How to build app that boost retail sales using low code Malcolm Carroll, Director, BlueFinity

Retail has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Low footfall in the high street has had a dramatic impact on retailers’ profits and led to many store closures, most recently, the well-known brand, Debenhams.

There have been winners though. Retailers quick to embrace online shopping have weathered the storm better than others and online businesses such as Amazon had a bumper year in 2020, with profits jumping by a third in Q3 2020 .
According to Retail Economics, the long-term implications for the retail sector will be huge. Around a third of UK consumers say the way they shop will change for good. Almost half (45%) have now purchased an item online they had only ever purchased in-store, prior to the outbreak.

The focus on online shopping has led to a proliferation of websites being updated. However, while websites can support the activity and process of online selection and purchasing, they do not always provide the functions now considered crucial to the smooth introduction of an effective online shopping experience. As a result, many retailers are introducing apps to improve the shopping experience and build loyalty.

The benefits of introducing apps
Once an app is downloaded onto a mobile phone, tablet or desktop, customers can easily return to a chosen supplier time and time again. With today’s ubiquitous use of mobiles, it is like having a shop in your pocket, ready for people to have a shopping experience wherever and whenever they wish.

Accessing an app is like entering a shop to browse and purchase an item, whereas choosing from a multitude of website retailers is like standing in the middle of a market with multiple vendors trying to sell the same item.
Over the coming months, we will help retailers bring the store experience to people’s mobiles, laptops, and tablets. Customers that use our low code app development platform, Evoke, will be able to add 360 virtual viewing so their customers can wander around their stores virtually.

This will replicate the shopping experience to a considerable degree. With COVID-19 restrictions expected to last some time, this is a great way for retailers to make online mobile shopping even more engaging for the consumer.
Other advances for retails developing apps include increased security for their customers, location-based communication with customers, integrated use of phone technology (GPS, Bluetooth), information retention and display, the personalisation of the shopping experience and a far higher conversion to purchase rate compared to websites.
Apps are rapidly moving from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’ for retailers of all sizes. Increasingly, they recognise the benefits, and do not want to be left behind their competitors.

Easing the development process with low code

No-code/low-code app development platforms are making app development far easier, quicker, and more affordable for retailers than ever before.
Using the right no-code/low-code platform, retailers can cost-effectively design and deploy apps that specifically meet the needs of their company and their customers and they do not have to employ specialist app developers to do it.
A good low code app development platform will be user-friendly and intuitive. They should have point and click, drag and drop, and option select development process, supported by an array of functional routines and widgets so that anyone can create an app.

Using such a platform, sophisticated, full function apps can be built and 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 type of database a retailer has or wants to use (SQL, Oracle, DB2, MultiValue etc.).

Low-code/no-code can provide tremendous results in a fraction of the time and cost of more traditional approaches to app development.

Retailers need to make sure their chosen platform provides an environment where there are no limitations to the future enhancement and development of the app. The platform should also be flexible and allow apps to be deployed as a web, hybrid or native app. It should enable a developer to perform unlimited customization allowing for the use and incorporation of existing code, new code and third-party routines and library software. It should also provide the option to access and work on the code that is generated by the low-code/no-code design.

One company that used low code tools to develop an app this year is Classic Groundcovers, a wholesale nursery based in the USA that sells plants to nurseries, re-wholesalers, and contractors. It used our Evoke platform to create an app to digitise its manual ordering system and enable the company to handle the record volume of sales triggered by the pandemic. The company said the app was ‘ground-breaking’ as it has automated order processing including during sales surges, grown the business. and halved administration time.

No-code/low-code app development opens new possibilities for retailers to create apps easily without a lengthy and costly development process. Customers are always just one click away on their mobile, tablet or desktop and can shop night and day at their convenience, which is essential for boosting sales.


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