Three Key Actions for a Successful Retail App

Improving retail app performance and harvesting insights from app data can enhance the customer experience and help retailers get the most out of their app.

With the boom of online shopping, consumers can purchase online anytime and anywhere, using their preferred devices. Online shopping is now one of the biggest drivers of revenue and customer loyalty for retailers. However, just having a website and a mobile app is not enough to guarantee success.

For those retailers who want to attract and retain customers in this digital era, it is necessary to have real-time visibility into each user’s individual app experience. Understanding app performance and harvesting insights from app data allows organisations to take immediate, appropriate action to retain customers and maintain the effectiveness of their ongoing digital strategy. Analysing retail transactions and customer behaviours at this granular level can help deliver a significantly more successful app experience for customers.

According to a recent report, entitled An App is Not Enough, consumers are as concerned about a site or mobile application’s functionality as they are about its basic availability. The report surveyed more than 4,000 smartphone and tablet owners about their habits when it came to online shopping. The survey highlighted three key elements to mobile application success in the retail marketplace:

  1. Customers expect great performance

This should be the number one priority for every online business. Consumers more often than not are disappointed when retail apps and websites do not perform satisfactorily. In fact, the survey found that it directly impacts their perception of a retailer. Among the respondents in the report, 73 percent agree that an app’s performance is key to their perceptions of a retailer — therefore performance is key to brand image.

The result of a poor online experience will not only stop customers using the app but could also negatively affect the physical store’s performance.

  1. Think of an app as an integral part of your omni-channel strategy

After making sure your website or app is up and running smoothly, it’s time to think of how integrated your point of sales strategy is. A key component of a great shopping experience is convenience. Digital and technological innovation have made us all time-poor. Therefore it is essential to value your customers’ time spent throughout the purchasing stages, whichever channel they choose to use.

Leveraging a retail app goes far beyond just promoting it and getting customers to download it. Using GPS sensors and data collected from previous interactions, retailers can provide highly contextual and personal offers. The report unveiled that almost three-quarters of consumers call for mobile apps to help them bypass checkout queues in-store. A Deloitte report, Navigating the New Digital Divide, shows that people who use digital while they shop in-store convert at a 20 percent higher rate compared with those who do not use digital as part of the shopping process.

When it comes to retail, an app has to make the shopping experience easier and more enjoyable, and meet the needs of all relevant customer personas. Even though it may be used by millions of customers, the app can and should make each customer feel special and unique, as if it has been designed just for them.

  1. Ensure that humans are the centre of your app strategy

Technology has definitely transformed the way retailers do business, and it creates diverse options for customers to access products. It is important to remember that the centre of your business will always be your customer, and not the technology. Fundamentally, whether your customer chooses to shop in-store, online, or via a wearable, they are engaging in a service between themselves and you, the retailer.

The report reveals that businesses can greatly capitalise on technology to deliver humanised service via an app — 75 percent of surveyed customers agree that even if an app had an issue, a prompt personal apology would help in retaining them as customer. This is known as a win-back tactic.

While technology will play an important role in enhancing the service provided, it’s only a method of delivery. Offering a service should be bi-directional, and the retailers who succeed in the digital age are those who grasp the fact that no matter the app or the technology, it’s still the personal relationship and trust formed with customers that are key to brand loyalty and success.

1 Comment

One thought on “Three Key Actions for a Successful Retail App”

  1. The reality is that 75% of retailers don’t need mobile apps: customers don’t buy and will not buy from them often enough to justify installation of an app.
    Even if that app is installed, the chances that it will be used are slim for most retailers.

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