A retail mobile app is an invaluable asset in 2019. Studies show that more people are doing their shopping online – in fact, 67% of customers in the UK, Australia, Canada and the United States have shopped online, which is about the same as the number of people who visited a store (around 68%). This means that each retailer has half their potential audience online and the best way to engage them is with a retail app. While we have discussed the benefits of a retail app in the past, we have seldom discussed the cost of building one, which is the objective of this post.
There are three types of costs associated with building a retail mobile app. Whether you are a small retailer or national chain, these are costs to account for when investing in an app.
Mobile retail apps incur more than just a development cost, there is also a management cost that needs to be considered. The retail app cannot just be developed and left on the store as there need to be resources dedicated to its maintenance so that it functions seamlessly. Working with a technology provider makes it easier to manage apps because they can streamline management costs and make the entire development process much easier.
Retailers can choose between an app built in-house or pick a standard app customised for their purpose. Building a custom mobile retail app means a personalised app that fits perfectly into your business model. However, it is going to be very expensive to do because the app will have to be built from the ground up and the retailer will have to front the cost of its development. On the other hand, using a more standard app will reduce the cost, but it won’t be as customisable.
Consumers are not going to download an app just because it is there. There needs to be a plan to engage customers, a steady stream of promotional content coming from the app that will get customers to return to the store. Retailers need to give shoppers incentives to download the app, some of these incentives include membership perks, like discounts and exclusive offers. In fact, 90% of consumers say that their decision to download an app depends on the perks and services they gain from the app.
A mobile retail app is so powerful because it engages past customers and gives them a reason to come back to your store, which in turn encourages repeat business. However, planning out these incentives represents a cost. Personalised communications is a great way to communicate with the customer, but it represents a cost to retailers until the profits begin to trickle in. Retailers should be wary of these costs when building the app.
Retail apps do represent a cost, but there are some ways to subvert the cost of building an app. The best way to do that is to work with a technology provider who can build a standard mobile app and tweak it to match their unique needs. eposEX is one such provider – we provide EPOS systems for retail and hospitality businesses. Along with EPOS software, eposEX can also provide a mobile app without incurring a significant cost. Retailers can use the mobile app and the EPOS software to improve operational efficiency and make significant gains in sales. Furthermore, customer engagement will improve significantly because they can use the mobile app to draw in more customers repeatedly.
A retail mobile app is an incredible asset for long-term gains – the key to success for any small and medium-sized retailers is customer engagement. With customer engagement, customers have a reason to keep going back to the store to buy goods and services. However, before investing in a mobile app, retailers need to think about the resources needed to make this app a reality. A cost-benefit analysis is a great way to assess the value of the retail app because it ensures that smaller retailers are not spending too much of their money or going beyond their means when building the app.