How to Create a Retail App That Will Win the Hearts of Users

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Julia Sakovich
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Feb 3, 2022

Could you only imagine a decade ago, that today you can “go shopping” without even leaving your house? And we are talking not only about some particular items that you can buy online. We are talking about “full-scale” shopping that presupposes buying everything that you can only wish for: from food and drinks to automotive spare parts, clothes, devices and many other things. Today custom ecommerce development services boast growing popularity as more and more retailers, being inspired by the success of other market players, want to go online.

Our team has solid expertise in ecommerce application development. We work with businesses of different sizes and types, so we understand the needs and expectations of different kinds of companies. We are ready to share this knowledge with you. If you want to build a retail app, just keep reading this article.

eCommerce market: Today and Tomorrow

If we just say that the ecommerce market today is actively expanding, we will definitely say nothing new. That’s exactly what all internet users can notice these days. It’s highly likely that you also have at least one app of this type on your smartphone. Aren’t we right?

One of the recent boosters for the e-commerce market was (and still is) the coronavirus pandemic. Probably you remember the days when people practically all over the world had to stay at home because of the lockdowns. Many traditional shops were closed and the only possibility to buy something was to order it online. Today the COVID-19 measures are not so strict and stores are open. But people still actively use web and mobile apps to make purchases as it is really convenient.

Let’s have a look at the figures.

According to the data of UNCTAD, online retail sales had a 16% share of total retail sales in 2019. In 2020, this figure reached 19% and got closer to 21% in 2021. It is expected that in 2025, almost a quarter of all retail sales will take place online.

Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2025
Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/379046/worldwide-retail-e-commerce-sales/

As consumers, we all should agree that online shopping has a lot of benefits despite some inconveniences (for example, you can’t touch the material of a new dress before ordering it). First of all, you can make purchases 24/7 when comfortable for you. Secondly, you can save time as you do not need to go anywhere. And thirdly, it helps to forget about borders. What do we mean? We mean that by buying online you can easily order something from another country and it will be delivered in just a couple of days (or weeks).

According to recent studies, nearly 70% of online buyers order goods from foreign sites. Already in 2022, almost 25% of all online retail transactions are expected to be cross-border.

Importance of an app for retail business

But if everything is more or less clear with the benefits of retail apps for consumers, what can we say about businesses themselves? Is it feasible for them to pay for eCommerce app development and its support?

Below you can find a couple of key reasons to consider an option to build a retail app for your business.

  1. You can reach a wider audience. The number of smartphone users and the time that people spend using their mobile devices daily are constantly growing. While making purchases via a browser may be somewhat inconvenient, it is effortless to place an order in a few clicks in an app.
  2. With an app, you can ensure an enhanced customer experience which will positively affect clients’ loyalty.
  3. An application is a convenient channel for establishing communication with clients, providing the necessary support, and informing them about special offers, updates, and different important events.
  4. Moreover, you can quickly launch and track different bonus and loyalty campaigns to motivate users to buy more with a mobile or web app.
  5. An app allows you to get the statistics of user behavior quickly, analyze the received data, and introduce the required changes in your business model or offers to fully satisfy people’s needs.
  6. You can enrich your app with the most advanced features to increase your client satisfaction and make their shopping process even more pleasant. These days we recommend paying attention to AR-based functionality. You can read more about the latest trends in eCommerce software development here.
  7. A good mobile app will help you increase awareness about your brand (products), create the desired image, and shape a favorable opinion of your business.

All this will lead to an increase in sales and, consequently, in your profits. Isn't that exactly what you want?

Retail app development: What features do users expect to have?

Suppose you have plans to power your business with a software solution. In that case, you need to understand how to create a retail app before you (or a hired team) will proceed to an eCommerce application development process.

Of course, the exact set of features that should be added to the app will vary depending on your business’s specificity, the products you offer, and the needs of your target audience.  For example, if we are talking about the IKEA app, it has AR features that allow users to arrange furniture in their rooms virtually to look at whether this or that table or sofa will look good there. On the other hand, such apps as the Starbucks app (it lets users pay for their coffee before coming to a cafe) do not have anything like that. It is simply unnecessary given the specificity of offered products.

However, there is a list of functionality that can be considered universal for any retail app. Let’s have a look at it.

  • Product preview and detailed info
  • Review and feedback section
  • Product rate
  • User registration section and personal account
  • Mobile payments
  • Push notifications
  • Filtering and sorting options
  • Geo location-based offers
  • Offline performance (it’s natural that not the entire functionality can be available in an offline mode, but users should still be able to interact with your app even when they are not connected to the internet)
  • Price checker
  • Product customization (if it applies to your products)
  • Social-share functionality
  • QR-code reader
  • Shopping cart
  • Shipping options

As it is not a complete list of all possible features, feel free to offer your ideas to developers. Maybe these features that you will invent on your own will make your app unique.

But do not forget: it doesn’t matter whether you want to start with a web app or a mobile solution, make sure that it will look and feel equally good on every device.

We are just the right team for you. Rich expertise, modern tech stack and deep understanding of market trends help us build solutions that wow users.

e-Commerce App Builders vs. Custom Retail App: Which option is better for you?

There are two options for those who want to build a retail app. An app can be developed either from scratch or with the help of a builder. Both approaches have their pluses and minuses. That’s why we offer you to consider them both to make the right decision in your case.

App BuilderCustom development
TimeIt can help to save your timeIt can be a rather time-consuming process
PerformanceThe efficiency and performance can be lower in comparison to custom developmentYou can get an advanced app that demonstrates excellent performance and ensures the highest user satisfaction
CustomizationA builder has a set of plugins and themes that can be used. You can get a good app with basic featuresThis option allows full customization, and as a result, you will have a solution that will be fully tailored to your needs
CostsA cheaper optionA more expensive option
Support and maintenanceThe support can be rather expensive as it requires the involvement of experts from the side of an app builderIt is easier and more affordable to support a custom app

As you see, using an app builder is faster and cheaper to launch a solution. But with custom development, you get more freedom and flexibility. Moreover, do not forget that to ensure an application’s stable functioning, you shouldn’t ignore such essential points as support and maintenance. And from this perspective, with a custom app, everything looks much more positive.

eCommerce application development: Important integrations

Quite often, developers integrate third-party tools or services using APIs to expand the functionality of a solution and save time.

For a retail app, the most popular integrations are the following ones:

  • Payment gateways (the most highly-demanded integration for an eCommerce solution). This service allows users to conduct payments directly via an app securely. We can mention Stripe, Paypal, Worldpay as examples here.
  • Shipping system. It can allow clients to track orders online and know their real-time location and shipping status. With it, you can better execute stock management and order processing and minimize risks of human errors. The most widely used APIs are Shippo, Sellbrite, Shipstation.
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. This functionality will let you access all clients’ data, analyze buying behavior, better plan your business expansion, and forecast changes in clients’ demands. As for CRM APIs, there are several options, including Hubspot, Zoho, Copper.
  • Online chat. Live chat is a very efficient solution for providing support services for buyers. With a live chat, clients’ problems can be solved quickly, which can significantly increase their loyalty. As third-party solutions, quite often, developers use Twilio or Zendesk.
  • Accounting tools. An accounting management system integrated into your retail app can be a good idea to streamline and facilitate numerous business processes for you and your team. NetSuite, XERO, or Quickbooks are among the most widely applied APIs.

Yes, all these features can be built from scratch but using third-party APIs can help you to save your time and money spent on development. That's why we recommend considering these options for your solution.

Wrapping up

Actually, an eCommerce application development process can be a much more challenging task than it may seem at first glance. To build such a solution, you need to have strong development and design skills and a good understanding of your client’s demands and market expectations. If you are going to launch such an app and need professional help, you can always contact our team. At Geomotiv, we always approach each project individually and deeply study all the requirements to offer the best solutions that will be enriched with the most valuable features for end-users. To discuss our potential cooperation, contact our team via our website.

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