Without A Mobile App, Your Retail Store Is Falling Behind
Sean McGowanApril 07th, 20178 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
Take a deep breath. I’m about to hit you with some game-changing, groundbreaking information: your customers use their mobile phones. A lot. Maybe you knew that already. But did you know just how extensive our mobile phone usage is?
Americans are so dependent on their phones that in a recent study, it was found that of the 64% of Americans who own a smartphone, 46% “couldn’t live without” it.
Dramatic? Maybe. But the exaggeration speaks volumes about how much we rely on our mobile devices.
As more of us interface with the world through our smartphone, more and more retailers are responding by hiring mobile app development agencies.
Here’s why your retail store needs a mobile app to survive in the modern age.
The Competition Is Already There
It’s Mom’s classic adage; her favorite phrase. “If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”
“No”, you’d sheepishly reply. Now let’s make a slight amendment—“if all of your competitors had an engaging, lucrative mobile app, would you invest in one too?”
The answer is a resounding “yes”. There are countless reasons why your retail store should have a mobile app, but perhaps the easiest one to convey is that everyone else is doing it. Your competitors are no exception.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business or an e-commerce giant, Codal clients of all sizes have found success when offering their new, expertly crafted mobile application experience.
Alibaba, for example, recently announced they generate more revenue from mobile customers than non-mobile. In their second quarter of last year, Ebay posted a report stating that $9.5 billion of their sales came from mobile users.
On the other end of the spectrum, small businesses can benefit from a retail app as well. The graphic below shows that nearly half of consumers use their mobile devices to explore small businesses, resulting in 18% of them making a purchase.
The shortest explanation why your retail store is falling behind the competition? Because everyone else has a mobile app.
Mobile Retail & Small Business - (Source)
Engage Your Customers The Way They Engage With You
Remember that insane statistic I referenced earlier in this post? The one about nearly two-thirds of all Americans having and using a smartphone?
It turns out that 88% of those smartphone owners use retail mobile apps. And they’re using them for far more than simple tasks like order tracking or finding store hours—they’re using them everywhere, and in every context imaginable. Take a look at the chart below.
The major takeaway from this data is that consumers don’t just expect your retail store to have a mobile app—they expect it to have all of the above features and functionalities, ready to be accessed at the tap of a screen.
Another key conclusion this data supports is the striking amount of consumers that use retail apps to actually make purchases. Until recently, most retail apps existed as a supplement to a retailer’s other offerings.
The purpose of an app used to be to guide a customer to visit a website, or a brick & mortar store, to actually shop.
Those days are gone. As shown in the graph below, retail sales on smartphones are skyrocketing. If your retail store doesn’t have a mobile app, you’re leaving money on the table.
This is how consumers shop in 2017. This is how consumers will continue to shop for the foreseeable future. This is how your loyal customers want to engage with you. If you don’t return the favor, they’ll find another retailer.
Why Not Just A Mobile Webpage?
Maybe you’re arguing that your retail store doesn’t need an app, when it already has a website optimized for mobile phones.
Don’t get me wrong, having a mobile site is important. But it doesn’t offer the same engaging experience that an app does, and customers know this.
Retail apps are more interactive, comprehensive, and create a seamless, user-friendly experience that even the best mobile websites can’t replicate. Apps also have the advantage of connecting with the customer in fun ways, which is great for developing your brand’s personality.
Still not convinced? Studies indicate that 90% of media time is spent using apps, not a browser.
Given the choice between a mobile-optimized site, and a mobile app, customers choose the latter, every time.
Apps Vs. Mobile Sites (Source)
So what are you waiting for?
Whether you build the app yourself, or enlist the services of a mobile app design company, it’s time to stop reading and start building. After that, all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and watch as your customer base, and profits, increase like never before.