Ever used the Walmart app to purchase items of your need? In a pool of over 7 million items, you might just get confused, however, limiting your search to the product you want to buy, by marking filters, you might just easily find that one essential easily. Things like this have led to the expansion of ecommerce apps. It has not only enhanced the experience of users but has also contributed to the ease of shopping sitting at home.
With mobile phones predominantly becoming one of the most essential items for each and every person in the world, mobile apps have gained immense popularity, and going by the trend, it is the future of our society and any business. The retail industry has been getting the most befitting response with growing profits and reach of their products.
The applications which are specially developed by the app developers to create an awe-appealing experience for the users have filled the gap between digital and physical commerce. Apart from increasing the sales of most companies and brands, these applications have helped in building a relationship between the retailers and the companies. The companies can directly get in touch with their customers and offer them an experience like no other.
Understanding ecommerce mobile applications
Mobile phones have become a necessity in today’s times and with smartphones’ prices slashing down to merely a few bucks, it has become easy for people from all strata to buy one easily. Why take the pain of going to a store on a hot summer afternoon to buy groceries or any other thing for that matter, when shopping is on your fingertips. Just pulling a mobile phone out from your pocket and opening an app to place an order, it barely takes a few minutes. The ecommerce applications are apps that offer commodities (of any category) to the customers, allowing them to see pictures and check prices, without having to go to the stores. The clients can then make payment online and check the delivery date of the product. Without any hassle, the product will get delivered to them in the mentioned time frame.
Also Read: How to develop a mobile app for ecommerce
Let’s look at the figures for mobile application usage in the year 2017 in the U.S. According to a report is Statista, the mobile session growth was just 6 percent before the shopping apps came in, leading the growth to over 64 percent in 2017. Reportedly, 80 percent of the customers have at least one retail app installed on their phones in the U.S. alone. This proves that the customers are getting more aligned towards online shopping and the retail apps are thriving well, even among so many competitions from rival brands.
Most popular mobile shopping apps in the US as of Sept 2019, by reach
The need of the hour
The most important question is why do we need retail mobile apps? Ever thought how convenient it has made for the customers to do purchases from the comfort of home, without spending time and money on conveyance and getting tired roaming for one particular thing? It has lessened the gap between physical and digital shopping. The trends have changed and people have been witnessing a significant move of the shoppers from retail stores to digital stores. Let’s throw some light on the importance of these apps:
- A customer might hesitate in checking the price tags at a store or might just not be comfortable asking a helper for the product description. In the case of retail apps, he can do it all by himself, without any help. He does not have to share the screen with anyone and can enjoy some solitude shopping.
- A retail app gives out information about customization in any product. You don’t have to go looking for floor staff to help you with that.
- Retail apps have seen a huge surge in numbers. Over 30 percent of the purchases made from a store is through an app, which adds up to the revenue generated by stores.
- Most customers now like to shop from those stores which have their mobile apps, rather than those which do not have one.
- With the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) the user experience has enhanced offering leading to a returning customer.
Why do people like the Walmart retail app?
The number of features offered by the Walmart app is incomparable and the inclination the customers have towards it is beyond count. These features should be considered by all those companies who are considering taking their business online through ecommerce apps. Let’s take a look at some of its features that have inculcated a likeliness among customers for the app:
- Customization of the product: The information about the customization in the product or the availability of similar products with different prices and features is clearly mentioned in the app. This helps them make a decision wisely, hence, reducing the rate of exchange or return.
- Availability of the item: A customer can check online if the product he is looking for is available or not. If it is available, then he can make the purchase, if not, he can wait for it to come back in stock and can be intimidated once the seller stocks up on the same product.
- Checking and comparing price: A retail app is a big platform where a number of products from various brands are available under a single roof. This helps the users in checking and comparing prices.
- Reviews: You might not know what the customers think about a product if you go and buy something from the store. However, in the case of ecommerce apps, you can scroll down on your screen and read the reviews and ratings of the users. This will help you make better decisions about buying a product.
- Preview of the product: Seeing a product online and reading its description is not just enough to make up your mind on buying a product. Therefore, Augmented Reality and 3D preview helps the app users see the product better and make decisions. This will also help an organization get returning customers to the app.
- Additional information on the product: The app lets the customers know about the specifications of the products and the additional information they are seeking.
- Integrated ecommerce: Most people have used shopping websites to buy products. Mobile apps allow them to integrate their web experience with apps and sync the two.
- Finding a product: A buyer might like a product at a store, but his/her size may not always be available. This is when the apps come into pictures. They can always go back to the apps and see if the app of that brand has the same product available in their size or not. Since the app is not limited to a store or sizes, you might have better chances of finding everything here.
- Geo-Location: Allowing an app to find your geo-location helps a user get alerts on any events, launches, or promotions happening near them. This can also help them find a nearby store and go there to buy something in person.
- Sharing the product information: The app allows the users to share the product and its information with someone to help them decide on making the purchase. It also helps users in getting reviews of the product.
- Push notifications: The shoppers are kept well informed about any new offers or promotions happening at the store. They also receive personal offers and benefits, and the information about the products which are delivered to them. These notifications are interactive allowing the shoppers to get in touch with the sellers.
- Walmart Pay: This is a very unique feature available on Walmart’s mobile app and it lets you make quick and secure payments in Walmart Stores. This feature is included in both the iOS and Android app. If you visit a Walmart store you can pay for any product placed in any lane by scanning the QR code and on transaction completion, an e-receipt will be generated. To activate it you need to enter your pin or biometric identification. So, no need of carrying credit cards and debit cards at Walmart store.
- Walmart Store Maps Navigation: This is a very innovative feature that allows the customers to search for any item or product and find the correct aisle and shelf where it is placed in a Walmart store. Walmart app contains the layout of more than 4700 Walmart stores. So, navigating through a Walmart store is pretty easy with the Walmart store assistant feature.
- Other features include the ability to make shopping lists in advance. You can also reserve a time for time and check-in even before visiting the physical location of Walmart Store.
Top retail apps that are doing well around the world
Apart from Walmart, several other ecommerce mobile apps are doing well in the U.S. Let’s take a look at some of them:
With the introduction of virtual reality, the homeware biggie invited more customers to shop from their app. Letting them place the virtual furniture in different spaces of their home helped them make up their mind, reducing the number of exchanges of big deliveries.
The beauty retailers got a hint at how the customers would call at the stores to find the review or the ratings of a particular product. This leads them to launch their own app, allowing users to read reviews and recommendations on the app itself. Also, the app enhances the user experience by letting them try on lip colors and other products on themselves virtually.
This one needs no introduction. It has set an example in the world of retail businesses. The app of this coffee giant contributes 21 percent of the entire profits of the company which is nearly $ 6 million. Through the app, a user can place an order for the coffee of their choice and just pick it from the outlet on their arrival avoiding serpentine queues.
Another one of the top apps in-app store, this one enjoys a rating of 4.9 in the Apple store. It not only enables the users to search and scan for the products but also gives them information on products that are back in stock and push the weekly ads on their devices. All deals are updated with the latest ones and the catalogs come handy to the users. This one is also compatible with Siri and saves the users time by giving a voice search command to the app.
This app gives an experience just like the store experience, where you can make direct purchases and track them online, or pick it up in the mentioned time from the store itself. It saves users time to look for products on racks or the long payment queues at the payment counters. This app comes in the top 10 list because of the daily deals it offers to the customers and the helpful information about the products it sells. The best feature of the app is the preview feature, as it lets the users preview a product in 3D before making the purchase. One can be double sure of spending the money on a product before actually buying it.
This one is again one of the most liked apps of today’s times as it sells trendy and affordable clothes and shoes for all ages. The app offers promo codes to its users, which can be used while checking out and making the payment. The all does not only limit to the online shopping experience but also helps the users to find out about the product availability in a store nearby, where one can go and try the product if he is skeptical about making the purchase. More useful information about products back in stock and the important events of the brand happening in your area is available to the users through the app.
THE HOME DEPOT
With a rating of 4.6 on the app store, this one is another leading retail app that offers personalized home pages, view in-store receipts, and track orders. It provides a great online and in-store experience to the users. In 2018, Forrester rated it as the number 1 retail app in terms of time spent.
We see only one thing in common, after looking at all these examples including Walmart. They are all doing well in the ecommerce space and their apps have loyal and returning customers. They have made a nice for themselves in the market which is here to stay for as long as they serve their customers the same way.
A look at the advantages of retail apps
- The connection between the seller and the buyer: A retail app helps the companies stay connected with their users/buyers. This helps in creating a strong bond between the two and the former can gain the trust of their users by looking into all matters personally. This helps in creating goodwill for a brand in the market.
- Study the behavior of the buyer: It is very important to study the buying pattern of a buyer. A retail app helps a company do that as they are in direct touch with them and get updates on all purchases by a customer. It provides useful insight to all small, medium, and high scale businesses. Customer satisfaction should be of utmost interest to a company, which can only be dealt with after knowing the interests of the customers.
- Brand visibility: With too many fish in the pond, it might be difficult for you to make your brand stand out. Therefore, it is very important in today’s time to get a retail app made and promoted on all platforms. The higher the reach of the app, the better is the visibility of the brand. With the use of smartphones going leaps and bounds, it has become easy to retain visibility in the market through apps.
- Global audience: A retail app is the most personalized way of meeting your customers overseas. These apps do not limit the demand of your products to a city or a country, but you can make loyal customers worldwide. With audience viewing your app in the app store all across the globe, you can make your brand global and reach to customers in other countries as well
- In-app brochures: A print brochure might not be as impactful as the in-app catalog. With people carrying phones along with them everywhere they go, they can have easy access to the catalog at any given point of time. It is anyway not suitable for a person to carry a print catalog with him all the time.
Cost of setting up a retail mobile app
The important factors that contribute to the cost of the app include the following:
- Rates of development: Not all apps have the same feature, and not all are up for installation at the same time. While some may take a few days to get ready, some might need more work that takes up to a few months. These things are the deciding factor for the money spent on the development of the mobile app.
- Mobile App developers: A company might hire a team of app developers as full-time employees and pay them on regular basis, or just hire freelancers for the time until the app is ready and live on the app store. The experience, talent, and their geographical locations impact the price of a mobile application. More the experience, the higher the price.
- Design: Another major factor contributing to the price of app development is the design of the app. If the design is more complex and has a unique design or features, the cost is naturally going to be higher as compared to the simpler ones.
- Features: A company looking to develop a feature-rich app in the initial days only might have to incur high costs at the beginning itself. Therefore, it is recommended to launch an app with limited features that are of the utmost importance and keep adding more features over the course of time. With this, the companies will not have to put any money from their pockets after paying for the first time. Third-party integration and a feature-rich app will up the cost of development.
- Updates: Does your app need regular updates; will you need an app developer’s help throughout? Well, these things should be made clear at the beginning itself as it helps you estimate the money that will be spent on the app in the future.
Mobile App development team
Now that we have looked at all aspects of developing a retail app, we will not talk about the brain that goes behind the making of these apps. Take a look at the people that develop the apps:
- Database experts
- Project manager
- iOS developer/Android developer
- Quality analyst
- Delivery manager
- UI/UX developer
- Back-end developer
Developing an attractive retail app is not the end of your work. A company must take care of the post-sale services as well like:
- More features should be added in the latter days as more features mean more income.
- The app must be updated from time to time to receive good reviews and offering a glitch-free experience to the users.
- Real-time data should be studied from time to time, to understand user behavior and their buying pattern.
Offering a seamless shopping experience to the users through your app will lead to generating loyal customers for your company. An organization should always consider the functions and features that a user is looking forward to in their app and should make sure to add them to the list of features so that they are able to deliver what the user is looking for. With all the information mentioned above, it might be clear to many that the retail apps are the next big IT thing in the industry and are here to stay. Slowly and gradually the great move from physical to digital is happening and we can see a noticeable jump now. An organization should be very careful while appointing an app development team and should make sure that they understand the information shared by you correctly and are able to make an app that you are satisfied with and that gives a wonderful shopping experience.