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Mobile apps in retail: Who needs them?

Mobile apps

The lack of guidelines or general wisdom as to which retailers should have a mobile app and which shouldn’t, can be confusing, says Ben Davis in an article on the Econsultancy blog. He thinks there:-

…”is a burgeoning anti-app movement, fuelled in part by the move to adaptive or responsive websites. On top of this, the growth in app downloads is in sharp decline and we seem to be reaching market maturation for apps, in those countries that have highest smartphone adoption.”

Of course, there are some inspiring uses of mobile in retail. So, he asks, where should apps lie in a priority list of ecommerce to-dos? Which apps are succeeding and which are not? The Econsultancy blog goes on to list some criteria and rationales for developing a mobile retail app:

-          The users must be regular customers
-          Does the app improve the in-store customer experience, perhaps with a loyalty program or quicker payment option?
-          Does it simplify the customer experience out of store, for niche products sometimes defined by mobility?
-          Does it improve the online shopping experience for large and perhaps lifestyle-based shopping ranges?
-          For big pure plays and supermarkets, Ben Davis argues, apps can help customers track orders and order history, and place repeat orders.

I very much agree that having an app just for the app’s sake is a bad idea. Apps may be considered the new Web, but too many companies fail to use them to actually engage with their customers. Before developing an app, you need to think very hard about what you want to achieve with it, and how to make it stand out. How does it help the user? How does it help you improve your customer’s loyalty? Does it deliver what it says on the tin?

With an estimated one million mobile apps representing 40 billion downloads by consumers around the globe, you need to make sure your app works hard and fast, and for any device and any user. You also need to ensure your developers can cope with all these new devices and operating systems by building once and deploying anywhere. Make use of proven technology that covers these key requirements reliably such as the new Diffusion MAP, and focus your creativity and resources on bringing your users an app that they will love.

To help you find out what users think makes an app good or bad, we are running a short survey. If you haven’t taken part yet, complete our 10 question survey now and register your email to receive a copy of our findings.

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