With the rapid development of technology, more companies are utilizing multi-channel retailing in order to maximize their sales and exposure.
A mobile app can bring many benefits to smaller retailer businesses; for starters, it allows you to put your products in front of a new audience, beyond this it allows you to build your brand and get an edge over your competition. Choosing what it should include, though, can be a struggle, especially if you’re trying to become an innovator and become the first among your competitors to develop one. As a smaller business, we suggest taking note of what the big players are doing but combining this with your individual expertise. Perhaps consider the following:
1. Social integration
Adding social integration to your app will allow users to share content from your app on popular social networks. Allowing people to like, comment on and share things will put your company in front of new audiences. For example, someone could ‘like’ an item of clothing, which may then appear on their friends’ Facebook feed. This allows all of their friends to view the item, and is almost a whole new form of advertising.
Customers need to be able to personalize the application, they should be able to go and adjust the settings according to their needs, for example being able to turn off notifications. By offering the customers a choice, it provides them with the satisfaction of knowing that the company has considered all of their needs. This will increase customer loyalty. Additional options could also be added, for example changing the font and theme of the application.
3. Mobile ordering and payments
People expect everything to be quick and easy. They want to be able to view items, place an order and pay for it from their phone. With the evolution of technology, everything is becoming fast-paced which is also heightening people’s expectations. They do not like to wait around; everything should be instant. If a company does not have an option for the customer to pay from their phone, it may lead to them abandoning their order. Imagine seeing an item on a phone, but then having to access the computer to buy it. This leaves space for abandonment and so these features are crucial.
4. Ease of use
Remember that the application will be used on a phone; therefore you need to ensure that you have a usable interface. It needs to be simple and you need to avoid forcing the customer to constantly click on things. They should be able to navigate through the application without any difficulty. Strike the perfect balance between text and pictures, but also ensure that information is available and relevant. You don’t want the customer to spend a long time searching for something on the application only to get fed up and uninstall it. Include features like click to call, and make the customers life easier. You also need to ensure that it does not take too long to load as customers are most likely to lose patience after about ten seconds.
5. Exclusive content
The mobile application needs to have content that is not available on the website. Customers need to feel as if they are getting something different from the application. A good idea is to have voucher codes and special offers that are only available on the phone, which will encourage customers to place an order. However, if the customer feels that the content is repetitive, they may just go ahead and uninstall the application because they can use the website if they need something. You want to maximize the benefits of the application and encourage the customers to utilize it. Think about ways to catch their attention and give them reasons to download and make use of the application.
Ecommerce has enhanced the customer experience but multi-channel retailing has transformed the entire way that people shop. You can now advertise and promote items through a smartphone which opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Author: Dean Ronnie is an expert in the field of multi-channel retail and is an advocate of emerging technologies and their use within a retail environment, Dean recommends Prima Solutions, providers of specialist multi-channel retail solutions.
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