime.
- Importantly, apps will help you collect more data from customers and hence give you the opportunity to analyze it and deeply understand customer buying patterns. Also, let you understand your business’s strong and weak areas.
- The app will require constant monitoring and support.
- If you want to have smart features in your app, it is going to cost you. The more the features, the more the cost!
How Having a Mobile App Transform The Shopping Experience
It’s another way for your customers to contact you!
Over the years businesses have shifted from one channel to multi-channel, and now to omnichannel. It’s astoundingly clear that customers care strongly about having options. Only offering one, or even a few communication channels can severely limit your ability to provide good customer service. When you limit options, some customers will inevitably be frustrated or possibly feel helpless. We can’t always engage with a communication option. For example, if you only provide a phone number to call, what happens to customers who have a broken speaker on their phone? Now they can’t contact you, they’ll be frustrated, and they’ll think twice about doing business with you again.
Apps Can Do What Websites Can’t
One fact that is indisputable is that native apps provide the fastest, most reliable experience to users. Compared to mobile web, apps are far more responsive and have far fewer connectivity issues. Mobile apps offer retailers a new way to relate to customers and to provide both more convenient and more personalized shopping experiences. Given that a huge subset of your customers will be interacting with their phone first thing in the morning, being able to place your logo at the front and center of this device is a very powerful opportunity. Additionally, a native app enables you to send promotional push messages and in-app inbox rich messages. Push messages are a hugely effective marketing channel for brands. With open rates far higher than email, they’re direct, timely, and reach your customer wherever they are. Combine this communication tool with location-based technology and you’ll be able to reach your customers at the most opportune moments and enhance the customer journey. Apps can also incorporate smartphone features such as GPS, Bluetooth, address book and the camera for product and credit card scanning. Native apps also benefit from inclusion in App Stores, where they can be discovered by new customers.
Apps Cater to the cross-channel customer
Thanks to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, more consumers now want to be able to shop using multiple channels. It’s not a face-off between bricks-and-mortar and online. Instead, with mobile devices at your customers’ side day and night, it’s become a matter of merging digital and in-store efforts into a seamless retail experience that engages shoppers at home, on the move and in-store.
As the divisions between online and offline blur further, we will see more and more retailers adopting a “cross-channel” approach. Retailers that enable customers to move easily between different channels are at the forefront of cross-channel commerce. It’s now widely accepted that customers spend much more when brands sell through a variety of well-connected channels. For example, House of Fraser figures show that shoppers who buy from the company over mobile, in store and online spend more than five times as much as those who only buy from the desktop site alone.
As consumers rapidly adopt new technologies as well as more convenient shopping and payment platforms, retailers must adapt to remain relevant. Part of that necessary evolution is the creation of a native mobile app. Your e-commerce app should be a crucial part of your cross-channel retail presence, not an optional add-on. The top e-commerce apps are integral elements of a much larger marketing strategy.
Simplified Mobile Payments
Apps make payment incredibly easy by using built-in smartphone features. Retailers can take advantage of the phone’s camera to allow credit card scanning, address book and saved customer details via a secure keychain. By mid-2015, UK retailers will be able to use the iPhone Touch ID to allow payment authentication via Apple Pay. This will prove indispensable if retailers plan to expand their in-store offering to include in-store mobile self-checkout, as some international retailers have done. By introducing self-checkout apps, retailers can fulfill the function of physical checkout stations at a fraction of the cost.
Meet Consumer Demands
96% of the Internet Retailing top 25 retailers and 43% of the top 125 retailers have transactional mobile apps. Why? The answer is simple, customers demand them. Mobile apps are becoming the preferred way of interacting with brands among the majority of consumers. According to recent research from Weve, Vodafone, O2 and EE’s joint mobile marketing network, 46% of 18- to 34-year-olds said mobile was their “first screen.” Take this in comparison to the 17% who cited TV as their most important screen, and think of the budgets many brands invest in television marketing.
When a customer visits your website, you have a very limited amount of time to make an impression on them and convert them into a customer. When the user is done with your website, they’ll move on to something else. You can no longer contact them – the window of opportunity has now closed. With an app, you’re always present. Your app can send push notifications to keep customers updated, offer them discounts, and more.
Push notification will increase your customers’ engagement
In retail mobile apps, push notifications are mostly used to inform customers about an upcoming sale, new arrival or special in-store events. Push notifications are a powerful channel to increase customers engagement because they have 90 percent open rates and can be more effective than social media posts or emails campaigns.
Growing Customer Loyalty
Apps create communities. They are a place your customers can always go to and they take a minimal effort to engage with. You can build your app to maximize on this and grow your customer loyalty. Take full advantage of personalization based on the data you know about your customers from their account information.
Personalized Shopping Experience
Mobile apps allow retailers the unprecedented opportunity to engage personally with their customers and facilitate a new kind of conversation between the brand and consumer. New developments in mobile technology enable you to use push messaging, in-app messaging and many other tools such as widgets and interactive notifications to send relevant and personalized communications to your consumers. The combination of push notifications and in-app rich messaging has created a truly powerful solution that has been proven to improve conversion, engagement and revenue.
Having a mobile app allows you to not only engage your customers, but to easily track and understand their behavior. Our customers use our intuitive retail-focused mobile analytics tool to gather precious information on just about every aspect of how users interact with their app in general and at any given point in time. This enables retailers to further personalize their app-based interactions with customers, as well as make informed and data-driven business decisions.
An app is another way of showing off your brand and proving your brand integrity. Your brand should be consistent and memorable. Your customers should recognize your app based on your other branding channels.
Data and Analytics
Apps are an extremely valuable source of data. When users download your app and use it, you can track what they do on the app, how long they spend on the app, the conversions they have with customer service, and what they buy. This data is extremely valuable because you can link every interaction to an individual customer. When a consumer interacts with your website, you often only know key details about them if they sign up for an account, log in, buy, or otherwise choose to share their data. For anyone who doesn’t, you will have some data, but this data is faceless. With a mobile app, you can require each customer to create an account or login before they proceed. This will give you insights into your customer segments, customer behavior, purchasing behavior, and more.
As the retail industry continues to evolve, retail apps have emerged as a game-changer, bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping. By offering a seamless and personalized shopping experience, retail apps have captured the attention of consumers, leading to increased engagement, customer satisfaction, and sales growth. With their ability to leverage mobile technology, harness customer data, and provide innovative features, retail apps have transformed the way we shop, making it more convenient, efficient, and enjoyable. As we look to the future, the continued advancement of retail apps holds the promise of even more exciting possibilities, ensuring that the shopping experience will only continue to evolve and improve.
Q1: What are retail apps and how do they transform the shopping experience?
A1: Retail apps are mobile applications developed by retailers to enhance the shopping experience for customers. They allow users to browse, purchase, and interact with products and services directly from their smartphones or tablets. Retail apps transform the shopping experience by providing convenience, personalized recommendations, seamless transactions, and access to exclusive deals. With features like in-app payment options, real-time inventory updates, and tailored product suggestions, retail apps make shopping more efficient, engaging, and enjoyable.
Q2: What benefits do retail apps offer to both retailers and customers?
A2: Retail apps offer numerous benefits to both retailers and customers. For retailers, these apps provide a direct channel to reach and engage with their customers, enabling personalized marketing campaigns, targeted promotions, and valuable customer insights. Retail apps also help streamline operations, reduce costs, and increase customer loyalty and retention. For customers, retail apps offer convenience, accessibility, and a personalized shopping experience. They allow users to browse a wide range of products, access real-time information, receive personalized recommendations, and make secure and convenient purchases anytime, anywhere.
Q3: Are retail apps safe for making transactions?
A3: Yes, retail apps are designed with security measures to ensure safe and secure transactions. Reputable retail apps incorporate industry-standard encryption protocols to protect users’ personal and financial information. Additionally, most retail apps offer secure payment options such as tokenization, biometric authentication, and two-factor authentication, which add an extra layer of protection. It is crucial to download apps from trusted sources, keep them updated, and practice good mobile security habits, such as using strong passwords and avoiding public Wi-Fi networks when making transactions.
Q4: Can retail apps provide a personalized shopping experience?
A4: Absolutely! Retail apps excel at delivering personalized shopping experiences. They utilize customer data, preferences, and browsing history to offer tailored product recommendations and promotions. Retail apps may employ machine learning algorithms to analyze user behavior and provide personalized suggestions based on individual interests and previous purchases. These apps can also offer features like personalized notifications, wish lists, and loyalty programs, making the shopping experience more customized and engaging for each user.
Q5: Are there any downsides to using retail apps?
A5: While retail apps bring numerous benefits, there can be a few downsides to consider. Some users may find it overwhelming to manage multiple retail apps for different stores or brands. Additionally, using retail apps may require a reliable internet connection, and in some cases, apps can consume significant device storage space. Furthermore, not all retail apps are created equal, and some may have usability issues, limited features, or security vulnerabilities. Therefore, it’s important to research and choose well-established and reputable retail apps that align with your preferences and priorities.