Mobile Shopping Apps: Expanding Retail Channels with ONE Integrated System

Why invest in a standalone app, when you can integrate your app with your eCommerce site and point of sale?

As a business owner, you dedicate enough time to keep your retail business up-and-running. You would like to launch a mobile shopping app, but the thought of managing your app is daunting. So, like many retailers, you keep putting it off because you're just too busy or not sure where to begin.

Integrated Mobile Shopping App

In this blog, we will discuss what a mobile shopping app is, why it's important for your business, and how you can launch and maintain an app without adding a whole lot more to your already busy days.

What Is An eCommerce App?

In the most basic terms, eCommerce apps allow consumers to browse products and make purchases right from their mobile device. Compared to eCommerce websites, apps are a more convenient way to shop, and provide retailers a more personal way to connect with customers. Not only do mobile apps 'live' on the customer's home screen (which they see 100s of times per day), they provide everything they need to shop without leaving their phones- products, reviews, digital wallets, push notifications, social logins, and more.

For years, consumers have been using mobile phones to compare prices and read product reviews. Today, with the increase of online and at home shopping, more customers are downloading mobile apps of their favorite stores to do the bulk of their shopping.

2021 Mobile Shopping Apps Statistics

With so many consumers shopping on apps, you can see just how important it is to expand your retail business with a mobile app.

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What your mobile app MUST do?

As mentioned in our previous blog post about mobile apps, the two main things your app MUST do is (1) increase customer loyalty, and (2) increase conversions. At a bare minimum, your app needs to be fast and sleek-looking, and display the most current products, images and inventory counts; otherwise customers will most likely uninstall your app. You can also increase loyalty and conversions with promotional push notifications, especially if your messages are personalized and link back to the app. Loyalty rewards is another great way to increase loyalty and sales; cross-channel rewards is recommended for businesses with an eCommerce website and/or brick-and-mortar store- so customers can earn/redeem reward points wherever they shop with you.

To increase customer loyalty and sales even further, by focusing on your local customers, you can offer 'Buy Online, Pickup In Store' and curbside pickup at checkout. Even if you have multiple stores, you can offer same-day pickup via your eCommerce site AND your app. This provides the opportunity to engage with local customers face-to-face; and we all know the next 'best thing' to shopping in your store is picking up in your store (or curb)- the same-day!

But how much effort will it take to develop an app? And how much time is needed for daily upkeep?

Benefits of an Integrated App: Celerant's App

Celerant's mission has always been to provide small to mid-sized retailers with an innovative, all-in-one retail solution, and our app is no exception. Unlike many apps that operate as a standalone solution, Celerant's apps integrate with the Celerant back office software, so you can manage your entire retail business from a central location. While Celerant's app offers many benefits over other apps, let's focus on how Celerant's integrated approach reduces the time and effort it takes to develop and maintain your app.

Two Types of Apps: Before we dive in, it's important to first distinguish between Celerant's two app options.

  1. Custom App: This option not only offers unlimited designs and functionality capabilities, it has real-time integration with every channel in your business.
  2. Standard or Stock App: This option offers flexible template designs. Though it's not 100% real-time, it is very close through a seamless integration with the back office software.

Product/Image Updates: Perhaps the biggest challenge many retailers worry about when creating an app is the process of maintaining it over time. In many cases, retailers struggle to update their existing eCommerce site; so the thought of adding an app may seem overwhelming. As a result, many retailers do not think it's worth the time and energy to keep their app updated. However, that is not the case with Celerant's integrated app. Instead of updating your point of sale, eCommerce and app in three separate places, updates to products/pricing/promotions are made once- in your back office software- which then automatically updates all three platforms, simultaneously. The best part- both the Standard and Custom App accomplish this, as this is the biggest differentiator of Celerant’s apps!

Order Management: Another benefit of the integration is the ability to manage orders from all retail channels in one centralized location. After an order is placed in store, online or on the app, the order flows into the Celerant back office software. Through the back office, you can review, pick/pack/ship and manage fulfillment for all orders, regardless of channel. This saves a tremendous amount of time compared to other solutions that require you to log into each platform individually and/or manually enter online orders into your main retail system. You can also run reports that consolidate sales from each channel, or analyze each channel separately.

Automatic Inventory Levels: After an order is placed, inventory levels are automatically updated and reflected across all platforms simultaneously. This ensures your customers and staff have access to accurate inventory levels, reducing the chances of placing orders for items not in stock. Imagine a customer arriving at your curb just to find out the item is on back-order; not only is this frustrating and embarrassing, you risk losing that customer, and may receive a bad review. Celerant's custom app updates inventory in real-time; the standard app updates in near real-time.

Integrated BOPIS/Curbside Pickup: Customers have always loved convenience, but the necessity of convenience has become even more obvious through the pandemic. Now more than ever, having the option to buy online with same day pickup is essential for local businesses. Celerant's 'Buy Online, Pickup In Store' functionality and Curbside Pickup App is integrated and comes standard with every app, custom or standard.

Here's how it works: All orders marked as 'curbside' flow directly into the Curbside Pickup App. When an order is ready, the app sends a notification to the customer, similar to a text message. The message contains the address of your store, and additional instructions (i.e., specific parking spot, curb, etc.). The customer can click a link in the text message to alert your staff when they arrive at your curb, streamlining the process for both your customer and your store's staff.

Launching an App Developed and Designed by Celerant

Celerant develops mobile apps for retailers from start to finish. With seamless integration to Celerant's back-office software, you can manage all channels- point of sale, eCommerce website and the app- from a central location with NO extra maintenance. Once your product updates are completed in the back office software, all your channels are automatically updated at once. Celerant's apps are iOS and Android compatible, with options for either standard apps or custom apps, so you can select the app that best suites the needs of your business and your budget.

Ready to Learn More?
Click below to learn more about each app, and choose the one that's right for your business!

Ready to Learn More?
Click below to learn more about each app, and choose the one that's right for your business!


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