Developing a Mobile App for Retail Business: A Comprehensive Guide

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Learn why having a mobile app for your retail business is vital. As customers increasingly go mobile, attracting and retaining them is crucial. Don’t miss out on potential sales. Take action now!

Explore the Retail Applications Guide by STDIO and delve into the supremacy of mobile apps. Uncover the secrets of creating a retail app, delve into development costs, and discover ten success-driving features. Our top experts have compiled this invaluable information to meet your retail software development needs with precision and insight.

Rapid growth of Mobile App for Retail Business

Mobile retail apps are more than just a trend. Shopping on your phone is a new habit that saves time and money. App owners prioritize user satisfaction, constantly improving navigation, catalog clarity, and order speed. Shopping apps are becoming increasingly popular as people embrace convenience. Almost every major retailer now has a mobile app. From books to medicines, clothes to household appliances, everything is sold through smartphones. In 2021, humanity spent 18 billion hours in shopping apps.

Users opt for apps due to their convenience and the potential for increased profitability when making purchases through them.

  • Users have the convenience of purchasing goods anytime and anywhere, presenting them with endless possibilities for shopping.
  • When using applications, users often find it more convenient to compare products and prices.
  • By utilizing in-app purchases, individuals can save valuable time that would otherwise be wasted on traveling to physical stores.
  • Applications facilitate the loyalty program and offer exclusive promotions to valued patrons.
  • Applications display the complete assortment of products available in the store, including those currently in stock as well as those on order.

Mobile app for retail business have become popular not because of marketing or capitalist schemes, but because of the convenience they provide. With smartphones always at hand, the personalized user experience shows that placing an order with a simple tap is easier than visiting a physical store.

Why is a Mobile App Superior to a Responsive Layout and Mobile Site?

The transition of retail to mobile devices can take three different forms: an application, a mobile site, or an adaptive layout of the web version. To determine the most suitable option for your business, it is crucial to carefully consider the functionality of each of these approaches.

Responsive Website Design

  • A responsive website adapts to smartphone screens for a seamless browsing experience. However, it may lack novel user experiences or features that simplify purchasing.
  • The responsive and web versions have equal information, causing slower loading on smartphones. People are highly sensitive to internet speed, so delays can lead to frustration and hinder the purchasing process.
  • The adaptive layout fails to enhance the user experience, as it only brings about visual changes without influencing the connection between the brand and the individual.

Mobile Site

  • A mobile site is a separate website designed for smartphones and tablets. It operates faster due to its lightweight code and simplified design.
  • The mobile version duplicates the desktop content, leading to double effort in promotion and optimization. This prevents resource competition and streamlines website efficiency.
  • Instead of one website, the store now has two resources for paid support and development. However, neither the mobile site nor the adaptive one impact the seller-buyer relationship.


  • Unlike a mobile site or an adaptive layout, an application actively engages users in the purchasing process. It seamlessly integrates into their lives, with a store icon always visible and push notifications for timely updates, encouraging repeat shopping.
  • In mobile retail apps, navigation elements have a familiar layout. Users easily find the catalog, tab bar, and “add to cart” button. We internalize the purchasing process, performing it effortlessly and instinctively.
  • The application is now more responsive, both in terms of interface speed and the storage and recall of buyer information. Once the details are provided in the initial order, there is no need to revisit this task. This improvement ensures a seamless and efficient user experience.
  • By providing personal discounts and implementing a loyalty program, the app can effectively engage users for the long term. When users see tailored benefits, it not only increases orders but also boosts average purchase value. This strategic approach fosters customer loyalty, leading to higher customer retention and satisfaction.
  • The app doesn’t require re-authorization. However, frequent customer account logouts from online stores mean more time spent on logging in again.
  • The seller also receives a small bonus. The mobile app for retail aims to encourage users to make spontaneous purchases with push notifications, a recommender system, customization, personalized offers, discounts, and banners on the main screen.

Thanks to these factors, buyers move faster through the sales funnel and achieve higher conversion rates in applications compared to websites. Statistics show that 85% of users prefer purchasing in apps due to convenience, speed, and ease. Mobile retail apps combine the best features of offline, web, and social networks, providing users with a convenient and concise experience.

What are the costs of developing a mobile app for retail business?

The cost of developing a mobile retail apps depends on factors such as complexity, supported devices and operating systems, and developer experience. Let’s discuss what influences the price of a mobile app.

Country and Developer Experience

The cost per person-hour is influenced by both the experience of the developer and the country they reside in. We have researched the hourly rates of developers in various countries to provide a comprehensive understanding:

  • Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand — from $90;
  • France, England, and Canada — from $75;
  • Ukraine, Poland — from $35;
  • Vietnam, India, Pakistan — from $25;

Hiring developers from Pakistan can offer cost savings of at least 30% compared to Switzerland. However, it’s crucial to look beyond the surface and consider additional factors that can impact the overall success of your project. Time zones, language barriers, and varying skill levels can all play a role.

Remember, building a great application requires more than just a single developer. It requires a cohesive team of skilled analysts, programmers, designers, and testers who can guide your project through every stage of development.


The choice between iOS and Android depends on your business needs and target audience for your Retail app. There’s a difference in purchasing power between iPhone and Android users, with iPhone users earning $85,000 per year on average, 40% more than typical Android users, leading to higher app spending. In conclusion, your store can generate more profit from Apple products.

Android, as the world’s leading mobile OS, reaches 74.6% of users, offering access to a large audience. However, the platform has a wide range of devices, requiring more time and resources for testing and bug fixing.

Neglecting either platform’s user base can result in profit loss for retailers. Therefore, major retailers have both Android and iOS apps. For a young business, starting with one platform and expanding as it grows is a viable strategy to enter the market and attract buyers.


The goal of mobile app design is not just aesthetics but creating a user-friendly interface. Thoughtful design speeds up the user’s path to purchase. The design process involves several stages:

  1. The designer first describes the user scenario, putting themselves in the buyer’s shoes. They ask targeted questions to determine the best way to interact with the app and implement navigation solutions.
  1. Wireframing involves creating a framework for the app, mapping out the main blocks, logic of screen transitions, and adding buttons and visual elements.
  2. Prototyping includes creating a clickable prototype, which is reviewed and approved by the client. Collaboration with developers ensures alignment with the functional requirements.

While many think code is crucial, it is the designers’ understanding of user psychology that shapes the outcome of the app-user interaction.


The retail application’s functionality can be categorized into two sections: basic and advanced. The basic features encompass everything necessary for users to complete a purchase, including:

  • Catalog search for products
  • Adding items to the cart
  • Order registration and payment
  • User authorization in the personal account.

This forms the foundation of the mobile app for retail business, enabling you to sell. However, to leave a lasting impression on buyers, it’s crucial to incorporate advanced functionality such as recommendations, reviews, and gamification. While the basic functionality suffices for the MVP version and initial releases, the killer features can be implemented during the support and development stage.


Platform updates can cause compatibility issues between applications developed for different versions. For instance, an app designed for iOS 15 might not function properly on iOS 16. These bugs can hinder users from making purchases, which ultimately affects profitability.

To ensure continued success, it is crucial to allocate resources for ongoing support. On average, approximately 25% of the total development cost should be earmarked for this stage. When planning for app development, remember to account for this aspect in your budget allocation.

10 Mobile Retail Apps Features to Boost Your Business

Product Preview

In the store, buyers may encounter situations where their desired product lacks an exhibition sample. Since sellers cannot open the packaging of unpaid products, buyers are left with two choices: leave empty-handed or make a risky purchase.

To provide an alternative, consider offering in-app product previews. These previews in mobile app for retail, along with product cards and reviews from other buyers, can help customers make informed decisions and avoid disappointment.

Scan codes for additional information

The mobile app for retail helps buyers find product details without consulting a salesperson. By scanning a barcode or QR code, users can access additional information such as product description, price, available colors, stock quantity, and reviews. This feature reduces the workload for sales consultants, making it especially useful in large shopping centers and hypermarkets where finding available staff can be challenging.

Mobile App Payment for Goods

The app provides a convenient way to place and pay for orders online. Buyers can easily pick up their purchases from the store. To enhance the experience for buyers already in the store with unpurchased items, we can transform the mobile app into an “online checkout.” This eliminates the need to wait in long queues. With this feature, customers can effortlessly scan items in their cart, pay with Google or Apple Pay, and continue with their day. This time-saving solution ensures a seamless shopping online experience.

App User Loyalty Program

Attracting new customers is known to be more costly than retaining existing ones. A loyalty program is a valuable tool for building strong relationships with customers who already frequent your store.

The choice of format is crucial. Traditional discounts and loyalty cards have become commonplace, and their absence can surprise shoppers. By replacing physical cards with a mobile app, your customers can unlock exclusive deals, providing them with more incentives to spend.

These applications go beyond simple point accumulation and fixed discounts, allowing you to shape customer behavior. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Beacons and Geo-Pushes: Inviting to Buy

By using geolocation and beacons, the app can influence a user’s purchasing decision. Geolocation connects buyers and sellers, allowing the app to send push notifications with exclusive offers when the user is near a store, encouraging them to visit. These promotions are time-limited, like “Only today” or “Product of the day.” If the user doesn’t buy now, they’ll miss out on a lucrative opportunity.

Inside a store, hidden beacons send signals to the app. If a buyer hesitates near a product, the beacon prompts the app to provide more information or offer a discount.

Gathering Feedback

Buyers often leave reviews on platforms like the App Store and Google Play when dissatisfied with a product or service. These reviews express complaints about the quality of service or products that fall short of expectations. However, it’s important to note that these store reviews primarily serve as feedback for developers. Comments directed towards the seller might reach them with a delay, leaving less time to address the issues.

To obtain prompt customer feedback, incorporating features like a “chat with the seller” function or the option for a callback is beneficial. Users can provide contact information and receive a call from the store. By actively seeking and addressing feedback, you can enhance customer loyalty and demonstrate commitment to resolving any issues.

Understanding User Habits

You can offer users a valuable brand application that caters to their habits, tastes, and interests. It doesn’t have to be a “mobile store”. Many brands have successfully employed this strategy. For example, Nike has the Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club workout apps. These apps collect user information and provide personalized training programs for free. This builds loyalty, as users who enjoy the Nike app are more likely to choose Nike apparel for their workouts.

Managing Customer Traffic in Accounting

GPS can be used to attract customers and track daily foot traffic in stores. The customer flow indicator helps sellers evaluate the advantage of their store’s location, enabling them to adjust their commercial strategy. Traditional methods like manual counting or using special counters are inefficient and lack accuracy. Hardware sensors may count the same customer multiple times or allow multiple people through at once. A mobile app for retail with GPS can provide a more accurate and convenient solution, eliminating the need for costly technical equipment in stores.


During the pandemic, retail chains without online stores resorted to delivery apps, ensuring that goods reached consumers directly. This allowed customers to conveniently order essential products from the comfort of their homes. Thanks to this strategic move, retailers not only maintained their sales but also successfully weathered the crisis.

Mobile Sales Assistant

The retailer has a responsibility to consider not only the needs of customers but also the comfort of their employees. Sales assistants spend their entire day on their feet, exerting physical, cognitive, and emotional energy to assist customers in finding the products they desire. It is crucial to recognize that they too require support and assistance.

In summary,

Mobile applications have the power to enhance the shopping experience for customers and drive sales in retail stores. By leveraging data from mobile devices, retailers can personalize offers and anticipate when a customer needs that final nudge to make a purchase. With the convenience of these apps, buyers can access detailed product information such as pricing, features, and reviews, enabling them to make informed decisions and avoid long queues.

If your store does not yet have a mobile app, don’t hesitate to reach out to STDIO ASIA. We would be delighted to explore flexible cooperation options tailored to your project, and we can start working on it right from our very first meeting.

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