Mobile Retail Apps: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Mobile retail apps have evolved massively in recent years; the best ones achieve must-have status by providing incentives so valuable that users are happy to be identified across online and in-store—whether that’s by account number, location, or by scanning a QR code. The real challenge is building an application flexible enough, responsive enough, and valuable enough to grant access to those precious insights.

A recent Shopify trend report, ‘The Future of Commerce’, revealed that a growing number of consumers are returning to in-store shopping. In fact, over the next year alone, 54% of consumers surveyed said they’re likely to look at a product online and buy in-store, while 53% are likely to look at a product in-store and purchase online.

The report demonstrates that omnichannel shopping is here to stay, with retailers continually seeking new ways to strengthen and link their digital and online presences to compete. As a result, many retailers look to mobile retail apps to bridge the gap between in-store and online and create a seamless experience from research to purchase and beyond.

However, for a mobile shopping app to truly take off, ensuring a responsive, end-to-end user experience that provides self-service capabilities is key. Read on to discover some of the key aspects to consider when building an omnichannel mobile retail app, as well as common mistakes to avoid to ensure success.

Mobile retail apps: The good, the bad and the ugly

Here are the very best and worst mobile retail app features to look out for.

The Good

Let’s start with the best shopping app features on offer today. The most effective mobile retail apps on the market can recommend your nearest store(s), check stock levels in real-time, consolidate receipts across online and in-store purchases, deliver tailored offers for loyalty programme members, unlock exclusive access to in-store events and more.

Some of the most advanced mobile apps for retail stores provide a heightened sense of personalisation and even offer open payment options to further streamline the customer experience and remove friction when checking out.

All of these attributes enable a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience across digital and physical stores.

The Bad

Bad mobile retail apps are generally slow and clunky, with minimal functionality and added value. Lack of integration with third-party tools (for example Apple Wallet for storing loyalty cards) results in a poor user experience. These apps therefore have limited long-term appeal.

The Ugly

That brings us to the ugly. In addition to the qualities above, the very worst mobile shopping apps rely on the invasive use of personal data without providing any tangible added benefits to the user. If your mobile application falls into this category, then it’s time to stop what you’re doing and rethink fast.

Whether you’re starting from scratch, modernising or rethinking your mobile retail application, we work with organisations to boost performance and streamline the customer experience.

Learn More About Our Work with Mobile Retail Apps and the E-Commerce Sector

View our fact sheet now to find out how we’ve helped businesses like yours build responsive, customer-centric applications in retail and e-commerce.

Omnichannel retail: It all boils down to the data

When it comes to delivering a hyper-personalised shopping experience, it all boils down to the data. As a retailer, creating a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the customer in order to access that data is crucial.

It works both ways; you want to understand customers’ habits and behaviours better, so that you can better personalise the products and services you offer, and how you communicate with them. This requires you to collect comprehensive end-to-end usage data.

On the other hand, the customer wants to be rewarded for their loyalty with access to exclusive offers, discounts, and opportunities to self-serve for ultimate convenience.

If your mobile retail app is able to offer genuine value, then the user is more likely to be happy to consent to processing their data for personalisation and product improvement purposes. This can allow you to map customer behaviour across online and in-store experiences and connect the dots in the customer journey.

Related Read: Modernise Your E-Commerce Architecture with Open Source

Mobile shopping apps: How NearForm can help

The Shopify trend report demonstrates that consumers form purchasing decisions over time across multiple channels. As shoppers navigate the return to physical stores, retailers are competing for attention—but there is one way to create clear differentiation.

If your organisation is seeking to bridge the gap between online and in-store and create a truly omnichannel experience for customers, then a flexible, responsive, value-driven mobile retail app could be the answer.

At NearForm, we build highly performant retail applications to help our clients create a seamless user experience and deliver exceptional performance on demand. Our solutions operate at the highest levels of scale, security and resilience to create digital advantage for years to come.

Learn More About Our Work with Mobile Retail Apps and the E-Commerce Sector

View our fact sheet now to find out how we’ve helped businesses like yours build responsive, customer-centric applications in retail and e-commerce.

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