March 18, 2019

The mobile app drives the engagement that retailers desire the most

We are delighted to have Bruce Howe, CEO of Putti to guest blog for us and get under the hood of mobile Apps. Putti has built apps for ASOS, Mark&Spencers, Aersotaple, Air Europa internationally and locally we are known for NZHerald, Wendy’s Hamburgers, Home.co.nz, Neighbourly and many more. 

For those of you who had the pleasure of attending the RetailX Breakfast Briefing in early March, you will have heard Juanita speak so eloquently about the mobile experience and how the native app (dedicated apps for Android and iOS) is core to Absolute Impact. Mobile is the digital glue in retail, and shoppers’ experiences should reflect that.

The brands delivering Absolute Impact at retail have many commonalties, but from my point of view as a Developer House, the mobile app brings it all together and drives the engagement instore and beyond.

Kiwi customers are ahead of the curve for online engagement and transactions.  74% of Kiwis search online for products and services and 72% of us make purchases and regular monthly payments online (HubSpot 2018).  Remarkably, purchases are now evenly split between PCs and mobile – 28% of purchases across both hardware platforms.  Mobile is chasing and taking over the world – not just for a search on the go, but right through to purchases and ongoing brand loyalty.

So, let’s agree that mobile is the future.  This means native mobile apps are in play. You’ve gotta be there!

Native mobile apps offer the most enriched mobile consumer experience known to man right now.  You get maximum benefit from the operating system, for example deep integration to Google Maps or Apple Maps. 

Retail is about location and therefore access to GPS and the accelerometer is critical for targeting and having a cool mobile experience, no matter the screen size and orientation.  Making the most of RFID, QR Codes and NFC means hardware integration and native apps makes this experience great.

Additionally, what drives the wow factor in retail is the interaction with the device’s hardware features such as camera and video.

So, as a retailer, it’s important to understand “you get what you pay for”. The investment in set-up now and beyond to support seamless functionality is required to keep your offering alive and vibrant. You cannot skimp on this.  

The mobile app is open to UX/UI designers and developers to create beauty!  There is true differentiation to offer if you get the mobile app right to complement your retail experience. 

So, how do I do this?

It’s hard to know where to start or how much to budget. There are urban myths and crappy apps that don’t enhance the relationship with the shopper. These ultimately get deleted and are not used as they are neither relevant, engaging or personal.

As a guide, (and we are talking retail apps remember) there is a 3-4-month development time and approximately $150k NZD for each version of Android and iOS.  Beyond the initial build, to maintain an active community and to keep it real, you should plan for five days per month for outsource support across design, front end and back end development, testing and project management. 

For reference, have a look at the recent influx of mobile apps from restaurant chains.  McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s Hamburgers (this one is ours) all have good apps with some leading for marketing purposes and other driving instore conversion.  Driving petrol sales at the pump is another recent trend whereby the tech has caught up to the consumer insight that people want more convenience.  The best apps are offering this and retail interventions to pull drivers and passengers instore.

Below is a diagram which shows the difference between a web app and a mobile app. There is a big leap in functionality and environment, but, most importantly, usage by the customer. Good engagement drives action which results in sales, repeat visitation, customer stickiness and advocacy.

Now, you may be feeling both exhilarated by the prospect and terrified that you don’t get the right result from your current solution or app. Let’s have a chat as there is a clear process to consider outcomes and possible solutions.  Putti Apps has been around since the start of the modern mobile app boom. We build one-off solutions and assist in building internal capability to keep the app going or we become a closely aligned outsource partner.

We work with partners.  The cost might seem abrasive if you are not aware previously but do not let that be the barrier to getting the conversation going.  We have many methods to build minimum viable products and then phase in features as well as costs.

A big step and the right move to reach Absolute Impact.

Bruce Howe is CEO of Putti. Putti Apps has built apps for leading international brands including ASOS, Marks & Spencer, Aéropostale and Air Europa. Locally, they are known for NZ Herald, Wendy’s Hamburgers, Home.co.nz, Neighbourly and many more. 

Drop Bruce a line, bruce@puttiapps.com or visit www.puttiapps.com.