To start with, let's admit that eCommerce is probably one of the largest markets that go hand in hand with digitalization. And when it comes to mCommerce, this market grows at an incredible pace. 

For the next several years, the average annual growth of mobile commerce is projected to reach 27%, with an overall increase in smartphone adoption by no less than 10%.

What should this statistical data mean to retail business owners? The answer is that accounting for the growing demand for mCommerce solutions, a mobile app for retail shifts its status from a potentially beneficial option to a necessity that will allow them to remain competitive in the coming years, whether by unleashing the power of modern technologies or allowing users to explore products virtually.

Now, let's dive deeper into this topic to see what are the exact benefits offered by mobile apps leveraged to retail business, what makes a good modern app, and how to estimate its development cost.

Benefits of Mobile Apps for Offline Retail

Today we witness a common belief that offline retail is becoming a thing of the past and with each passing day gets replaced with online shopping. And while there are grounds for this belief, such as data showing that 51% of all Americans prefer to shop online, the truth is that most retail business owners still profit from owning offline shops. How?

The answer can be represented by data provided by Retail Dive, which states that the ability to touch, test, and see the product in offline shops is a crucial competitive advantage that the brick-and-mortar model has over online shops. Still, there are some changes in customer behavior retailers need to address. 

For example, research by Business.com shows that two-thirds of people who shop offline get used to checking the product's price online before buying it. And things are not just in the price. People love the feeling of keeping pace with the times, and it's given by technological solutions, together with an extra convenience added to the top of the cake.

So how can a retail app help offline businesses to get closer to their customers? 

In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, mobile apps for retail also add to your business modernity, in this way contributing to higher interest, involvement, and conversion rates of your potential customers. And the good things don’t end here.

How a Retail App Helps to Improve Your Business

There are far more ways in which a retail business can benefit from owning their own app, whether the talk is about improved sales, loyalty, or the ability to take advantage of data analytics. Now, let’s take a look at the advantageous essentials offered by mobile apps leveraged in retail.

Coverage of Wider Audience 

The development of a mobile app for your retail business allows you to expand your horizons by reaching not just those people who live close to your shop location or accidentally walk somewhere nearby but everyone who has and uses their mobile phone.  

Boosted Sales 

If you need proof that mobile apps contribute to increased sales,  take a look at numbers:

Another factor that leads to boosted sales is that the mobile app allows introducing your audience to loyalty programs on time, and for sure, it serves as a great competitive advantage.

Increased Loyalty to Brand

There are various ways in which an m-retail app adds to your brand prominence: it's in loyalty programs that increase interest among your customers in using your app, or in the access to the exclusive content. The latter can be represented by some kind of in-app currency, like stars in the Starbucks app. The idea is the following: your customers get this currency for every visit to your store, every purchase, or for taking part in activities offered by your company. Later, they can use this in-app currency to pay for goods or receive discounts.

Analysis of Customer Behavior

One of the most useful things an m-retail app has on offer, is access to the statistics of purchases that allows analyzing shopping data of each individual client. You can use this data for the creation of personalized offers that hit the target because they’re based on information about previous purchases and current browsing requests. 

More statistics that adds to personalization of offerings includes:

  • Average time spent in the app
  • Shopping cart abandonment rate
  • The time between adding an item to a cart and purchasing it 

How to Create a Retail App and Features to Look For

Mobile app development is quite similar to the creation of a blockbuster: if you want it to be terrific, you need professional assistance. And one of the possible options is to outsource mobile app creation to a software company with a good track record in retail app development, the one that can take you through all stages of retail app development.

Still, even when cooperating with a trusted technology partner such as your fellow Emerline, an important piece of ‘work’ still remains on your side, and it’s in the provision of answers to questions that will help your provider create a clear picture of what exactly you want to make your brightest ideas come to life. 

So what are these questions?

Having clear answers to these questions is important because it will help a software development company give you an accurate estimate for your project.

Now, addressing the last question in the list, let’s look at the essential features of a modern retail app, so you can create a picture of what it should look like. It will be easier for you to plan some unique features ahead.

Product finder

If your business offers a lot of different products, it's wise to include a smart search function into your app, so that your users will be able to find products they want under certain characteristics (color, size, collection, etc.)  and avoid endless and annoying scrolling through all the pages of the catalog. One more good feature that your users might admire is a camera-based search.

QR code reader

With the help of a QR code scanning feature, your customers will be able to find all the important information about the product (its price, reviews, shopping rates) within seconds. People do appreciate such things, as they don’t just save time but also contribute to a much greater level of satisfaction with the shopping experience.  

Push notifications

If you want your customers to be aware of all promotions and news, as well as ensure that they receive personalized offerings on time, a push notification feature is what you need. To reap more benefits from notifications, you can make your notifications interactive, suggesting your customers take certain actions, for example, for information gathering purposes that, again, can be transformed into more personalized offerings. 

Mobile payments

Because there are different ways in which your customers prefer to pay for the products or services, it's important to integrate your retail mobile app with all the leading payment services, including PayPal, Apple Pay, and Android Pay.

Location-based services

One more way to keep your customers close to your business and inform them of all the special offers ASAP is through the use of iBeacons. This technology ensures that the information comes to the user in the right place at the right time: for example, sending greetings when a customer enters the store or offering products based on previous purchases. 

To conclude this part, let’s point out that apps for retailers have to ensure a consistent user experience for shoppers, no matter which way of making a purchase they choose — mobile, online, or in-store. This requires integration of the retail store apps with the retail store website, inventory management, and other systems used in a retail company. The app may also need an admin panel to manage app users, add new products, view stats, etc.

So How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Retail App?

This is the question that many clients ask software companies, and the answer is that the cost of development can range from a few thousand dollars for a basic app to tens of thousands of dollars for a complicated savvy solution. So what are the key factors that define the cost of building your retail app?

Size and scale of the app

It is quite obvious that the more features you want to add, the more advanced these features are, the more devices and platforms the app should be designed for, the more integrations with third-party services are needed, and the more elaborated app management system is required, the higher the app development cost is.

Hourly rates for design and development

Though the size and scale of the app define the time needed to make it, the rates of developers vary significantly (from about $15 per hour to over $200 per hour). So, with the same timeframe and level of quality, the final cost for building an app can vary from one company to another.

Testing and debugging

Although the design and development account for the majority of expenses, testing also constitutes a notable part of an app creation budget. QA & testing is required both as a part of the development process to ensure continuous monitoring of all possible issues, as well as before the app’s release to check that all requirements are met.

In any case, it is not possible to give an estimate for creating a hypothetical retail app. Every project has its specifics and requires an individual approach. The more details you provide to the developers, the more realistic estimate you will get. So if you have an idea of developing an app and want to know how much it will cost you, you can always reach our specialists for an estimate. 

At Emerline, we know how to make retail app development right, leverage the power of innovations, and ensure the design that will make your customers want to use your solution. One of the more recent projects we delivered to a company operating in retail is an AR shopping app that allows customers to forget about shopping nightmares and make an easy choice from a variety of options with augmented reality used as a ‘try it on’ tool.

You can learn more about the product and the process of its development to create a clearer picture of how we can contribute to your business success. And always feel free to contact us, for price estimation, consultation, or any other questions you want to clarify in terms of retail app development services.