Why you should rely on your own e-commerce app for mobile shopping

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

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Consumers have been shopping on the move for a long time and with increasing frequency. And preferably with their smartphone. As your customers are also increasingly shifting from desktop to mobile, a mobile-first approach is required to positively influence purchasing decisions. For online retailers, supplementing the website with apps for e-commerce is therefore an important task.

Why you need an e-commerce app

Of course you have a responsive website. But if you expect it to satisfy all the mobile shoppers, you should rethink. Just a quick look at a few figures speaks for itself:

  • According to the digital marketing platform Think with Google 64 % of online retail now takes place on mobile devices. However, the conversion rates are only half as high as on desktop. In other words: more visitors, but fewer shoppers.
  • The software developer and consultant Ruby Garage found that 78 % of consumers would rather use an e-commerce app than a mobile website to shop online. That's right: 78 %!
  • The Mobile App Evolution Report 2020 from App Annie states that users worldwide had an average of 93 apps installed on their smartphone in 2019 and used 41 of them per month.

And then there's Covid-19, which has proven to have crammed a decade of growth in online retail into a single year. That's why the Mobile Shopping Apps Report from App Annie, Liftoff and poq announce that ...

  • ... the time consumers spend on shopping apps increased by 48 % in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year.
  • ... from January to May 2021, Android users alone made an average of two billion hours of purchases per week - 51 % more than before the pandemic.
  • ... throughout 2020, the value of the shopping basket grew by 22 % compared to the previous year.

Mobile UX mindset for the e-commerce of the future

As the above figures show, mobile shopping is booming, but there are problems with conversion. The customer journey increasingly begins with the mobile search. However, purchases are often made elsewhere or, even worse, not at all. The main reason is simply that the ordering process is often too complicated overall. Studies have identified three main pain points in mobile UX.

Interim conclusion: At discount stores, we all have no choice and have to squeeze past unpacked boxes in narrow aisles and wait more or less patiently at the checkout. But the online shopping experience has to be much, much better. Otherwise, shoppers are guaranteed to find a place where the grass is greener or the shopping experience is more satisfying in the infinite expanses of the internet.

The good news is that an e-commerce app solves all three of the above challenges at once - if it's done well. So what is important if you want to turn your prospects into convinced buyers with the help of an e-commerce app?

What features make a good e-commerce app?

The aim of all your e-commerce marketing tools should be to stand out from the crowd and increase customer satisfaction.

To do this, you should make sure that your e-commerce app aligns with your business goals. Therefore, first determine what you want to achieve with your app, how the functions can facilitate your processes and at the same time offer a great customer experience.

These are some of the most important and useful features of good e-commerce apps, which you can also introduce in stages:

Four must-haves...

  1. Simple registration: A streamlined registration process is always an attractive plus for customers. Simplify registration by giving users the option to sign up by email, by phone number with OTP or even via external accounts such as Google and Facebook.
  2. Wish list are one of the most important functions. Customers like to mark products without having to add them to their shopping cart. Many of them visit their wish list again and again, which boosts the repurchase rate.
  3. Super-fast checkout: The checkout is the last step of every conversion. This is why simplicity and speed are required here. Functions such as automatic completion of details based on profile information and guest checkouts must be part of every modern e-commerce app. This allows users to complete the transaction with minimal time and effort. And that is a crucial factor in reducing abandoned purchases.
  4. Several payment methods: Because shoppers prefer different payment methods, the more the better. Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal and others that enable fast and convenient payment should be on board e-commerce apps.

... and three nice-to-haves

  1. Push notifications are effective when it comes to product updates, saved items that are back in stock, hot flash sales, personalized marketing campaigns and much more. They are the key to communication between your brand and customers.
  2. Progress bar improve the shopping experience because they make the number of steps until the purchase is completed visible. Customers see the e-commerce app in action and are rewarded with an endorphin rush at the end of the bar.

AI language assistant: Voice shopping is still in its infancy. However, major companies in the e-commerce industry are experimenting with it and setting new standards for a better customer experience. The technical capabilities of AI voice assistants help with easy navigation through the app and lead to more conversions. In general AI for e-commerce will be of increasing importance in the future.

Build an e-commerce app yourself or have it developed?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to set up your own store app. For many smaller online retailers, it may be sufficient to use an off-the-shelf app from providers such as Shopify.

However, you should not overlook the fact that being dependent on the platform can be a disadvantage in addition to the lack of customizability to your own specific needs. If it doesn't work for whatever reason, you can no longer sell either.

Of course, the initial investment in a customized, individual solution from an app development agency is higher. But in return, you save the monthly fees that you would have to pay with portals such as Shopify.

Regardless of which path you choose, it is always crucial that you first develop a solid app concept in order to create the right design and an optimized user experience.

Conclusion: apps in e-commerce make sense for retailers of all sizes

Mobile shopping is already hugely important and will continue to grow in importance. It's simply much more convenient than booting up the computer first. On the bus, on the train or during the lunch break - people want to do their shopping anywhere and at any time.

And of course, this applies to small and large retailers alike. Even and especially if you are just starting out as a retailer, you should not miss out on the opportunities offered by e-commerce marketing tools. They are far more than just a supplement to "traditional" e-commerce: in most cases, they become independent sales drivers that increasingly deliver the majority of conversions.

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