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Developing Retail/M-Commerce Applications: Factors to Consider

by (January 2, 2015)

Retail Mobility by RapidValue Solutions

Before commencing on the journey to develop a retail mobile application, some pre-requisites need to be pondered upon, which would help to maximize the App experience for all the users. This helps in increasing the sales volume, resulting in better conversion rates for the intended retailer.

This blog reveals certain aspects that are widely prevalent in the industry, and will help in developing Apps for this domain, which are applicable across various devices like iOS and Android.

Technical Design

The technical design of the App should be scalable. Any retail App needs to display an inventory of products/catalog, with list of images and the real question is how to retrieve data in the right manner from the backend servers, without compromising the user experience. A good balance between volumes of the product data and whether the user can browse through them with comparative ease is a key consideration. A quick observation can be done while scrolling the product list itself.


This is the main driver, for any user, to download the App and to start using it. Each screen/layout should be carefully designed and should be customer-centric. A good usability study or UX review should precede this step, which gives the inputs for each element to be placed. This aids the navigation and makes an App useful and beneficial, which further helps in promoting business.

Some examples:

  • Good use of real estate Apps to accommodate deals, give discount banners and provide product details
  • Personalization, that helps in faster App interactions
  • Quality product images and ability to navigate through various images and in general, effective navigation throughout the App
  • Compelling Animations that piques user interest
  • Control for product sizes and similar choices
  • Well-crafted data entry

Self-Checkout and Payment Integration

During ‘checkout’ the concerns of security and data privacy prevails, and a good design decision gives no room for errors. Retail giants have made faster checkout a priority. There are ways to capture the basic user information upfront, which makes a quick and efficient checkout. Integration with newer payment methods like Google Wallet, Apple Pay provides more avenues.

Social Network Integration

In the era of social media, having social network integration is considered to be a necessity and priority. The frequency of using social media like Facebook to see your friend’s purchases, sharing the product details and the ability to add comments, would trigger more downloads. Linking the App from a mobile site, for optimal experience and promotions, through social networks based on purchase history, are other means.

Recommendations & Notifications

Any retail app user would benefit when products are compared and some amount of useful recommendations are provided. Analytics play a crucial role to get information and data. The same is the case when a messaging/notification system is employed to attract the specific user group, where the App would have a good impact.

Speed & Performance

The critical aspect is the speed and performance. Faster the response, the better an App performs. The performance criteria deserve a special mention in developing a retail App, as it builds the experience and the retailer revenue.

Analytics & Crash Reporting

There is data all around – starting from loading the App to the final screen, where the purchase receipt is displayed to the user. This gives valuable information about factors like the time spent by a user at each section of the App, delays in page loading, if any, and the various categories that are liked, and total conversions. A good data mining strategy, when devised by the retailer, could help convert all the data into meaningful changes to the App, which boosts App experience and sales.

Crash monitoring tools and SDK’s help to determine the user interactions. This helps to avoid a crash. Retailers could release the fixes at the right time, improving the App performance.

Looking Ahead 

The retail App space is rapidly expanding, with technologies like Beacons, giving context awareness messages to users. With a combination of best UI, innovative ideas involving cross- platform linking, efficient product listing based on customer demographics, and technical design methodologies, any retailer can maximize experiences and conversions for a competitive edge.

One of the most innovative and interesting thing about conducting any business in this technology-driven and mobile-centric age is that, there are mobile apps and that too, for just about everything. Apps serve manifold purposes. They increase productivity and streamline various business functions. Whether you are looking to make your customers’ lives easier or providing them with efficient tools, it is important to consider key factors while building the mobile app, to stay ahead in the competition curve.

Arun Krishna,

Sr. Project Manager & Retail Mobility Expert, RapidValue Solutions

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