Ordering apps are proving to be a critical tool for businesses wanting to stay viable in the increasingly competitive market that is UK wholesale. But with so many options out there it can be hard to navigate and ensure you choose the right option for your business. So if you’re looking to drive up customer engagement and increase sales make sure you consider the following:
1. Review your web and app strategy as a whole not in isolation
If you don’t have already have online ordering capabilities don’t necessarily think you need web before you can start looking at mobile. Increasingly websites are being used as an information hub and to drive people to download an app. We know from our customers that retailers prefer to use their mobile over desktop and so it makes sense to go mobile first. This can save you significant amounts on development costs for a website that will be less effective than an app and isn’t what your customers actually want.
2. Ensure you offer your app in both iOS and Android
iOS have slightly more market share than Android at current but it is very close. If you only offer your app on one platform you are essentially cutting out half of your customers. It’s therefore critical you choose your app developer carefully as many will charge double to build an app for both platforms as they have to start from scratch with the coding. Look for developers who use frameworks such as Facebook’s React Native. This enables them to reuse a significant amount of code cutting down cross-platform development times and associated costs.
3. If budget is an issue, choose a partner who offers an off-the-shelf solution
If you don’t have the budget to be developing your own bespoke app then there are white label options out there which mean entry costs are significantly lower. Ensure you choose one that specialises in wholesale and offers rich functionality that meets the needs of your customers. And ideally one that allows you to personalise the app with your own branding. Look out for functionality such as a barcode scanner, shopping lists and intelligent search.
4. Think about your engagement strategy to drive up ROI
It’s all very well having an app, but if you don’t engage effectively with your customers it is unlikely they will use your app to its full potential. Make sure you choose an app partner that offers a customer engagement solution that enables you to communicate with your app users. Search for customer engagement platforms that are offered as part of the ordering app, are tailored to the wholesale market and have functionality such as SMS, rich push notifications (images, videos etc.), in-app advertising and product placement.
5. Plan ahead and ensure back-end system compatibility
For an ordering app to work it needs to talk to your back-end system which manages your product inventory. There are two approaches for this either 1) your app receives a flat file format document which outlines product information, or 2) the app integrates to the backend via an API (Application Programming Interface) provided to you by your backend provider. Not all vendors offer API’s, so it is a good idea to check if they do before you select your supplier, otherwise you may find it difficult to integrate services such as your app.
RNF are experts in wholesale ordering apps. If you’d like to find out more about our offering and how we can help drive up your sales and ROI please contact us here.