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Do You Own A Retail Store? Use Mobile App To See How Small Business Grows

Alekh Verma | March 1, 2024
Use Mobile Apps to Grow Small Business-1

How Starbucks, a coffee retail store, got a boost in its growth by launching a dedicated mobile app for its customers?

A recent study shows that Starbucks has the most regularly used app (48%) among major restaurant chains.

What made their service so enjoyable by people? How Starbucks app helped this coffee retailer gain more customers and improved customer service?

Just take inspiration from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

“If you dream small dreams, you may succeed in building something small. For many people, that is enough. But if you want to achieve widespread impact and lasting value, be bold.”

The idea is clear,

You may be running a small retail store in your local area and your billboard doesn't look like an iconic brand, but that doesn't mean you can't embrace a bigger strategy that could bring winning results and success to your small business.

Today in this blog, I will tell you how important it is to have a mobile app for retail business even if you run a small retail store or shop. There are many examples in the current market we can learn and inspired by their bold initiatives. And Starbucks is one of them.  

So, if you are a:

  • Retailer
  • Retail store
  • Local shop
  • Grocery shop
  • Entrepreneur
  • Retail startup
  • E-commerce company wants to accelerate

This blog will give you valuable takeaways on why you should use mobile app for your small scale retail business.

Let us first see the examples of popular companies in the current market who are expanding their business reach to higher levels by the power of mobile apps.

Walmart App

Almost one-third of the entire U.S. population visits Walmart stores every week. Walmart is America’s top giant retail corporation company. Their mobile app allows customers in: 

  • Smart shopping
  • Planning shopping trips
  • Checking in-store prices
  • Reordering everyday essentials with a touch
  • Scanning the barcode to get the price quick

Sephora App

The cosmetic retailer deeply understands that customers search for product reviews and recommendations straight from their smartphone. Through Sephora app they provide customers with:

  • Customer reviews on products
  • Beauty tips
  • Virtual products try-on and many more

Ikea Place app

Swedish Homeware giant IKEA is already utilizing the advantages of AR technology in their services. The Ikea Place app enables the users to place virtual copies of furniture in the home space with features like:

  • Arrange sofas, tables, chairs
  • Hang the shelves on the walls
  • Check how a specific product looks in the interior of house
  • Purchase product

Starbucks App

A stellar in the coffee retail business, Starbucks launched its own mobile app for its customers back in 2014. Starbucks app provides seamless features for mobile payment convenience and automatic loyalty rewards. Starbucks got hike in its sales and customer reach by introducing an app. But their app made it possible because of the features they used: 

  • Convenient mobile payment and ordering
  • User-friendly design
  • Engaging loyalty reward programs
  • Integration with third-party platforms & services

Mobile Search Help Customers Find Your Stores

No doubt, big brands have manpower and resources to expand their business reach. But the idea is here that, no matter what scale of business you run, mobile app can uplift your business scale to the next level by connecting more customers to your store website or by allowing them to search your store location on Google.

In the retail business, mobile apps can improve In-store and out-store experience. Here is the data that screams how people are relying on their smartphones than ever for their product search and purchase.

Mobile retail commerce sales as percentage of retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2016 to 2021

Statista 2021

Source: Statista

Data tells most of the website traffic comes from mobile devices. This is because of people heavily relying on their mobile phones for almost every task. 

Top Advantages of Using Mobile App in Retail Business

Retail business is the process of selling different goods using multiple channels of distribution. It is evident to see in the modern world, how smartphone has become a powerful channel to connect with the target customers instantly.

Therefore, using mobile app in retail business can upgrade your business and enhance growth in the following ways:

1. Seamless Online Shopping

According to a market report, m-commerce will take over e-commerce in the future due to the increased demand for mobile apps and its usage.

For maximum customers, smartphones are the first choice they use to search for a product and check reviews before they buy anything. Even, if they are searching to purchase something from a local store, they use app to find the nearest or best local store let say grocery shop near me.

In this way, if you use an app for your retail store or local shop, it will allow you to connect with more people who might be willing to be your customers.

You can allow them to search your products and services through app and motivate them to purchase something. Here are the multiple ways a retailer can make online shopping seamless through a mobile application by:

  • Offering reviews on your products & services
  • Giving them shopping rewards via coupons, incentives.
  • Providing store location information
  • Marketing through in-store promotions
  • Empowering users to make mobile payments and track orders online.

2. Boost Business and Brand Exposure

It is true that big brands have a strong base of customers that help their mobile app go popular and receive good response from the users. But here is the missing gem that we not looking closely at.

Mobile app helps in connecting more users who might be near to your store but unaware of due to your offline marketing.

When you integrate your store with an app, it gives exposure to your brand, company, store, or even shop. People trust more when they find a reliable tool or technology to buy or search anything.

Therefore, using a mobile app for your retail store or business can boost the business and create a brand identity even at the local level.

3. Save Resources on Infrastructure

It takes a lot of investment in building a retail store infrastructure and certainly thinking to increase the number of offline stores won't be possible for retail startups and entrepreneurs. This is where mobile app can be a savor of your limited resources.

By creating a retail app for your store, you are not only building an online store for your customers but also saving a lot of money instead of paying rent for an offline space or shop.

You can measure ROI by comparing the cost of retail app development to paying rent for a commercial space.

Besides this, as offline store has limited access to people, mobile app can reach beyond your local area and invite tourist, travellers, and paying guest for purchasing something they might need from your store.

4. Be Automated and 24x7 Available

You must be using a signboard of store closed and open, right? It's obvious, offline store has restricted time availability but mobile app, makes you available 24x7 while automating the business process.

Retail apps automate your business and provide better services to the end customers who might need your services round the clock. This is the advantage of using modern technology even at small scale that ultimately brings greater ROI. 

5. Offer Customer Loyalty Programs

Loyal customers are the biggest asset of any company. Starbucks, the world-famous coffee shop has found 21% of its annual profit generating from its mobile app. Starbucks understands the value of customer service; therefore, they created an app for their customers to place orders through Starbucks app to skip the line and reward them with points for every order they place.

Not only Starbucks, Burger King, Dominos, Pizza Hut also utilize customer loyalty programs to keep their customers engaged and feel rewarded.

Thus, mobile apps empower businesses to make a long relationship with loyal customers who love your brand and want to come to your store again and again. 

6. Push Notification to Enhance Customer Engagement

For retail business, push notification can be a helpful tool to inform customers about an upcoming product, new arrival, or special in-store events. Push notifications are a powerful channel to enhance customer engagement. They create 90 percent open rates and can go more effective than social media campaigns.

Through mobile app, you can update your customers easily and instantly whenever you want. For example, sending push notifications to customers on seasonal sales, festival discount on products, etc.

7. Provide Great Customer Experience

Your value of business or service is known through how much you value customers. When you provide them with the best customer service i.e. easy and safe payment, delivery terms, track order, loyalty points status, etc., you are actually giving them a better shopping experience as well as customer experience.

If your mobile or retail app gives an enhanced communication process, attractive UI/UX, and smooth shopping experience, it will lead to better conversion rate and sales for your retail business.

Not convinced?

See Amazon. This is the leading e-retailer in the USA. The Amazon app gives a flawless shopping experience to users and as a result, Amazon is counted as the second-most popular e-commerce channel in the USA. 

8. In-Store Navigation to Delight Customers

Mobile app isn't just limited to outside users. It can also be a helping hand to offline shoppers who want to explore your store on the go. Shoppers lack patience and when they don't find the item they are looking for, they feel frustrated and might leave your store.

Here, retail app with real-time navigation and product tracking makes it easier for customers to find what they are looking for in your store.

A great example is Walmart app that allows users to check in-store items, see what else the product is available in the store, and check the current price.

9. App Analytics & Customer Insights

Mobile app is a good source of customer information. It allows you to track and analyze customer behavior. Data is the biggest power in the current age of information technology.

Through app analytics, you can view insights into what customers are doing with your app and what product attracts them more. Such data can be extremely helpful for App Store Optimization (ASO), product offerings, and market promotions.

In addition to this, app analytics for a retail store can help you find loyal or targeted customers who frequently visit your online or offline store. Push notifications, in-app messages, notifications, live chat and Geo-location are the prominent features that make your app intuitive and engaging. 

10. Fascinate Users with the Latest Technology

Mobile app is not the latest technology, its inception started way back before 21st century in 90's era. But today, there are many new technologies entering the market, especially for mobile app, that empowers app features so advance that is can create a trend.

For an instance, IKEA Place app lets users virtually see or place IKEA products (furniture) in your space. This amazing feature not only helps users optimize their interior design but also engages them with the app enthusiastically.

All of this becomes possible because the company uses AR (Augmented Reality) technology in their app.

Trending technologies for mobile apps like AR/VR, IoT, Wearable Devices, Beacon technology, Artificial Intelligence, foldable smartphones, etc. are the futuristic tools to strengthen your app for entire business success.


Running a retail store is handling customers and products at the same time. Sometimes it becomes like juggling that distracts from business goals and consumes high resources which could have been utilized in other areas.

Therefore, using mobile for small scale business whether you run a grocery shop, retail shop, or coffee shop, mobile app is undoubtedly the most effective tool to reach a high number of customers, and thus achieve greater business results.

Now, it's over to you.

Did you find something useful in this blog? Or are you already using a mobile app for your shop?

Share your story or any experience that you find interesting for our readers.

We can also help you upgrade your retail store by developing a dedicated retail app. eSearch Logix is an India based Mobile App Development Company that offers innovative mobile app development solutions for retail business across the globe. Consult our developer team and get a free quote on your project requirement.


Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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