10 Tips for Creating a Successful Mobile Retail App

Retail Apps
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Mobile devices continue to play an increasingly important role in how shoppers prefer to engage with brands online. Today, the number of mobile users globally exceeds the number of desktop users, and apps are far more popular than mobile websites, according to recent data.

Even better, shoppers are increasingly using a shopping app for their retail needs, but this comes with one caveat: Namely, some retailers have struggled to get shoppers to actually download their mobile app.

These facts are no need for doom and gloom, however, since shoppers are practically begging for better mobile app experiences.

Here are 10 tips to help you create a successful mobile retail app your shoppers will love, thereby increasing the likelihood of repeat mobile sales for your brand.

1. Create an Effective and Comprehensive Mobile App Strategy

To succeed in mobile, retailers must make it a priority. There are too many ill-conceived apps, which is why so many customers are desperate for a better mobile experience in the first place. Strategize to put mobile first with a detailed and cohesive strategy for your mobile initiatives and efforts.

2. Choose the Right Features for Your App

An integral part of providing a great shopping app experience is selecting the right features to include in the app itself. Push notifications are just one example of popular app features, since consumers enjoy receiving targeted and relevant product offers from brands they love.

Similarly, popular features include the ability to zoom in on products, view alternate images and simplified one-step (or two-step) checkouts. Simply put, these features help customers find the products they are looking for in an efficient and time-friendly fashion.

3. Native Apps Offer Superior Performance and Functionality

Keeping the theme of speed and convenience in mind, know that native app development produces the best results in this regard.

A quality native app offers superior performance, speed and functionality when compared to web-based applications. Data shows that, due to the native environment and additional control of a customer's purchase path, retailers see higher conversion rates on their native app compared to mobile and desktop websites.

4. Know Your Audience

A general maxim of success in any business is that brands must know their customer. Don't waste money on app development and mobile resources that will not be appreciated by your shoppers. Instead, reach out to customers via social media and similar platforms to truly listen to what your customers want. This will make for a better app, which means better results for your brand.

5. Make Use of the Latest Technology

The world of mobile changes rapidly, so make sure your app will not rely on outdated tech. If your app is "outdated," this translates into offering a worse mobile shopping experience than competitors. Make sure to reach out to experts in the field who will inform you on the latest developments needed to make a retail app successful.

6. Less Can Be More

Your retail app should make it easy for customers to find what they want, not difficult. As such, keep your app simple and intuitive.

Reducing cluttered interfaces with a beautifully streamlined app will deliver a better experience for shoppers, which leads to more conversions.

7. Understand Mobile Should Be Based on Customer Relationships

Put the customer first, and success follows in retail. Part of this maxim includes building quality relationships with the customer. A customer's mobile device is more than just a phone. It's a permanent fixture of his or her everyday life. Take the time to learn consumer preferences and value them. Listen, observe and remember what shoppers want to see from your brand by way of data analysis. Providing quality customer support from within the app, for example, is one way to show customers their loyalty is valued.

8. Start Small

Brands that are overly ambitious with app development goals may only end up harming themselves.

It is far better to set reachable targets, rather than throwing every feature into an app and seeing what works. In all likelihood, the app will only end up confusing and/or annoying the shopper. Focus on "one thing" that will add immense value to the shopper's experience, and build from there.

9. Make All Retail App Content Customer-Friendly

Never treat mobile as a copy and paste solution. Your mobile websites and desktop websites should not be the template for a mobile app. Quality apps deserve solutions that are built from the ground up.

10. Always Remain Focused on the Big Picture

Finally, retailers should always keep the big picture in mind. Mobile is only one arm of a retailer's operation in many cases. Thus, ensure internal operations can truly support a mobile app. The best app in the world cannot compensate for a poor in-store shopping experience. As such, never lose sight of the entire retail operation, even during app development.

Author bio: Chris Pautsch is Founder and CEO of KeyLimeTie. KeyLimeTie is a full-service design, development and digital strategy agency, helping clients communicate more effectively and intimately with their customers through interactive marketing channels.