April 14, 2022
Retail Growth

10 Must-Have Features for Your Retail Mobile App

Sean Turner

As a grocery retailer, you understand the increasing importance of technology for your business. With today’s shopper spending five or six hours a day on a mobile device, apps are the link between ideas and action—a convenient place for customers to seek inspiration, prepare their in-store shopping trips, and make purchases. 

Even if you already have an app set up for your brick-and-mortar, you may not realize all the ways you can take advantage of retail mobile technology. Between customized loyalty programs, product scanning, shopping lists, and the latest features, your retail mobile app can offer customers a personalized grocery shopping experience that follows them through the pre-purchasing, purchasing, and post-purchasing stages of the shopping process—driving loyalty and boosting sales.

Must-Have Features for Retail Mobile Apps

Here are 10 must-have features for your retail mobile app, and how partnering with Swiftly can help you implement them:

1. Personalization

Relevance drives heightened lifetime values of your customers. If a particular shopper has faithfully purchased the same brand of peanut butter every month for 10 years, there may be no interest in serving up an ad for your store’s brand. However, partnering with their favorite brand to offer double loyalty program points—now that’s something that can win consumer affection! 

Promotions and coupons are just the tip of the iceberg when considering personalization strategies. You can restructure the order in which items appear to each unique shopper, show WIC or SNAP eligible purchases first if that’s how your customer pays, and change purchase options in real-time as items your shopper prefers become low in stock.

The unique first-party customer data you capture can inform which brands, products, and assortments you have in-store and how often you order shipments. Permitted information can also be sold to brand partners who pay for access to your marketing insights and in-app retail media advertising platform. 

Personalization is also a necessary link between the in-store and in-app experience. Shoppers want to be recognized and catered to, no matter where they are in their purchase journey. Swiftly-powered apps are designed to deliver the highest level of personalization by leveraging valuable first-party data to offer shoppers the information and experience that is most relevant to them, ultimately driving in-store traffic, engagement, and conversions. While it may seem like everybody’s talking about personalization, only 28% of apps are doing it effectively, so applying customer data to user experience is still a novelty and differentiator in retail today.

2. An integrated loyalty program

While 52% of American consumers join the loyalty programs of stores they frequent, 79% say they are more likely to join a program that doesn't require them to carry around a physical card. With a retail mobile app, shoppers have their loyalty program concentrated in a digital sphere that’s easy to operate, whether they’re inside or outside the store. 

Swiftly tools help retailers connect an existing loyalty provider to activate offers, sweepstakes, and promotions. Our digital loyalty playbook helps retailers deploy proven tactics and strategies that drive significant digital engagement. Many retailers use the retail media component of their app to deepen ties with CPG brands with double points promotions, loyalty program partnerships, and personalized discounts that cement customer loyalty in a mutually beneficial way. 

3. Intuitive product catalog navigation

No shopper likes to get to the store only to find out the product that they need is out of stock. With a user-friendly product catalog, you can prevent this from happening. A robust product catalog allows shoppers the ability to browse in-stock products in real-time with high-quality visuals, store-specific prices, and detailed product descriptions. 

Best of all, you can personalize product catalog listings to each shopper—adjusting featured products and highlighting deals based on first-party individual shopper data. With a customized product catalog, shoppers have full in-store visibility to relevant products, even from home. 

A user-friendly app is part of the seamless user experience shoppers have grown to expect. They love the convenience of hopping in-app to check product details, prices, and availability any time of day. They like the ability to start a shopping trip online and finish in-store or direct-ship items that may be out of stock without a second thought. Shoppers aren’t choosing third-party delivery services because it’s more affordable or better for them; they’re opting for the service because they like the convenience of a robust app experience—something that you, the retailer, can develop and control for yourself rather than relying on outsourced third parties. 

User experience has always been a top priority for Swiftly and we’re always on the lookout for the latest best practices to offer our retailers. During the pandemic, we quickly pivoted to add curbside pickup, dropship, and self-checkout features for our retailers. In other words, we keep your customers happy by keeping you at the forefront of the industry.

4. Rich product details

What’s more, a catalog containing rich product details shows the shopper exactly what they’re getting when they make a purchase at your store. Whether they’re in the midst of an in-shore shopping trip or planning from their couch, giving shoppers immediate digital access to nutrition facts, reviews, specifications, video demonstrations, and deals, so they can make informed purchase decisions. In turn, shoppers feel confident and satisfied with the products they buy—which makes them likely to return to your store for a great experience. 

5. Enhanced search 

Search functionality is another key part of your product catalog. When user-friendly, intelligent, and informative, shoppers are quickly connected to the products they need. With a Swiftly-powered app, search goes beyond brand names or product categories; shoppers can also use tailored keywords to find items that are “on sale,” “vegetarian,” or “gluten-free,” for instance.

Since the search results combine in-store and online-only products in a single search experience, shoppers receive full visibility and can even choose ship-to-home for out-of-stock items, rather than make another trip elsewhere. 

All in all, Swiftly clients have seen an average 87% increase in search traffic, driving additional store trips, tickets, and ecommerce sales thanks to enhanced product search capabilities. 

6. Monetized shopping Lists

A shopping list scrawled on paper is useful, but a shopping list on a retail mobile app is so much more. 

With 70% of American shoppers making a shopping list before heading to the store, offering a state-of-the-art shopping list feature will change the game for your organized shoppers. 

Shoppers using a Swiftly-powered app can seamlessly add items to their lists from the product catalog; see savings, coupons, and deals; view suggested items based on past purchases and stored data; and get navigation information about where to find items in-store. 

Moreover, shopping lists are profitable for your brick-and-mortar, enabling you to monetize shopper searches like a mini-Google. Combined with the Swiftly ad platform, you can capture brand ad spending whenever shoppers add sponsored items to their lists. 

7. Product scan functionality

App-enabled product scans provide shoppers with full store visibility, whether they’re wandering the aisles or planning their next meal at home. Shoppers can scan item barcodes to add products to shopping lists, see available savings, schedule a pickup or delivery order, get detailed product information, or receive engaging promotional content from brands of interest. 

An extra bonus? Swiftly’s barcode scanning feature works in any store. So a shopper can scan a product barcode in a competitor’s store to see if you’re offering a promotion, coupon, or direct ship option. In other words, this leveraging tool lets you capture sales from other retailers. 

8. Mobile scan-and-go checkout 

When shoppers are in a rush, the last thing they want to do is wait in long checkout lines. With SwiftLane Checkout, they don’t have to. This mobile app feature increases convenience for shoppers who can now skip the line, scanning and paying from their mobile phones instead. 

Using a cart calculator to track spending and calculate discounts is psychologically satisfying for customers, yet researchers have found scan and go shoppers do not, in fact, spend less; studies show that mobile self-checkout shoppers spend more time in-aisle and consider higher valued private label products, which could account for the stable basket size. 

Speedy and independent checkout continues to be a highly desirable differentiator, as 77% of shoppers in 2022 said they’d be more willing to shop at a store that offers scan-and-go technology. 

9. Endless aisle marketplace

Never worry about missing a sale if you have inventory out of stock. With an extended marketplace, you can stop shoppers from resorting to Amazon or Walmart by selling products not carried in stores. 

Swiftly connects directly to CPG manufacturers for fulfillment, requiring no integration work for you to sell products straight from brands to consumers. This is also a good way to test out new products before making a commitment to allocate shelf space in your stores. 

10. Assistance program filters

Making your brick-and-mortar as accessible as possible both brings in sales and serves your entire community. A Swiftly-powered app helps shoppers identify products that are eligible for purchase via special assistance programs like FSA, HSA, SNAP, EBT, and WIC, using dedicated badges, search filters, and featured product placements for users who commonly choose these payment methods. 

With Swiftly, you can create a retail mobile app that delivers personalization, efficiency, and privacy. By using exclusive first-party data, you’ll better understand shoppers’ wants and needs, while protecting their personal information and providing a closed-loop shopping experience that builds loyalty and bolsters sales.

To implement any of these features in your current mobile app—or to start building a retail media app from the ground up—contact Swiftly today.