How to ensure your retail app gets results in lockdown and beyond

COVID-19 has seen the retail industry’s focus on apps both shrink and expand over the past few months. Many companies are understandably hesitant to build an app in the current climate, while we are seeing others having to rely heavily on their digital ecosystem to drive sales.

An engaging app that creates a solid return on investment could prove to be vital for retailers recovering from the pandemic.

Here are three simple steps to ensure your retail business is maximising your app’s value, giving your brand the upper hand over competitors.

1. Understand your app’s value

In retail, selling your products through an app is a given. But what about the opportunities for increasing conversion rates through saving payment details, repeat orders, one-click payments and push notifications?

Adding a one-touch payment feature to your app is a great way to make it easier for repeat customers to complete transactions, by allowing the app to save payment details used previously. Customers won’t have to fill in their details every time they purchase, making the user experience hassle-free, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Push notifications are a great compliment to one-touch payment features, especially if your business model is built around repeat ordering. A push notification can remind a customer they’re ready to re-order, and the task can be completed in just two taps.

Push is an effective way to re-engage inactive customers. On the other hand, too many irrelevant push notifications can be annoying, so make sure you reserve them for your most important messages, so that customers will see value in what you are putting in front of them.

Some of our clients have increased conversion rates by over 50% through implementing similar strategies. At scale, this can create dramatic increases to your company’s revenue and profitability.

2. Think lean

Become the problem solver for your clients, and put this front of mind. This is where we need to keep the app simple, so it has less features – but done extremely well – to launch faster and at the highest quality. Being able to adapt to change at pace in the current climate is pivotal, so simplicity is key here.

By getting your app to market quicker, we can use real customer and analytical data to help shape the design direction of the app. Simple does not mean basic, or boring, or buggy – it means quality and polish. And that’s what gets results.

3. Get the experience right

Your goal should be to have a user experience that is both attractive and effective. It’s not about creating the prettiest app, it’s about creating the most effective app. That’s not to say the aesthetic isn’t important – it’s your brand, after all. But you also want the app to achieve its key objectives, such as increasing sales with customers.

Good user experience is all about data-driven design, so use your existing data and analytics to help inform design decisions. I recommend starting with a prototype to validate your design thinking. Who is your most profitable customer? What features do they like to use? Start your design with your customer analytics, and build industry leading aesthetics around that.

Simplicity can be deceptively difficult to achieve, so try not to cut costs when it comes to designing your app. If your internal capabilities aren’t up to scratch, find a partner to help deliver the best design possible. This is another storefront for your business, after all.

Every single one of these tips is geared towards one thing: giving your app the competitive advantage. If you can ensure your app works faster, looks cleaner, and is more useful than your competitors, the customer is going to choose yours every single time.

Jamie Shostak, Co-founder, Appetiser App Development

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