how to create a retail app.

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Going by the prominence enjoyed by mobile phones and apps in the last few years, we would be surprised if you didn't see this one coming. So everything is literally going mobile and this notion today is also applicable to retailers. Apps are being developed left, right, and center and they have immensely contributed to enhancing the customer experience. At the same time, these mobile apps have also enabled businesses to manage their retail operations way more efficiently. How to create a retail app and what features are required?

This is the reason that app development for retail businesses gained instant prominence and most firms have already started using mobile apps to showcase their products and services and also to offer an engagement point that bridges digital & physical commerce. Meanwhile, apart from facilitating the purchasing process, these mobile apps also provided an active and engaging platform to enhance interaction between retailers & their customers.

retail app development

Prominence enjoyed by the retail mobile apps

So while the overall mobile session growth was only 6%, the shopping apps usage was definitely up by 54% in the year 2017. As per the Statista, around 80% of the consumers in the U.S. are already having at least one retailer mobile app on their smartphones. Hence, it is pretty clear that retail customers are consistently getting comfortable with the purchases they make via mobile phones. Most consumers who have used the retail mobile apps in the past, find it pretty easier as compared to shopping in the stores or on websites. Hence, it is time that you launch a retail app of your own for your business before your customers are grabbed by your competitors who must also be looking to hit the home screens of the smartphones coming up with their own retail mobile apps. Here we discuss how to create a retail app and its features.

Why do customers like Retail Mobile app?

With researchers & surveys being published every year, the whole of the retail community has started noticing the growing trends regarding app usage. Big brands, as well as small & medium retailers, are putting in efforts to engage their potential and present customers to rise the in-store traffic by using a mobile app. And going by these findings, we can certainly say that it is working.

  • Thirty-percent in-shop purchases have been made through the retail app.
  • Customers are preferring to shop in those stores which support them with mobile apps, rather than going for the ones that don't.
  • Customers happily look forward to using features such as product customization or price checker.
  • More number of customers agree that they prefer spending more time in retail shops with a mobile app.
  • Some customers even admit that they're keen to pay more when granting access to more advanced features such as Augmented Reality (AR) preview.

Types of Order in the Retail Mobile Apps:

Well, two types of purchases can be made via a retail mobile app:

  • Online order: Here, the purchase is made from the online store to be delivered at the location of their choice.
  • Retail Orders: here, the customers can buy the products in-store, however, they can choose to make the payment online, thus the way it saves the time of standing in queues to make payment.

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Features of a Walmart Mobile App:

So, what retail mobile apps do is that they facilitate & enrich shopping experience of the users in store, enhance purchase procedure, provide new & innovative methods to make purchases and also interact with your brand for your consumers. Let's take Dominos for an instance. This 57-year-old pizza brand makes the best efforts to innovate and remove any friction from customer experiences. These days, more than 60% of the Dominos orders are digitally received with more than half of these orders are placed via mobile. And what really offers is friction-free purchase experience is certainly is Zero Click app that comes with a zero-click order feature. Here, the customers simply open the app, wait for like 10-second and the order is placed automatically.

And they're done. Needless to mention, what most consumers desire nowadays is This, something that's so amazingly fast and easy. And this is what would turn your customers into loyal customers. However, it is seen that often retail businesses make this easy mistake of providing lOT many features at the initial stage itself. Thus, it makes the app complex and heavy, and no customer, ever, want to welcome something into their phones that would make them slow. And hence, often such apps get lost among all the available options. So, here, we suggest you start by building an MVP, i.e. a light version of the app with simple & understandable flow, and gradually more features can be added. Below, he has mentioned the basic functionalities that a retail business app can benefit from

Basic Features:

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Additional Features:

Item Availability: This feature is to inform your app users regarding items that are available and can be purchased, along with their numbers. In case, the chosen items are already sold out, then customers should be informed when they will be available.

Price Checker: Using this feature, users can check product prices and then compare it with the competitors.

Additional Product info: Offer your user detailed information of the product sold in your store, like some useful information, customer reviews, related news, etc. as that buffs in-store customer experience.

Integrate e-Commerce: In the case of a retail mobile app, you must be already owing an online shopping website on an eCommerce platform, and it would be great that you sync it with your app.

Product Customization: Your customers would be able to make wiser decisions when they have checked all types of products they buy. This will greatly reduce the return & exchange rate of the items.

Product Preview: Augmented Reality, 3D model, media technology can be used to preview products and this is going to immensely enhance the user experience. Also, the customers will get more information regarding the product and it will help them to be ensured that they like it and want to purchase it.

Geo-Location: Customers can be lead to your stores with the use of the Geo-location feature. Use this feature to inform your app users regarding offers, events, deals, loyalty programs, when they walk nearby. Support your users with the help of in-store mapping.

Social Share: Enable your consumers to socially connect with their friends and ask them regarding the purchase or share that with them online.

Payment gateway: Platforms like Apple Pay, Android Pay, Braintree, Paypal, Stripe, etc. can be integrated. Payment gateway integration or redirecting your users to the payment pages can be really helpful as that will provide the two options to pick from. As they pick the method as per their convenience.

Product Finder: In case, with your retail mobile app, you plan on offering tonnes of items to your customers, then it is advised to add a smart search option to your mobile app. This will make the shopping experience a lot more convenient for your users as they will find everything which is available under given characteristics (like size, color, collection) instead if scrolling through pages of the catalog. The integration of a camera-based search feature can be very helpful for mobile apps for fashion offline & online retail businesses. For example, there is the Asos& Zara app, which is a successful example of this feature.

QR code reader: Your customers and in-store staff will certainly like this QR scanner in the app as then they won't require to type product name manually. They just have to scan QR code with their phone and then the app will offer product info, shopping trends, reviews, etc.

Push Notifications: This feature keeps the shoppers on the track of the available promotions, news, offers, and they can receive personalized offers from their retailers. At the same time, notifications can also be interactive and they enable users to take actions, like answer questions with few taps from outside of the app. This is a great way for the retailers to connect with the customers on-the-go, recognize their preferences, and retarget them as per their responses.

Location-based services: With the use of iBeacons for the mobile app, it is possible to enhance interaction with the customers. Owing to this technology, the information will come to the user in the right place at the right time. This feature in retail mobile apps allows brands to greet the customers as they enter their store, offer & suggest products as per their past purchases, inform them regarding special deals & offers. Also, beacons allow you to accept payments, create a virtual guide, & engage in-store games for the shoppers. As retail apps are created, it is vital to ensure that they are simple and focused on creating a convenient and seamless purchase process. Also, apps for the retailers must ensure consistent user experience for the shopper regardless of which way of purchase making they pick, whether online, in-store or mobile. This needs integration of retail store mobile apps with the retail store website, inventory management & other systems that are used in a retail firm.

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Renowned apps in this arena

Here are a few of the examples of retail mobile apps also prominent in the market:

walmart retail app

Walmart: Do you know that nearly one-third of the U.S. population visits Walmart stores every week. Yes, such is the popularity this store enjoys. And now the Walmart app allows customers to shop smarter, plan the shopping trips, check in-store prices, reorder day-to-day essentials with a touch, link credit cards to the mobile app, scan the barcode to get prices quickly, and also refill & transfer the prescriptions from other pharmacies to the Walmart.

shephora retail app

Sephora: This cosmetics retailer has found through the market research that often customers search for product reviews & recommendations directly from their phones in-store. Thus, considering this, Sephora launched its retail app which offers the shoppers with product reviews by customers, virtual makeup products try-on for lip, eye & cheek, beauty tips, and much more.

ikea app for retails

IKEA: This homeware biggie opened various horizons by introducing its augmented reality app. For the unbeknownst, the IKEA app enables the users to place the virtual furniture in their home space: arranging tables, sofas, chairs, hang shelves on walls, etc. This way, the user can check, how a particular product appears in their house interior and then can make the purchase if they like the setting.

starbucks app for retail

Starbucks: This is one of the best examples of retail apps. Starbucks app makes 21 percent of the entire profit to the firm and it is equal to $6 million. This works on this simple idea to pay prior to you come for your coffee, thus no need to wait for your orders and stand in queues, and make physical transactions. This has led to an increase in people's visits to Starbucks all across the world. So, what do the Sephora, IKEA & Walmart stores have in common Well, they all have their mobile apps and experienced an increase in their loyal number of customers and growth in sales as a result of introducing a mobile app.

retail app development

Why it is necessary to choose the right app development company?

Developing a mobile app is not an easy chore, hence you need professional help from a reliable app development company to create a great app. So for the same, you have two options in-house app development or outsourcing. Now each way has its benefits and side-effects.

In-house app development: If you are able to design & develop a retail mobile app on your own, or have experienced a set of developers, then it would be easy to create an app, or else it will be quite a burdensome process. Meanwhile, to develop an app, you won't require a single IT expert, but the whole team includes UI/UX developer, designer & QA Tester, etc. Besides, you will require to deal with paid vacations, employment taxes, buy development devices and tools, and a lot more. Besides, one can try an e-commerce mobile platform which allows them to make a simple app pretty easily, however, in order to create a great app with amazing functionality, this technique won't work.

Outsourcing: Here you have many choices, like either you can hire freelancers, or a mobile app development company to create a retail mobile app. However, it is vital to do thorough research before you plan on hiring an app development firm, like communicate with the app development team, to ensure they are well-skilled and knowledgeable of the up-to-date techniques in the market. Choose a firm with a good track record that offers flexibility & cost-effectiveness. You can also select the firm as per app complexity.

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How the cost of retail mobile app development is affected?

The key factors that affect the cost to create a retail mobile app are

Size of the app: The more features you add, or advanced features you add, or more devices & platforms your app is designed on, with more third-party integrations, the more will be the cost.

Design & Development rates: Even though the scale & size of the mobile app defines the time required to create an app, it is the developer's rate that varies significantly as per the country income level. This way, even with the same timeframe and quality level, the final cost to create an app with UK/US-based developers is certain to be a few times more costly as compared to developers in India. Ultimately, considering all the above features, the actual development cost will range between $25000-35000, whereas with advanced features and more platform, the cost will certainly reach $50000.

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Arun Goyal

Managing Director @ Octal IT Solution, a prominent Mobile App Development Company offering cutting-edge iPhone App Development and Android App Development services to Startups, SMEs and Fortune-500 Companies.

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