December 2, 2020
You refreshed your website and re-opened your store but without an app, how many customers are you not in contact with?
The impact of Covid-19 has been profound during 2020 and it has made many industry sectors rethink significant aspects of their business models. This has been felt strongly in retail and in associated logistics as any other sector.
The consequences and repercussions of the original lockdown has been discussed and debated at great length in respect to which parts of customer behavior is temporary and what is likely to be a more permanent shift in their buying habits. What is becoming clear is that the second and possibly subsequent waves of restrictions will accelerate the rate toward new purchasing behavior patterns that will become ‘the new norm’.
The rapid growth of on-line shopping has seen a proliferation of websites being updated to more effectively support those new patterns. However, while these websites can support the activity and process of on-line selection and buying, they are not necessarily able to provide many of the functions considered to be crucial to the smooth introduction of an effective on-line shopping experience. Add to that their inability to support the need for a cross-channel retail strategy once the effects of Covid-19 start to recede on main street and in the malls.
This is where the introduction of mobile phone, tablet and desktop computer apps often working in combination with a website are becoming increasingly valuable.
Apps are able to meet the demands of on-line commerce but can also address the critical issue of customer loyalty. Apps encourage customers to easily return to their favorite supplier rather than surfing the web to find a competitive website. Customer loyalty is a major factor in main street and shopping malls but it is often being lost in the on-line world.
Malcolm Carroll, Director of BlueFinity International says, “Accessing an app is like entering a store to browse and buy an item, whereas choosing from a multiple number of websites is like standing in the middle of a market with many vendors all trying to sell you the same thing.”
There is a myriad of other advantages to having an app compared to a website. These include increased security; location-based communication with your customers; integrated use of phone technology (GPS, Bluetooth); information retention and display; the personalization of the shopping experience and a far higher conversion to buy rate than on websites. It is clear to see why apps in the retail sector create a better customer experience leading to customer loyalty and are fast becoming a must-have rather than a nice-to-have.
The introduction of apps is extending the online presence of all retailers not just the larger ones. New no-code/low-code app development platforms are making apps easily within reach of all retail outlets no matter the size and their level of experience with technology.
One such no-code/low-code app development platform is Evoke from BlueFinity, one of the new generation of products which is making what was a previously challenging and expensive option of electing to deploy apps now a very affordable, accessible and a viable one for all retailers. Using Evoke, retailers are now able to design and deploy the apps that specifically meet both their needs and the needs of their customers, and they do not have to hire specialist app developers to do it but can use their own existing staff to create apps.
Evoke provides a point and click, drag and drop and option select development process, supported by an extensive array of functional routines and widgets that anyone can use.
The results are sophisticated, full function apps that run on and are optimized for any device and operating system (phones, tablets, watches and televisions using IOS, Android and Windows as well as Windows, Linux and Apple desktops) and can be fully integrated with any database a retailer has or wants to use (SQL, Oracle, DB2, MultiValue etc.)
Retailers with and without technical expertise can create highly effective, full function apps without any custom programming at all yet there is no limit to the degree of customization, future enhancement and development that can added to an Evoke app design plus developers can re-use and incorporate routines and code that they already have.
Evoke creates web, hybrid or native apps created from fully structured Visual Studio and Xamarin solutions for onward development that allows for the inclusion of custom code or 3rd party components as required without the developer being Visual Studio smart.
Carroll of BlueFinity adds, “No-code/low-code opens up entirely new possibilities for retailers large and small and is the way to get the app that is right for both the retailer and their customers without a lengthy and costly development process. The latest releases of Evoke now includes full retail support, making available multiple product displays and buying experiences, customer information retention, shopping baskets and multiple payment and delivery options leading to a better customer experience, customer loyalty and an increase in sales. In fact, the complete store within an app!“
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