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 probably been felt as intensely in retail and associated logistics as any other sector.
The consequences and repercussions of the original lockdown have been discussed and debated at great length, particularly in respect of which parts of customer behavior is temporary and what is likely to be a more permanent shift in their purchasing habits. What is becoming clear is that the second and possibly subsequent waves of restrictions will if anything accelerate the rate of traction of new behavior patterns to find a more permanent footing and so become 'the new normal'.
The rapid growth of on-line shopping has seen a proliferation of websites being updated to more effectively support this. However, while these websites can support the activity and process of on-line selection and purchasing, they are not necessarily able to provide many of the functions now considered to be crucial to the smooth introduction of an effective on-line shopping experience. Nor are they able support the need for a cross-channel retail strategy, as the effects of covid-19 start to recede and the high street and malls return as a still important part of retail.
This is where the introduction of mobile phone, tablet and desktop computer apps are becoming increasingly valuable.
Apps are able to not only meet the demands of on-line commerce, but can also address the critical issue of customer loyalty. Apps are able to encourage customers to easily return to a chosen supplier rather than being faced with the choice of a number of supplier websites where they can potentially select a competitor. Loyalty is a major factor in the high street and shopping malls but is being lost in the on-line world.
Malcolm Carroll, Director of BlueFinity International says, "Accessing an app is like entering a shop to browse and purchase an item, whereas choosing from a multiple number of websites is like standing in the middle of a market with multiple vendors all trying to sell you the same item."
There is a myriad of other advantages of 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 purchase rate than...