Why Retailers Should Build a Mobile App

Robby Gupta

Retail can be a tricky business. And that’s why it is so critical for the industry to stay on top of technology trends.

And let’s face it: mobile apps are absolutely reshaping the retail industry.

The ubiquity of mobile devices has allowed retailers to strategize extremely effective ways to connect with their consumers. Harnessing mobile technology effectively in order to streamline operations and forge relationship building between retailers and consumers, has become an important discussion point for stakeholders across the globe.

What’s in it for customers:

The number of consumers using mobile apps is growing extremely rapidly. Given the current smartphone-obsessed environment we live in, it comes as no surprise. But what this means for retailers is that there is a huge chunk of potential they might miss out on, if they don’t incorporate mobile into their marketing strategy. A recent report from Alibaba revealed a shocking piece of information – Alibaba apparently makes more money from their mobile customers than their non-mobile customers!

Ebay too, had a similar story to tell when it reported that $9.5 billion of their Q2 sales of 2016 came from mobile as well. What’s more? 57% of ALL of eBay’s Q2 sales involved a mobile touchpoint.

Almost everyone that owns a smartphone has most likely already experience the extreme convenience of getting to shop from an intuitive and intelligent app. Just a little while ago, consumers considered shopping from a tiny phone screen quite an inconvenient affair. Infact, retailers struggled to get their consumers to switch to mobile. But they knew mobile contained the future and they kept pushing their consumers to at least give mobile a chance. This was done by offering various rewards and making the entire process of completing a transaction unbelievably easy.

Over time, customers caught on. Given that most consumers are glued to their phones at all times, savvy retailers started to offer them the added convenience of features such as easy browsing, personalized product suggestions, one-click purchases, etc. So, not only did consumers sign up for the app, but they kept coming back.

For Retailers

What retailers desperately want is to maximize customer engagement, thereby increasing sales and profits – mobile apps offer an excellent way to achieve just that.

  • It’s a whole new world of opportunities for retailers! The ubiquitous nature of smartphones, tablets and wearable devices offer retailers limitless engagement avenues. Building strong personal relationships with each customer and delivering a customized shopping experience to them, can make a world of difference to the brand and its popularity.
  • Retail apps offer the convenience of purchasing from any retailer in the world, as well as provide retailers the opportunity to expand their prospective customer based. Popular consumer facing brands such as Etsy provide one app to shop and another to sell. So essentially, Etsy members can shop from any seller around the world and shop owners can sell from just about anywhere.
  • Retailers can develop smart loyalty programs to keep returning customers engaged and offer attractive offers to new customers. Retailers can also send updates about their latest products and promote them in a less intrusive manner. Retailers who ensure that they are initiating a mobile-first mindset throughout their strategy can increase customer loyalty and drive sales like never before.
  • In addition to interaction, mobile is also transforming the in-store experience. We are now starting to see intelligent employee-facing apps which allow for extremely personalized customer servicing, mobilized checkout processes, and streamlined back of store operations. Setting up an efficient Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) is an important step in simplifying the in-store experience. Rather than waste your customer’s time by making him/her wait in long queues, you can have your sales staff help customers complete their transactions using credit cards,  from literally anywhere in the shop. Even the receipts can be sent directly to their smartphones!

    Mobile apps are facilitating brand new possibilities in terms of growing revenues and delighting consumers. Ebay and Alibaba are just two examples of the magnitude of impact mobile can have. It’s obvious that businesses can no longer afford to ignore the importance of mobile. Have you planned a mobile strategy for your retail business yet?
about the author

Robby Gupta

Robby Gupta is the head of US operations for TechJini, Inc. He has had varied experiences working in New York, Cupertino, and Bangalore with packaged & amp; custom web and mobile app development for an assortment of industries. His current focus is Immersive Technologies, IoT, AI bots and their applications in the digital enterprise.