It can be daunting for small businesses to enter the mobile market.

It can be daunting for small businesses to enter the mobile market. With large brands dominating the digital landscape, it’s difficult for many retailers to see how their voice can be heard. However, as increasing numbers of consumers turn to their smartphones to shop, embracing the app culture looks to be the way forward for retail businesses, no matter what their size.

Investing in an app can provide a fantastic new revenue opportunity for businesses that are willing to get involved. As a medium argued by many to be more effective than traditional forms of marketing or print advertising, apps can enable retailers to proactively drive footfall into store. Multimedia capabilities, download functions and the ability to send vouchers and updates to users mean that accessing potential customers is easier than ever.

Apps also allow retailers to collect customer data, providing them with information on their preferences and shopping habits. Brands can then use the information gained to refine their business strategies and increase customer conversion. With features like customer ‘check-ins’ acting as a technologically-advanced loyalty card, apps can allow retailers to reward customers in an instant. Loyalty functions not only encourage customers to return to bricks-and-mortar premises again and again, but they also allow businesses to establish more meaningful relationships with customers.

It sounds harsh, but I do believe that retailers who are unwilling to keep up with the changing pace of the market will be left behind. Apps are an effective way to compete in an increasingly technology-driven environment.  It could be that they are the saviour to lift the high street out of the grave.

  • Paul Sanders is a founder and technical director at Apps4, a specialist app development company.