How App Clips Can Help Retailers
Improving the user experience in physical stores with App Clips
Jan 13,2021

Recently, Cloud Interactive helped Carrefour - the French multinational retail giant - add Apple's App Clips into its e-commerce app. Apple introduced App Clips with iOS 14 in September 2020 to enhance both the in-store and in-person user experience for iOS apps. App Clips let users quickly access and experience what an app has to offer.

For this article, we interviewed the Cloud Interactive executive team about collaborating with Carrefour on app development. We also asked them to share their suggestions for retailers who plan to develop App Clips in their iOS apps.

What are App Clips, and how do they work?

App Clips are small parts of apps that let users complete discrete tasks on demand — like paying for parking or ordering coffee. These lightweight versions of apps are designed to be discovered not in a digital store, but in real-world environments through NFC tags and QR codes.

That’s because many of today’s time-pressed users don’t want to bother with a full app download when they’re in a hurry but can still benefit from specific app features. With App Clips, users can load just a small part of an app right when they need it to experience useful features from the main app. Once they’ve experienced the value the app has to offer, they’re free to download the full app later.

With Carrefour’s App Clips, shoppers can join the store’s membership program, quickly purchase goods, or earn rewards without downloading the full app. By facilitating fast payments for goods and services, App Clips can help e-commerce and retail businesses create excellent customer experiences that promote growth.

What makes App Clips a game-changer for many businesses?

App Clips boost both app adoption and user engagement by making it as easy as possible to interact with apps. If a user finds an App Clip Card useful, they can share it with others via social or messaging.

“If brands are successful at demonstrating value on App Clips, they may ultimately attract new long-term app users,” says Betty Chen, the project execution manager at Cloud Interactive.

Last year, Betty’s team helped combine several poorly integrated Carrefour marketing and e-commerce apps into a single streamlined app. The One Carrefour App supports online shopping, online-to-offline sales, promotions, customer rewards, and payments. Cloud Interactive continues to collaborate with Carrefour on developing and improving the app. Our goal is to create the best possible user experience while helping Carrefour meet its customer engagement and growth goals.

When Apple introduced App Clips in 2020, Betty’s team saw the feature’s potential to expedite the shopping experience for Carrefour customers. “We believed Apple’s new App Clips would change the app landscape, and we wanted to help our clients leverage the trend as soon as possible,” says Red, a senior iOS developer on Betty’s team. Cloud Interactive is excited to welcome App Clips into our range of services because we believe it creates valuable business growth opportunities while promoting optimal user experience.

Here are a few of the reasons our team thinks App Clips could be a game-changer for retailers:

  • People can discover and launch App Clips in a variety of ways and contexts and complete tasks inside apps within seconds.
  • App Clips are contextual. A Clip pulls up a single task relevant to the user’s current situation (like displaying a discount available at the store where the user is shopping).
  • App Clips are easy to use for traditional customers who may struggle with digital technologies.
  • App Clips let retailers configure offline and online experiences as entry points for the brand’s app.

Tips for creating App Clips for your business

“When used right, app clips can make businesses more accessible,” Betty says. Cloud Interactive’s comprehensive team of designers and developers can help clients create a clear plan and effective process for adding App Clips to their apps. Here are the steps our team follows and recommends:

  1. Identifying the use case: From user research to concept brainstorms, our project owners, designers, and developers work closely with clients to create a detailed plan for how the brand can deliver customized experiences using App Clips.
  2. Project Planning: At this stage, the project manager gathers the executive team to map out the timing, detailed costs, priorities, deadlines, and actions for the project.
  3. Design: The designer translates the project requirements into a visual prototype or wireframes. The QA specialist tests these concepts with a group of end users before development even begins.
  4. Development, testing, and deployment: The team smoothly shepherds a mobile app with App Clips from concept to market.

Interestingly, the concept behind App Clips isn’t new. For several years, Google’s Android platform has offered tiny app-on-demand downloads called Instant Apps. Now that contextual lightweight apps are available on both platforms, we expect the app development industry to evolve to make the most of this technology.

For many years, pundits and industry insiders have regarded mobile apps’ eventual dominance as an inevitability — one that retailers must keep up with to stay competitive. While the advent of technologies like App Clips holds great potential, it also complicates the app development process as companies must consider how to use the technology to maximum advantage.

We believe that businesses must partner rather than go it alone in this age of rapid digital transformation. Cloud Interactive’s team of data scientists, engineers, designers, and app developers stands ready to provide smart design, effective communication, and innovative technologies to enhance business competitiveness.

Interested in innovating your business with the latest industry trends? Contact us now for more digital transformation solutions! 

About Cloud Interactive

Cloud Interactive is an AI, Software Engineering, and Design consulting company founded in 2010.

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