Mobile app development in retail

Igor Piatnytskyi
November 19, 2019
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We’ll share our vision on how to find and implement technological trends for your business based on our AR mobile application development case study for Leroy Merlin.

The online sales market annually grows by 20%. Smaller enterprises react faster than others to the emergence of new technologies and use them in their activities. Competition is also growing in the online applications market: more than 2,000,000 applications are available to users in the Apple Store and Google Play and this figure continues to grow.

Nowadays it’s impossible to develop business without online presence, and the mobile-friendly website, is not enough. An application, on the other hand, is a more interesting solution, which gives even more opportunities for the introduction of new technologies. We’ll share our vision on how to find and implement technological trends for your business based on our AR mobile application development case study for Leroy Merlin.

Does a business need a mobile application?

Google research has shown that online shopping is the third most used smartphone feature, following phone calls and web surfing. But the person will never download the application just to make the purchase. For users it is important not only to find the right products, but also to compare their prices.

In Russia, 72% of customers use a mobile phone to find the product and info about it. 62% of them agree that the application is more convenient than the mobile site. Finding the price, looking at the model or solving another simple task is easier by clicking the application icon, and not downloading the page in the browser. A mobile site is often opened for more information and a comprehensive analysis of the product. In some cases, the application can be the first stage of searching for the desired product, followed by a website and offline purchase in a real store.

So the creation of an application is a logical step for large companies with an established audience, and for developing enterprises. At the same time, you can’t simply upload the application onto the app-platform and forget about it. It is important to constantly monitor the feedback, the wishes of users, and release updates taking into account the information received. For example, the application of our partner Leroy Merlin is updated every two weeks, based on user feedback.

Check our detailed outsource app development case study

Why is the application useful?

The release of the application is not a magic pill, capable of solving all problems with customers. Some users don’t like applications, others simply don’t use mobile phones. This is important to consider if your business has a wide audience, including people of different age categories and social groups. The application shouldn’t replace the mobile site but rather support it. In addition, you need to work with other traffic channels, for example, with social networks.

But the application is better suitable for the introduction of new technologies, in particular, gaining popularity of augmented reality. Digi Capital reports that AR/VR will make the greatest profit in the fields of e-commerce, advertising, mobile data and computer components.

The forecast for capitalization of the mobile AR market by 2021 is $83 billion. Therefore, we need to adopt the AR technology right now, and that is what we are doing.

How does a retailer develop an application?

In 2017, we presented a new version of the application for Leroy Merlin. The main innovation was the augmented reality technology.

Now the user will be able to immediately see what the chosen item of decor will look like in the interior simply using his smartphone. If the received result suits him, he can immediately make a purchase, if not, – the application will pick up alternatives.

The technology of “online fitting” is not new and there are many opportunities for experiments with it. Leroy Merlin saw us as a like-minded tech partner, not just a mobile application developer. We have been cooperating with Leroy Merlin for a long time, this team shares our views on digital transformation and we have already presented several successful joint developments.

Effective communication requires an established communication system. Even the fact that our partners are located in another city doesn’t stop us from constantly informing them about the progress on the project and regularly receiving their feedback. To optimize the workflow, it is important to jointly identify strategic goals and divide them into specific stages, and then proceed implementing them. The client always knows what has already been done, what results we have achieved and what our next steps are.

After the release: the results, finalization and plans

After the release of the new app version, the number of installations increased by 1000%. The number of users increased by 1000%. The average session duration increased by 20%. The updated application received positive feedback from customers and the media.

It took several months to develop an update for the application with augmented reality for our team, and there were some difficulties in releasing the application on the App Store. At the first review, there was a demand from the site to describe in more detail AR-opportunities, which we did. Other developers recommend immediately paying more attention to the description of AR functions in the product.

However, the work of Nullgravity is not over. We are responsible for the further development of the product, the mastering of AR technology and the release of new updates. Weekly, we monitor user reviews in the App Store, make the necessary improvements, based on customer preferences, and expand the number of products available in AR Leroy Merlin.

At the same time, we test and implement other technologies in the product. One of them – iBeacon – the technology of beacons, simplifying the search for the right position and quickly informing the visitor about promos and discounts of the store. You can also test this chip in the application.

Technologies change the world rapidly: users test augmented reality willingly, they communicate with artificial intelligence. Yes, some clients may not understand the innovations, and this is just an excuse to discover new opportunities for them and teach them how to use them. Now AR/VR and AI are only gaining popularity, but soon these technologies will be adopted by many companies and they will transfer them to “must have” category. And we need is to master them now.

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