Launching an App? Avoid failure with these 6 handy pointers

Launching an app

There are currently 19 shopping days (including today!) left until retailers close their doors for Christmas, and with the average British family expected to spend an average of £812.25 there are a lot of opportunities for retailers to increase their bottom line.

And it appears that most of this spend will come from online shopping, which according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) will be up this festive season by 11.8% compared to 2016.

And of these online purchases, it is expected that 54% of them will be made from a mobile device.  But when you consider that a study by L2 found that 56% of brands with an app has not updated it in the last year, it raises the question – are retailers missing a trick?

We know that consumers are using mobile devices to aid their shopping experience, whether that is researching a product or making the purchase, so why are retailers and brands not doing more with their apps?

The problem with retail apps

I have tried many retail apps in the past, often ditching the app and returning to the main site due to limitations with the app itself.  From not being suitable for my tablet to being difficult to navigate.  Unsurprisingly those apps soon get deleted and forgotten about.

If there is no value in the app, why would a consumer use it over the usual website?

Retailers must ensure that their apps offer something different to their standard site if they want to increase app usage.  Such as GAME who offer their customers personalised pricing via their app when customers scan products in the store. Instantly customers have a purpose for using the app over visiting the GAME website


Appinstitute produced their list of the top 10 retail apps, the common denominator is that they offer additional value to the consumer. One company making the top ten is ASOS, where it is reported that users spend 80 minutes per month in their app.  With that kind of usage, ASOS are clearly getting something right!

For retailers looking to create an app for the first, or improve an existing app here are some handy points to remember

Have a communication plan  

The biggest challenge for anyone launching an app is making sure that it is found.  Apps get ranked higher the more installs that are made in a short amount of time.  So if you are launching an App, get a plan in place to educate your customer base about the benefits and encourage them to download it!

Create an experience not just an app

The app needs to be offering something more than your website, otherwise what is the point.  Consumers will only use the app if it offers something more than they would usually get.  This could be special offers through a loyalty programme or just an easier mobile experience than what you would get from the website.  Think beyond the app and look at how you can create a unique mobile experience that offers true value to your customer.

Listen to your customers

Do your research.  Talk to your customers and find out what they want from your app and use this to form the basis of your app strategy moving forward.   Why spend time, money and effort creating an app that doesn’t do what your customers need it to do.

Check what devices your customers use

Don’t have an app that is only available on Android if 70% of your target audience use Apple devices.  This also stretches to ensure that your app is optimised to work on different devices, test to ensure that your app offers the same experience whether on a smartphone or on a tablet.

Set your objectives and measure

Don’t forget to set your objectives and measure your app performance against these.  Whether you are looking at customer engagement, sale conversions the magic of an app is that you can pretty much measure anything.

Remember your app is an extension of your store

Consider how you can create a unique app experience that also works in store.  Having an app that consumers can use at home or out and about is great, but consumers are looking for retailers to integrate technology into physical stores.  Consider how your app can be used not just stand alone but also as part of a wider in-store campaign.  From interactive, seasonal campaigns such as in-store treasure hunts using AR, to personalised in-store offers if a customer scans POS in store.  For example, using augmented reality in your app, you could have a ‘product of the week’ in store.  Which when your customer downloads the app and scans the promotion they get a unique offer, a video of the product and the option to order it right then and there – without queuing.

Launching an App is a wonderful way to get to know your customers better, increase sales and provide great customer support, team this with immersive technology such as augmented reality will then take your app to a whole new level.



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