Must-Have Features for Every Retail App


Mobile shopping has already become a norm. Global mobile commerce currently accounts for 34% of all eCommerce transactions, and the numbers are expected to increase by 31% in 2017. Thus, not having a solid mobile strategy is no longer an option for online retailers.

A mobile application can be a valuable asset for any retail business as it offers numerous benefits. A mobile app can increase your sales, help you provide better customer service, improve your user engagement and client retention as well as increase brand awareness.

However, in order to deliver the expected results, it should have a specific set of features that address the main user needs, which is what naturally makes your product valuable.

Therefore, if you are planning to build an app for your retail business, make sure you include these essential features into your backlog.

Read also: How to Create a Mobile App Specification

mCommerce app MVP

Before we begin listing features, it is worth mentioning here that you will add them gradually throughout the development of your app and updates and there are ways to save some initial costs.

Your app MVP (Minimum Viable Product), the very first version of the future mCommerce app, will include only the most essential features such as representing your goods and services and offering a contact form. You can start with a simple no-backend app – a mobile catalog with a contact form. After which you can gather users’ feedback and continue with the development, building new features and taking advantage of mCommerce opportunities.

Read also: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Developing an MVP

The most essential retail app features

  • Product listing (by category) is the core function of your mCommerce app. A clear and well-structured product directory provides instant access to the items in stock.
  • Filters (by sub-category, price, characteristics, etc.) will help your customers navigate through your goods selection with minimum effort.
  • Shopping cart is the place where the user can add items before checking out. It is important to set a sync between the carts on different devices (if a user is logged in) for a better omnichannel experience.
  • Personal account, shopping history, and a shopping (wish) list store the user’s personal info and keeps record of purchased items or items a customer wants to buy.
  • Price check and item availability can come in handy if you have dynamic pricing or a limited number of items in stock.
  • Product demos (characteristics, info, rating and reviews) help your customers make informed decisions when buying from you. As a result, you will limit the number of returns and improve overall customer experience.
  • Product search can help the user look for a specific item by name or reference number.
  • Online payments/reservation/order (depending on the type of your product and ability to built a payment system in your app)

Comprehensive analytics for admin

The most essential feature for a retail business owner is gathering analytics about customers’ activity. Mobile app is not only meant to provide better customer service, but at the same time it’s a powerful marketing and analytical tool.

You can find out in real time when, where and what is on high demand, make your promotional campaigns more personalized and effective and keep track of marketing activities effectiveness.

Read also: How long does it take to create an app

These features will give you an advantage over competitors:

  • Comparison shopping will give your customers additional benefits when choosing between several options (based on price, characteristics, and ratings). Thus, a user can add several items for comparison and receive detailed information about each one of them, all in one place, in a convenient and clear fashion.
  • Advanced personalization can be achieved through location-based services (Beacons or simply GPS tracking) or customized suggestions, based on previous searches or shopping history. Based on a survey conducted by Swirl Networks, 88% of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers that deliver personalized experiences. Adding a personal touch to your mobile app will boost your customer experience and improve your conversion rate.
  • Push notifications help you reconnect with your customers and improve user engagement. By sending out timely alerts about special offers or limited discounts you build loyalty, has proven to result in increased sales.
  • In-app customer service, represented by an online assistant, has proven to be invaluable addition to a mobile commerce product. In fact, American Marketing Association has found that live chats can increase your conversion by 20%, making the customers three times more likely to buy from you. Providing answers to all customer’s questions right in the process of a purchase can reduce the cart abandonment rate. Alternatively, you can implement a “Click to Call” option instead of offering live chat.

Read also: Personal Shopper Apps Development

Implement these features as a nice little bonus

  • Map of the physical store or pickup locations can provide added value for your customers. Instead of forcing them to “google” your actual address or look up the nearest store, you can provide this information right in the app. Users will certainly appreciate this small bonus.
  • Coupons and loyalty programs add a hint of gamification to your app, keeping your users engaged and bringing additional revenue to your business. Research finds that 39% of consumers tend to spend more if offered mobile coupons.
  • Order tracking developed directly within your app will undeniably make your customer’s life easier. The sale is not over when your customer selects the “Buy” button. You build trust and loyalty with your customers by providing them with the option to view their order status and location (for delivery or shipment options).
  • Social sharing can help you grow your customer base and increase online brand awareness with minimum effort. As we all know, word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools. Just think about it, would you rather buy from a store that you simply found online or from one that was personally recommend to you by a friend or family member?

Final Word

Global retail leaders are already reaping the benefits of mCommerce and their mobile sales are expected to reach over $669 billion by 2018.

If you want to make your business to be adaptable to the dynamics of future online retail and keep it competitive and relevant to your audience, then consider building a mobile app to complement your online or offline presence. In this case, the features listed above will help you achieve a higher return on your investment, better overall customer satisfaction and increased revenue.

Do you want to develop an app for your retail business but don’t know where to start? Book a free consultation from our specialists today!

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