8 Great Ideas For Retail Apps
There is no doubt that the retail sector has embraced customer-facing apps; with 68% of mobile users already engaging with brands via apps, we can only expect this trend to continue on the rise.
However, there are many other ways that retail companies can use apps internally to increase productivity, improve work processes and better manage retail operations. Particularly in the case of large companies with multiple store locations, having an app could help create consistency across all the stores and ensure everyone is up-to-date on the latest news and regulations.
Being able to access this information via an app is also useful because many employees will spend most of their time away from a computer but will still have access to their mobile devices.
In this article we give you some ideas for the best retail apps to help you improve internal processes and increase productivity among your employees.
Some ideas for the best retail apps
1. Retail operations app
Managing retail operations is often a challenge, particularly at large organizations with many stores. As most companies aim for consistency across all of them, introducing new promotions and ensuring that they have been implemented at every single store can be difficult.
This applies to any other implementations such as special sales, product placement and price adjustments.
An app can help manage this process better by instantly pushing this information to all relevant employees’ mobile devices. This ensures that even those employees on the floor are aware of these changes and that there are no risks of miscommunication from their store’s management.
Employees could also check a directory feature if they suspect a particular product is non-compliant with current pricing or promotions and simply compare the product to what’s being dictated in the app.
This would really empower floor staff to take initiative and help manage the compliance process, reducing their reliance on management.
2. Sales support app
Many companies place great importance on floor staff’s ability to show that they are performing strongly.
Providing them with their own point of sale app could make the sales process easier in two ways:
- Being able to use an iPad or tablet to sell would give staff much higher mobility around the store and reduce their reliance on cash registers. This could be particularly useful at times when the store is busy and more staff is needed at the sales register than cash registers are available.
- On the other hand, allowing staff to sell using their own designated app would also provide management with great analytics data on how they are performing, as well as more general sales data such as trends that could prove invaluable for reporting purposes.
3. Stock availability app
There is nothing more annoying for a customer and time consuming for an employee than having to check if a particular article is available in the stockroom. This is normally followed by a few minutes of impatient waiting while the staff member attempts to find said article within the stockpiles of products.
With an app, the days of stockroom checks could well be over. By having a database containing all available items and ensuring that the sales app automatically updates it according to daily sales, sales staff could simply make a quick search in the app and tell customers within seconds whether that particular article is available.
Not only would an app make this process easier, but it could also prove essential to the re-stocking process by giving management a much better idea of what products are no longer available and which are running low in stock.
Data analytics could likewise show what products have been selling best to help management better decide which and how many they should re-ordering.
4. Compliance app
Retail companies often have many regulations in place, particularly in the case of large companies.
An important part of employees’ jobs is therefore to ensure that they are complying to guidelines on sales processes, health & safety and quality assurance, among other things.
An app could easily display all such regulations in an easy-to-navigate format divided into categories and with a search function available.
This could include how-to guides and checklists that employees can easily consult if they are unsure how to proceed in a particular area or if they want to be guided in the exact steps they should take.
5. Disaster recovery app
Because of their public nature, retail companies are relatively exposed to emergency situations, from fires and burglaries to health-related issues from customers. It is therefore important to empower employees to efficiently enact corporate policy in such circumstances.
There are three main ways in which a disaster recovery app can help retail companies do this:
A directory feature is an easy way to display all relevant emergency contact numbers and details in an easily searchable format and with the ability to simply tap on the contact in order to make a call or send a message.
For further ease of use, the app could be designed in a way that only the relevant contacts for that particular day or shift appear on the app.
Emergency and Health & Safety Regulations
A list of the company’s emergency and health & safety regulations could also be included in the app for employees to consult at anytime. This can help employees respond to emergencies in ways that are compliant.
Emergency response plans
This could come coupled with a selection of emergency response plans relating to a variety of emergency scenarios and with actionable steps that employees should take in such situations.
Having access to clear instructions could make a significant difference in response appropriateness, particularly considering how stressful emergency situations can be.
6. Issue reporting app
If an employee encounters an inaccuracy or quality issue on a product that is likely to be replicated across all stores, it is important to empower them or management to instantly report this to all other stores to ensure said product is removed.
Particularly at busy stores, fast response times can make a big difference to customer satisfaction. The ability to quickly replace said products may also decrease financial losses.
An app that allows employees to simply input or scan the product information and submit it according to the kind of issue it presents could instantly notify upper management and allow them to decide on how to proceed. The app could also allow them to push this information to all other store managers or employees via the app.
7. Reporting app
Earlier we talked about how apps can allow companies to more easily collect sales data for analytics and reporting purposes.
But when it comes to creating and delivering the reports themselves, an app can also make this process much easier and more productive in several ways:
- With an app, data can be input manually or pulled in automatically, for example from sales support apps, to create custom reports that can be instantly sent to the relevant people’s mobile devices.
- Apps offer the chance to include a variety of media, such as images, videos, interactive charts and timelines, which make reports more visually stimulating.
- Apps also much better adapt to users by allowing them to scroll, swipe and tap on sections as they desire, making the reading process much more engaging.
- An app can likewise better divide reports into sections, so that users can choose to either read only the overview of that section or to delve deeper if that area is particularly interesting or relevant.
8. Training app
Finally, training is an area that is proving to be extremely well adept to mobile apps. This can be invaluable to retail companies as they are prone to have a high turnover of staff, whose training can prove cost-inefficient in the long run.
A training app offers many advantages compared to traditional methods by enabling staff to complete training in their own time and to rely less on existing staff to train them. Training apps are also very effective forms of learning compared to traditional methods, as they make learning much more engaging and allow employees to complete it no matter where they are.
Some of the advantages of training apps are:
- Their ability to include a variety of media, such as video, interactive charts and embedded documents, to make learning more engaging and interesting for staff.
- The way they empower employees to complete training no matter where they are, for example during “dead” times such as on commutes.
- The ability to include “gamification” features such as exam and quiz functions, which staff can use to to test their knowledge and track their own progress. The app could even assign them points and badges, offering a reward system to encourage employees to engage with the app even more.
- The ability to pull invaluable data from the app to track employees’ progress and the areas where they need additional learning.
- The ability to create and push new and updated eLearning content to employees in order to ensure they continue to learn new regulations and sales guidelines over time.
There are many ways in which retail companies can embrace mobility to increase productivity and improve work processes; as a very mobile industry, it is only a matter of time before most retail companies have adopted internal enterprise apps.
In this article we outlined a few examples of the best retail apps that are proving to be useful to retail companies. Have you come across any other interesting examples? Please let us know if so, we’d love to hear about them.