If your eCommerce or retail business is interested in building a retail application, there are several features that you should consider including. Mobile apps and devices have changed the way consumers shop in-store and altered customer expectations. If your retail business wants to innovate and get ahead of the competition, developing a mobile app to complement your retail store is necessary.
This post will explore top features your retail business should consider including in its mobile app. We will cover some of the basic features consumers must-have in retail mobile apps and more innovative features that can help your retail business completely transform the traditional Customer Experience.
Best Features for Retail Apps
If your retail business is simply trying to create a mobile extension of its website, it is taking the wrong approach to mobile app development. Instead, to build a successful retail app, you must focus on delivering value to your users.
While many businesses have mobile apps, most retailers fail to use them to improve the Customer Experience online and in-store. These features are important to customers and will help your business deliver a great User Experience:
- Product information and comparison
- Reward program
- Mobile checkout
- Store navigation
- Augmented Reality
- Customer service
Product Information and Comparison
Consumers primarily use retail apps to review product information and comparison shop. Therefore, if you want to develop a mobile app for your retail business, give consumers the information they want on your app. For example, when customers want to compare multiple products and view those offered by a competitor, you should give them the ability in your retail app.
The alternative for consumers is to check multiple websites and apps for comparison. This approach is more time-consuming for them and increases the chances that your customer will find what they are looking for elsewhere. By providing all of the product and comparison information your customers are looking for in one place, you keep them on your mobile app.
In addition, if you want to create a great Customer Experience, you should give customers the ability to check prices and inventory levels for products on your shelves. How often have you gone to the store and were unsure how much a particular product costs? Have you ever asked a store associate if they had any more of an item in the back? These are common customer questions that your retail business can address through an application.
Customers love getting rewarded for making purchases. As a result, reward programs are a common staple in the retail industry. However, many businesses don’t offer their customers instant, digital access to rewards data. One feature you should include in your retail app is reward program tracking. Give your customers the ability to track the rewards they have earned and inform them how they can utilize their rewards for special discounts, products, or promotions.
Giving your customers the ability to actively track rewards also helps gamify their shopping experience and encourages them to spend more. Reward and loyalty programs are a great way to engage your customers and offer them special things for their continued patronage of your business.
Mobile payment is a significant benefit of mobile apps. However, retail businesses can take mobile payments further by creating mobile checkout experiences. We are not talking about mobile wallet payments but full-fledged mobile checkout. So, for example, as customers choose items and place them in their cart, they can also scan and pay for them through your retail mobile app.
Mobile checkout completely transforms the Customer Experience and allows retailers to reimagine the spaces traditionally used to check out customers. Mobile checkout might sound far-fetched, but major retail brand Sam’s Club already provides this feature in its mobile app.
Do you operate a large retail location? Providing store navigation features in your retail app can be a great opportunity if you have a big store. If this feature is well-designed, customers won’t need to ask where a certain product is located. Instead, they can use your mobile app to get specific navigation directions for any store item.
Major brands like Home Depot and Walgreens are combining the power of advanced inventory tracking, wayfinding technology, and Augmented Reality to help guide their customers through their buying journey. So not only can your brand use store navigation features to assist customers, but your retail business can also use these features to create custom customer journeys that guide users through an entire shopping trip.
We have briefly touched on using Augmented Reality for store navigation features, but AR can be used in several creative ways to improve the retail experience for customers. For example, your mobile app can allow customers to virtually try on outfits, view furniture in specific locations, or even experiment with different shades of lipstick and makeup. The possibilities for Augmented Reality are truly limitless.
Your project management team might not think that AR features are right for your retail app, but the truth is most businesses can create more engaging experiences for their users with HiTech features like AR.
Customer service is one of the most important and one of the most overlooked aspects of retail apps. Your mobile app needs to be able to help users get the help that they need. Sometimes a simple FAQ page will suffice, but in other cases, you will need to provide customer support features like AI-powered chatbots, live chat with a customer service representative, and the ability to make calls to the service department directly from the mobile app.
Don’t overlook the value of customer service features. If your users can’t get the help they need, or if getting the help they want is too difficult, your brand image will suffer, and you will lose business. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to customer service. However, you need to prioritize simplicity for your users.
Creating a retail app can help your business gain a competitive edge in the market. However, you need to focus on creating a User Experience that benefits your customers and encourages them to shop with you. Building a retail application doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should speak with an experienced app development partner for guidance and technical insight.