Boutiques are wonderful places to shop for the most interesting things that aren’t run of the mill. And you can be certain that you won’t find 10 other people wearing the same thing you picked up from a boutique! But do people, and women in particular, have that kind of time nowadays to leisurely shop? No, they don’t! And that’s why online shopping is a booming industry now.
When it comes to big retailers, apps are quite commonplace. But smaller businesses usually hesitate to invest in this channel of sales. It’s easy to understand why –
- they are afraid they may not break even with the investment cost of developing an app
- they fear they won’t be able to attract enough customers to download the app
- they believe they don’t have the bandwidth to maintain an app
- or they think they don’t have the team to develop a mobile marketing strategy to keep it going effectively
The list of doubts goes on!
But this is precisely where most of them get it wrong! They already have a steady customer base at their brick-and-mortar store, or their online store. By offering customers an app, it just makes it easier for them to shop at any time, without the hassles of finding time to visit the store, or having to ensure that the store is open at that particular hour. And let’s not forget the soul soothing joy of impulse shopping, that mobile apps make very possible!
So let’s look at how boutique apps can be successful and enrich the shopping experience.
- Mobile devices see the largest footprint compared to any other device. This is because people have their smartphones on their person all the time! The most amount of browsing happens on a mobile device. Purchases on the desktop may still be higher than purchases made on mobiles, but that doesn’t mean that mobile isn’t giving the desktop some stiff competition. It’s just that there are websites out there that aren’t optimised for mobile screens (shocking, isn’t it!), and therefore they operate at slower speed and are difficult to navigate on the mobile phone. This depreciates the user experience. Another reason could be the unseated concerns for mobile security. But with a mobile app, all that changes. Moreover, mobile sales are predicted to only increase in the future, what with every new feature offering celerity and ease of use. Some of these features are exclusive to mobile apps. So launching an app now will put you ahead of the competition that is bound to come later.
- There are certain demographics where mobiles are an integral part of their lifestyles. These are the people who will make up your loyal customer base. Women, millennials and Asians! It’s not that older men don’t shop on their mobiles, but women are ahead in this trend! Millennials are that generation of people who saw the introduction of smartphones at an important time in their youth, they all own a mobile phone and are dedicated users, they are a young and active bunch, and they are at a time in their lives where they earn their own money and have spending power. Asians – I’m sure this one caught you by surprise! – apparently spend more on boutique apps than anyone else in the world. It would be superfluous for me to point out why you need to target this market. Now when you look at the demographics, it’s easy to see what a large potential customer base you can dip into when you launch your own mobile app. You even have a better chance here with men as it offers them the chance to select precisely what they want using filters for each category, and buy it without the trauma of going to a shop! It’s fashion, it’s simple and it’s fast!
- The boutique app can be built for Android as well as iOS phones. This means that the app can use features from the phone itself to make the mobile shopping experience feel native and not different from what they are used to. It can use the phone camera to scan QR codes when something is on offer, it can use the phone’s geo-location to target customers in the area, and it can use push notifications to notify customers immediately about new deals, offers and sales, as well as discounts on products abandoned in their e-trolleys, and alert them when a favourite product is going out of stock. Using heat maps and by studying the customer’s shopping behaviour it can tailor the shopping experience and make it more personal to each individual.
- A boutique app is a brilliant place to display a look-book. What’s more, with the right features, it would allow shoppers to virtually try on products to help them pick what suits them! Let’s say the look-book is for jewellery. Using the phone camera, it can take a picture of the person’s face and show them how a pair of earrings would look on them. Or a store for bridal gowns that shows the person a close approximation of how a dress would look on them.
- With mobile apps, boutiques don’t have the bother of warehouses and inventory getting spoiled. They know what is selling and for what orders have been made and they can order their stock as and when.
- Boutique apps can let the customer be a judge of things by leaving reviews or ratings, thereby acting as a guide for later shoppers who are trying to make informed decisions. Good reviews are like word-of-mouth marketing; they work better than any marketing you could ever do!
Apps make the experience personal. And isn’t that what a boutique is all about – the personal and cosy experience of fashion!
Take the leap today, and see what wonders a mobile app can make to your boutique’s visibility, sales and brand name!