A Look into The Crystal Ball: Are Single-Retailer Mobile Apps Dead?
We asked five industry experts whether the idea of individual retailers maintaining eCommerce enabled apps are a thing of the past.
Are single-retailer mobile apps dead?
I’m not sure that mobile apps are dead, but retailers and service providers need to think long and hard about the reason for having an app before considering developing or sustaining one. If it replicates an existing service or proposition that already exists, then it is unlikely to feel customer centric.
In my opinion, apps should only exist to complement, add value to, or streamline an existing product or service.
No, mobile apps for individual retailers are not dead. But you must be clear about why you are building an app in the first place. A good app will use the functionality of the device it is on and will interact with the environment it is in.
The third-most downloaded retail app in the world is the Walgreens app. One of the reasons that the Walgreens app is so successful is that it adds an extra layer of convenience to their services, including stock-checking, and ordering repeat prescriptions at your local pharmacy. It is a really simple but very convenient piece of functionality – and that is the key to success.
Marks & Spencer
The distinction between native apps and web apps will continue to blur, especially as internet connectivity improves both in-store and on the move.
The reality is that native apps will continue to provide a better experience for customers in the short term.
This was what was said of the high-street travel shops when online internet ticketing was introduced and yet here we are. I believe that the concept of mobile apps will remain, and will be supplemented with other offerings such as fully mobile sites, and mini-programs such as those being introduced by WeChat.
However, the utility offered by apps will need to be convincing enough to inspire users to use it regularly, rather than just downloading it and forgetting about it.
To 'fight the battle' with the more tech savvy pure players, established retailers have to focus on the customer experience.
What can you do to add value in the relationship with your customers, expert advice, help, enhanced after sales experiences, services in store?
Make it easy for me! Leverage the physical scale you already have in retail locations and enable real time stock information available immediately in customer’s location. What could be better for this than an app!
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