It’s a fascinating time to be in retail, particularly if you have a keen eye for mobility, and specifically, for how apps are influencing not just retail consumers but retail at an enterprise level as well. The global enterprise economy is growing, with the research from enterprise app building platform Fliplet suggesting that 126% more enterprise apps were created in 2016 than a year before.

The rise of low- and no-code enterprise app building platforms and an increase in the number of mobile app development services has made it possible for organizations to ask this question:

“If cost or technical limitations weren’t a problem, what apps would we build?”

This, supported by such news as about Apple and Accenture partnering to ensure organizations have the resources to create high-quality, productivity-enhancing applications, only adds fuel to the enterprise app fire. What’s more, research by App Annie suggests that retailers are expected to show the highest adoption rate compared to other industries this year.

The challenges that retailers face in regard to connecting with their potential customers are looming. But what problems are retail stores currently facing that might be helped by having effective, powerful enterprise apps?

Carrying the momentum from consumer-facing apps across to enterprise apps

While the benefits of using mobile apps in the retail industry are widely acknowledged, stores may find it more difficult to leverage the same success as quickly across their enterprise apps.

With a 33% increase in the revenue generated during last year’s Black Friday sales, the next challenge will be for retail stores to optimize their internal processes to the same extent.

Utilizing technology to the full

Research conducted by Adobe suggests that the CEOs of some of the world’s largest retail stores are acutely aware of the technological surge in general, but are concerned that their organizations aren’t making the most of it yet.

The research goes on to suggest that while technology appears to be the ultimate enabler, few stores have been able to effectively roadmap for the future of the digital age.

The benefits of enterprise apps for retail stores

With these problems in mind, what benefit can enterprise apps bring to retail stores?

As with other industries, enterprise apps can help retailers create consistency across all their stores and ensure everyone is up-to-date on the latest news and regulations that might affect them.

Additionally, the overarching ability of enterprise apps to give employees access to information anywhere, at any time, even if they don’t have an online connection, can be crucial.

Here are a few more retail-orientated benefits of using enterprise apps.

Managing operations

This task can be challenging in itself, so the technology that can help managers control processes will be helpful in any case.

For example, enterprise mobile apps can be used to:
Help employees manage the latest price adjustments, promotions, and sales offers. Any changes can be instantly pushed to mobile devices, prompting employees to make the required changes.
Empower employees to take the initiative over the compliance process without having to unnecessarily disrupt management.

Managing employees

Mobile apps can be an efficient way for both managers and employees to track sick leave, holiday leave and rotas. With an app, changes are instantly updated from their central location, and employees can be prompted should their hours change.

Similarly, managers can be informed if staff will be on leave well in advance, and without having to manually enter the information themselves.

Tracking stock

As mentioned above, apps can be used to update employees instantly about any changes to promotional campaigns, items on sale, and more. With that in mind, full stock lists can be located on apps. This is beneficial for two main reasons:
Should an employee need to find a specific item, they can quickly check whether it is still in stock via the app.
If a manager is placing orders, they can refer to any instant updates made to the stock list on the app to ensure their latest order is accurate.

Emergency or disaster recovery directions

Apps designed for emergency recovery purposes can take many forms, but a common example is an app used by enterprises to inform employees of what to do in specific scenarios.

For example, should there be a breach or theft of data, the employee who discovers it can access the app and in a matter of 2-4 taps on the screen they’ll be informed of what exactly to do and who to contact.

Handling and reporting on data

Retail stores have the capacity to collect huge amounts of data, and this data powers decision taken by the world’s largest retail outlets more than ever before. That said, mobile apps can help optimize both data collection and reporting stages of the process.

Data collection gets much easier and more accurate if consumers and employees can submit their opinions in real time or as close to the event in question as possible.

Additionally, live report can be sent to the mobile devices of managers within the organization to monitor the results and carry out immediate analysis of the data collected.

Employee training

Particularly in large retail stores, staff churn and recruitment workload can be quite high. Thus, training new employees quickly to reach the corporate standards of the utmost importance.

Mobile apps enable employees to participate in training activities wherever they are, at any time, and complete courses quicker and more efficiently. In some cases, it might be possible for an employee to complete the required training entirely online before they even begin to work on the shopping floor.

This maximizes newcomers’ exposure to real-life scenarios that they will face in their work, while minimizing the amount of time that current managers have to spend on staff orientation.

Take the next steps to become a mobile enterprise in the retail industry

Evidently, some of the world’s largest retail stores are already utilizing enterprise apps within their organizations. The benefits are extensive, and the increased productivity and efficiency that many of these organizations are showing only further confirm that enterprise mobile apps are becoming ever more popular and useful.