Source: Shutterstock

Building a retail app? Here’s what you should think about

WITH more and more consumers seeking convenience in their shopping experience, retail companies are turning to technology that epitomizes ease of use and can be woven into our daily lives.

The surge in mobile app development reflects this trend, with a new report by Criteo, a personalized retargeting company, suggesting apps are the new face of retail. According to the report, 72 percent of consumers in APAC prefer to shop at home on retail apps.

E-commerce apps are taking over consumers’ mobile devices, with over half of all APAC smartphone owners having two to five apps installed.

Millennials appear to be especially keen on retail apps, with a reported 90 percent shown to make purchases via an app.

Whilst the use of mobile sites and websites are still very much needed by consumers, the flexibility and ease that comes with browsing on a retail app cannot be ignored. The apps’ importance as part of a business’ omni-channel offering is fundamental.

Millennials seem to be especially keen on retail apps, with a reported 90 percent shown to make purchases via an app. Source: Shutterstock

The popularity of the e-commerce app is very much driven by the prevalence and proximity of mobile. According to Enterprise Innovation, two in three shoppers use a smartphone purely because it is the closest device to them.

With this in mind, it becomes crucial to ensure apps are built in a manner that epitomizes convenience and customer-first features.

Building your app around customer experience

Retail apps should make the shopping journey for the user more convenient, with this being ranked as the main factor driving people to both download and reuse these applications. To ensure convenience, a retail app should include the following features:

Fast navigation: 64 percent of shoppers expect pages to load in four seconds or less. Thus, your business should ensure that your app avoids anything that may slow compute time, such as too many animations.

Ease of use: An app should be designed so that minimal effort is required to access content, with easy and intuitive actions to navigate, such as the tap of the finger to select and the swipe of a finger to scroll. Research has shown that a quarter of all shoppers will abandon carts if navigation is too complex.

The variety and searchability of products: A predominant cause for the deletion of e-commerce apps centers around poor selection or difficulty in finding products. The wide range and availability of products has been ranked by APAC shoppers as one of an app’s three most valuable features.

Flexible payment options and fast delivery: Other attributes regarded highly by consumers is the need for flexible payment options, with 53 percent of APAC consumers considering this among the top three most valuable features of a retail app. Following from the most valuable features is fast delivery options, with 45 percent regarding this as a priority.

Flexible payment options and fast delivery are considered top attributes by APAC retail app shoppers.                 Source: Shutterstock

Going beyond the app

It is clear that apps are a business must-have, as people increasingly turn to the technology to manage every aspect of their lives, from shopping for basic essentials to tracking how much water they drink in a day. The global average time spent on apps is 192 minutes a day – that’s plenty.

Despite this, it is important to realise that apps alone will not bring in new customers. Instead, they should support and facilitate existing customers, bringing convenience and an all-over positive user experience.