With each passing day, retail companies feel the growing need to offer new and better online customer experiences. Having an eCommerce store is necessary in order to compete in the digital marketplace, but it is not enough. More companies are choosing to stay relevant to their customers through customized apps.
Developing a retail app for your business is not as complicated as it seems, but it does take some effort, and most importantly, it demands most of the time having an MVP app, or a clear idea of what you want for a start.
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the perfect concept to help retailers achieve the product they want in the long term. Because it isn’t always clear whether you need an MVP or not, in this post we help you decide if an MVP is the right choice for your retail business.
Due to constraints, it is not always possible to build the product we want right away. Taking our retail app where we want it to be demands multiple iterations and continuous improvement along the way.
To understand if your retail company needs an MVP app, it is first important to know how to define viable. In the app development world, the most common viable definition considers if a product can be sustained financially. In other words, viability refers to the possibility that an app project can be sustainable, from a business perspective.
The concept of viability is often confused with feasibility. Both are key aspects to look out for in a project, but there is an important difference between viability and feasibility. The former refers to the possibility that a project is financially possible or sustainable, while the latter refers to the possibility that a project is doable in practical terms. Thus, a project may be financially sustainable (viable) but not necessarily feasible, or doable. The contrary can also be true. A project may be executed, and thus feasible, at the risk of being financially unsustainable, or inviable.
Ideally, you want your project to be both viable and feasible. To do so, an MVP is a great tool.
An MVP Explained
Many retail companies wonder what an MVP stands for. It is easy to say that it is a Minimum Viable Product and that the name itself is enough to grasp the idea, but stronger conceptual clarity is needed.
In practical terms, an MVP means you develop your app in the right way. Although many companies tend to think that an MVP is just a fancy name for a finished product, it means much more than that. It is a way to guarantee that your app is both viable and feasible.
An MVP is a way of conceiving your digital product to help you address some of the problems you can face when hitting the market for the first time. An MVP considers that, for a start, a product does not have to be in the exact way we imagine it. It can consider the bare minimum user requirements to be financially sustainable. This means that it needs to be able to attract users and engage them while keeping your accounting numbers in black. By doing this, and thanks to Agile development frameworks, you can easily build an MVP and scale it as you go along, adding new features and improving it until it becomes what you want it to be.
One of the best characteristics of an MVP is that it can help reduce risks. By focusing on an early-stage version of your MVP retail app, you can see if the basic functionalities work before moving on to the next stage of development. This is pretty convenient for investors, as no one wants to invest in a product with a high risk of failing. By adding new features incrementally, an MVP helps you safely improve your product while reducing risks.
Retail Minimum Viable Products
Many retailers ask themselves: Just how minimum should a Minimum Viable Product be? There is no single answer to this question, or something like an MVP template that will help you determine how your early stage retail app needs to be. This is something that must be determined through ideation exercises that can help you get your ideas in order.
Another common mistake retail companies make is thinking that they need an MVP because everybody tells them so. In reality, many companies only need an eCommerce platform, powered by tools like Shopify Plus. However, for others, having their own personalized retail app is the best alternative.
It is for this last reason that we share with you the following questions. Answering them will help you decide if your retail company needs an MVP.
- Is your retail app strongly dependent on a single feature or a reduced number of features?
- Are you planning to or need to develop your app in different stages?
- Do you lack the necessary resources to build your retail app as you would like it to be?
- Are there any restrictions that might prevent you from building your dream app right away?
- Would your app benefit from making improvements along the way as you gather more data?
The more affirmative answers you get to these questions, the more likely you need an MVP app for your retail business. Rather than going all-in with your app’s development, you might want to sit down and understand how to do it strategically.
To do so, it is important to understand the epics and user stories that comprise your app. These will help you understand functionalities in a clearer and more organized way from a project management perspective, and they will also give you a clear idea of what the cost of your app might be.
Find the Right Development Partner
The easiest way to find out whether you need an MVP app for your retail business or not is to ask a trusted app development partner. Doing so can help you make better decisions that will surely have a strong positive impact on your business in the long term.
At Koombea, we’ve been helping retailers build world-class apps since 2007. Our retail app development expertise has helped us gain our customers’ trust, allowing them to make the right decisions based on their business needs. We don’t just tell businesses what we want; we share our honest thoughts on what is best from a strategic perspective.
If you’re looking out to see if you need an MVP for your retail app, contact us for a free consultation. We’d love to help you make the right decision.