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  • Creating a Successful Mobile App for Retail Business Like Zara

    Creating a Successful Mobile App for Retail Business Like Zara

    Alex Gurbo
    Alex Gurbo
    CTO & Co-founder
    21 October 2019

    Shopping apps are the new black in modern tech. Users love them for intuitive interfaces and high speed while business managers benefit from the connection with the target audience that these mobile apps help build.

    Building e-commerce apps requires a strong background in software design and development. Successful projects like Zara’s mobile app create standards business managers should follow to succeed on the market.

    In this post, you’ll find out what determines the success of a retail app, what features to include, and how much it costs to develop a top-tier product.

    What Makes Zara Mobile App So Successful?

    When your user rating is 4.3 out of 5

    Zara is an acclaimed frontrunner when it comes to combining high-tech experiences with a regular brick-and-mortar approach in shopping. The brand was among the pioneers in implementing self-service checkout and digital receipts — no wonder its mobile app is tech-savvy as well. 
    To understand how successful the company’s retail app for Android and iOS is, check out the following statistics:

    • User rating — 4.3 out of 5;
    • The app ranked 24th by the popularity in the ‘Lifestyle category’;
    • Wide availability — iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows users can freely access the app.

    Zara manages to successfully combine a wide range of features with an intuitive interface. Here are the reasons for Zara’s popularity as an app:

    1. Intuitive navigation

    Zara app designers avoided a complicated drop-down menu and pop-up windows. Instead, a panel at the bottom of the screen is all a user needs to move through screens. The app implements a block-based layout, with all items grouped in a stylish grid. 

    2. Custom interface

    It’s common for retailers to transfer the desktop-style to mobile applications — the Zara mobile app is, on the contrary, fully custom. There’s enough white space to avoid cluttering the screen, the interface is visual, all blocks and panels are big enough to tap effortlessly. 

    Keeping the inconvenience of typing on a small screen of a mobile device in mind, the project team designed the interface in a way that users start checking-out without filling a single form. 

    3. Multiple pictures of each item under different angles

    Zara made sure that the app users get just as much information about items as desktop shoppers. That’s why there’s an extensive image reel accompanying each product article. A user can scroll the app to see a selected item in all available colors and sizes, from different points of view, zoom in to see the texture quality. 

    4. Wide range of payment methods

    A long payment options list allows users to check out on their terms — a shopper can pay with a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express), a PayPal account or the brand’s gift card. A wide range of gateways, without a doubt, increases the company’s conversion rates. 

    5. Multilingual support

    To improve the brand’s accessibility across the world, Zara’s mobile app development team ensured the app is available in all widely-used languages. As for now, the app supports 20 languages and has a user base in over 47 countries. 

    6. GPS integration to pinpoint nearest stores

    Zara is one of the most popular fashion brands worldwide — it recently hit the 1,600 worldwide stores milestone. The mobile app does a flawless job at helping users reach the brand’s nearest point of sale. To improve customer acquisition and retention, the brand has added a GPS module to the product. 

    A user will be able to see the nearest shop on a map to effortlessly access the newest collections. 

    7. Augmented reality support

    Living up to its name of a tech trendsetter, Zara added an AR fitting feature to the mobile app. To bring any Zara’s clothes to life, an app user needs to point the camera at the item. An app will read the image and show a 3D hologram of a person wearing a chosen outfit.

    How to Succeed With Your Own Retail App?

    Successful work
    “Action is the foundational key to all success.” —Pablo Picasso

    The retail app market is a tough crowd — last year, there were over 150 million projects in app stores — more are launched every day. Is there enough room in the market for a new mobile shopping project? The good news is since the target audience amounts to billions of smartphone users, it is within the developer’s reach to attract a large user base to the app. So, to create a shopping app without exceeding a reasonable budget, follow the steps below.

    1. Distinguish between the app’s core additional features

    Looking at advanced apps like Zara’s, a developer might think that a retail mobile app has to be crammed with features to be appealing to the audience. As the project scales, new features will follow — at the time of the first build’s release, developers should stick to ensuring the product’s essential features function as expected.

    Here are the must-have features of a mobile app for retailers:

    • Creating an account. A user needs to be able to sign up to the store to view the cart, the shopping history, and save the payment info (having to type the credit card number for every check-out is too daunting for most). Make the sign-up process reasonably short, ask a user for essential data only. Adding social media sign-in integration is a common industry practice for increasing the speed of sign-ins. 
    • Multiple payment integrations are essential to ensure a user has no obstacles during the check-out and can complete the process quickly and effortlessly. Aside from multiple gateways, make sure the retail app for iPhone and Android supports the currency of the company’s target markets. 
    • Offline access. It’s convenient for users to access the store even if the connectivity is too slow, unstable, or lost altogether. Offline access is a challenging feature to implement as it requires reference data precaching — however, it leads to improved customer satisfaction and higher revenues. 

    2. Choose the right platform

    iOS and Android are the most popular platforms for mobile app development. While each has advantages and drawbacks, take time to choose the right environment as you make a retail app like Zara, based on the following factors:

    • User base. Generally, Android has a larger worldwide user base everywhere except the United States, where iPhones dominate. If you’re catering to an American audience, choosing iOS as a platform is a wiser move, while international retailers should prioritize Android. 
    • Development complexities. Generally, Android is known for a more complex development environment than iOS. Depending on the platform, software engineers use different technology stacks as well — Swift and Objective-C are the major programming languages for iOS development, while Android app developers write in Java and Kotlin. 
    • Return on investment. By users’ incomes, iOS is a more lucrative platform than Android. On average, the return on investment of an iOS app is considered to be 85% higher than that of the Android one. 

    3. Create a clear development plan

    how to create zara app
    Creating a plan is an important process.

    Having to create an app for retail is a time-consuming process that can stall if the team doesn’t have a stage-by-stage framework to adhere to. Having a clear development plan helps ensure there will be no deviations from the company’s original goals and the project will launch smoothly. 

    A development plan usually includes:

    • Time and budget estimates for every development stage. This way, a business manager will be able to ensure that app development does not strain the company’s budget and doesn’t take too much time, not allowing the team to work on other activities. 
    • Thorough market research, with a list of competitors to take as a reference point, potential risks an app might face after launch, and insights into the project’s target audience. 
    • The app’s concept, core features, and the list of goals it should help a mobile retail business reach over a given time frame. 
    • A monetization model — the way to drive revenue via the app — directly from product purchases, using freemium subscriptions, in-app purchases, sponsorship, adds, or other models. 

    4. Plan scalability

    Scalability is the way to keep the app running as the number of visitors and customers increases. The lack of proper planning will likely result in system shutdowns, a kinky interface under high loads, and security issues. Build a retail app with scalability in mind to make sure the app is ready to make it big. 

    Here are the ways to prepare a project for upscaling:

    • Acquiring enough server power to accommodate an estimated increase of daily active users;
    • Conducting volume testing to ensure the system will not crash as you expand the database; 
    • Make sure the hardware is powerful enough to support high traffic loads. 

    How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App Like Zara?

    create zara like app
    Software development is a complicated process

    While it’s possible to estimate the cost of a generic shopping app, keep in mind that the precise estimate of the development budget will vary for every project — as there are dozens of factors to come into play. Typically, when estimating the cost of building a project, we take the following points into account:

    • Type and skill of a development team;
    • Developers’ location;
    • The range of features and their complexity; 
    • The number of platforms the app supports;
    • Design and stylistic choices.
    FeatureDevelopment cost
    Account registration$3,900-$4,000
    Payment gateways integrations$5,500-$7,000
    Search engine$3,400-$3,800
    Push notifications $2,200-$2,700
    CMS: admin and user management$6,300-$8,000
    Geolocation$2,250-$3,500
    Total:$23,550-$29,000

    NB! The estimates above are valid for a simple retailer app with basic functionality and an European development team on-board. If you plan to source talent from the US or Canada, development costs may grow exponentially due to higher rates.


    Final thoughts

    complete software project
    Let’s check the summary

    Retail applications are a lucrative field for retailers as they have a wide target audience and a lot of room to integrate innovation. Providing users with a fast and seamless shopping experience, you will be able to add another revenue drive to the impact of in-store sales.

    A top-notch retail store app requires a strong development team. Software developers at Lotasoft have years of development experience and trend watching — we follow the best practices of retail app development when working on new projects. 

    Check out our project reel to see how proficient Lotasoft developers are in using diverse technology stacks and integrating innovative features. To discuss your next project, leave us a message — our developers will offer a fresh perspective and ideas of how to bring your vision to life.

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