Gone are the days when mobile apps used to be fancy things. In 2018, they are not options but a necessity. The cost of building m-commerce apps has shrunk so much that most of the eCommerce startups these days instigate from the mobile-only setup alone.
When eCommerce giants like Alibaba and IKEA are garnishing their mobile apps with AR and VR capabilities, not having a mobile app at all will force you to lose on the grounds that are easily accessible to your competitors.
As indicated by eMarketer, retail online sales recorded a business of $2.3 trillion in 2017, which was a 23.2 percent increase over the past year’s stat. The mobile's share in this was 58.9 percent, $1.4 trillion to be exact.
By 2021, m-commerce will round-up over $3.5 trillion, which make seventy-five percent of total online sales happening on mobile apps only (source).
Shopping on mobile apps is a real thing today. Around the world, online businesses are rapidly moving to the m-commerce setup, targeting users who use mobile and tablets devices for online shopping.
Hence, we have dedicated this article to explaining some out of the box benefits of an m-commerce setup. We will also discuss mobile e-commerce best practices and how you can shape your mobile shopping cart exactly according to the latest business trends.
Why users prefer Mobile Apps to Mobile Sites?
Desktop and mobile versions of the sites are still crucial for business development. However, there are various instances when mobile apps perform certain tasks more efficiently as compared to their web versions.
Especially when eCommerce is a highly competitive sphere, you cannot afford to give even a single advantage to your rivals. Do not believe me, but trust the stats: Amazon and Walmart accumulated a massive volume of profit by opening their Black Friday sales promptly through their mobile apps.
i. Mobile apps give a dedicated user experience:
Apps make it easier to covert a user because of their dedicated user interface. On the other hand, a mobile or desktop site has a cluttered interface with numerous distractions.
With dedicated in-app-buttons and shortcuts, app users can jump from one touchpoint to other in an easy and quick manner.
ii. Mobile apps make best use of latest device and OS features:
App developers make a full use of interactive features offered by modern day devices and their operating systems.
For example, you can program your app use phone camera for scanning a barcode, GPS to offer location-based product suggestions and fingerprint sensor for quick login and security.
iii. Mobile apps load quicker than mobile sites:
Mobile app users need not typing lengthy URLs or navigating from pages to pages to browse the online store. Waiting time of the loading pages is also marginal.
Users leverage dedicated mobile apps, which come with most of the page elements pre-loaded. They can navigate from one point other in a fraction of second.
How m-commerce apps are beneficial for your e-commerce business?
1. Direct Marketing channel with prospects
M-commerce apps do not only serve as selling touch point, but also a crucial marketing channel. Unlike your eCommerce site, you can contact your app users even when they are not actively browsing your e-tail store.
Mobile apps come integrated with a modern marketing channel- push messages. It is one of the most crucial reasons why m-commerce apps are necessary for eCommerce businesses. You can use these notifications to send your marketing communications. You must know that Push notifications have a 97% click-through rate and 90% of them receive the same within minutes of their receipt.
Here is an example of how Amazon- an eCommerce giant fully utilizes its app for sending product delivery updates:
You can instantly communicate an array of information to your app users and engage them with your business in real-time. You can-
- Promote a new product:
- Send price drop alerts
- Send back-in-stock alert
- Announce flash sale or lightning deals
- Upsell recommended products
- Call back abandoned customers with offers
- Reward your loyal customers with coupon codes
- Provide product shipping alerts
- Ask customer feedback on products
2. Improved Customer Engagement & user experience
People spend thousands on purchasing latest and smart devices because they seek innovation and new ways to use technology. It matters a ton while users are shopping online. Mobile apps offer the kind of smart experience users hope to get on a modern day device.
Be it smart filling of checkout forms, auto detection of current location, lighting fast product pages or ability to directly share product pages on multiple sharing platforms, online shoppers download a mobile app with an array of expectations.
Therefore, if you offer a fast, interactive and convenient mobile app to your prospects, you possess a greater chance to build a unique identity and encourage shoppers to show some loyalty with your brand.
You would be surprised to know that 83 percent of shopper use mobile apps for researching the product prices while standing in a physical store. Consumers are attracted to m-commerce by default; it depends on how you are utilizing the m-Commerce for your business benefits.
3. Personalized shopping experience
Mobile apps can let you personalize a shopping experience by using the collected data. You can deliver specially tailored content based on browsing history and user level preferences. You can personalize the content like –
- Smart product suggestion based on wish-list
- Related product suggestion based on previous shopping history
- Recommended product suggestion based on location, interest and social media profiles
The more personalized is the app content, the more are the chances of conversion. The real-time product suggestions often result in immediate conversion, lead generation, and heightened consumer loyalty.
4. Deeper analytics and search engine visibility
E-Commerce businesses spend millions on lead generation services and additional website features to for lead generation. For example, exit pop-up, entry pop up, out of stock alerts etc.
Mobile apps eliminate all these additional requirements by in-housing much better tools by default. They possess the UI and other touchpoints, which can collect data like Name, Age, Sex, Location and Shopping history with more ease.
The apps come with sophisticated analytic tools that can collect, process, and present the user data in a more comprehensible way. The rate of sign-ups on mobile apps is more than any mobile or desktop website.
Users generally create the user accounts during the first interaction with the app itself. With a higher level of personalization and data collection, you can target your prospects with better accessibility and increase the sales upfront.
You can take a cue from the Alibaba, a leader in the eCommerce industry. With an eCommerce setup, they were able to collect a ton of user data. They are now utilizing it for setting up another business. Alibaba is now looking to become a data and insights provider to other players in the market.
Coming to the search engine part, Google and other search engines, offer e-commerce product suggestions based on the search keywords.
For example, instead of opening a mobile app, many mobile users directly search the products on Google Search engine. These are the contextual keywords and key-phrases that Google detects- “Buy iPhone X”, “Price of Surface pro”, “Buy blackberry unlocked” etc.
In addition to the contextual results, search engines display results from the eCommerce pages too. So having a mobile app will let you direct all these users to your mobile app directly.
Doing this will let you propose a better user experience that could not have been achieved by pushing the user to your mobile site instead.
5. Lightning fast checkout process with no distractions
Many e-commerce shoppers use mobile phones for product research and run to their laptops for making the final purchase. It is because of the complexity of eCommerce checkout pages. They are huge, do not fit on the mobile screens and users do not like to type this much details using the tiny mobile keyboards.
With mobile apps, you can effectively eliminate the checkout complexities and offer lightning-fast checkout process by-
- Auto filling the known details: Name, Sex, Mobile number, Email address etc.
- Using previous shopping history for auto-filling additional details: billing and delivery address.
- Saving payment details: Credit and debit card details.
- Offering Multi-step checkout instead of fitting a big page on a tiny screen.
- Offering bigger and clearer on-page buttons.
- Dynamically validating field values and preventing frequent page reloads to validate the data.
- Offering customized keyboard layouts for numeric, email and password inputs
Latest trends to follow in mobile e-commerce business:
i. AI chatbots
Businesses are utilizing AI chatbots to offer customer support in a 24X7 environment. The other utilization includes customer data collection, automatic product suggestions and many more.
These chatbots utilize AI to learn and quickly respond to the data-oriented queries of the app users. Having them on your mobile app will definitely make things sophisticated as for your m-commerce touchpoint.
ii. Voice search
Users are relying more and more on voice assistants for search on the internet. Most of the queries are done using AI assistants on their mobile phones and smart home devices.
Having a perfect voice search optimization on your mobile app will let you win the queries from devices like Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, and Cortana. Additionally, it will also improve the browsing experience of the users.
iii. VR and AR elements
Nowadays, eCommerce apps are coming loaded with AR and VR abilities to let users experience the products in the actual environment.
You can take a cue from Alibaba and Ikea mobile apps, which lets users try out the products in augmented reality. This is something that will definitely offer an upper hand against your competitors.
iv. Integrated payments
The traditional payment methods involve a series of manual alteration of the data. For example, after receiving a credit card payment, traditional payment methods would want you to manually browse the transaction receipts and update the accounts receivable and general ledger in your accounting software.
With Integrated payment systems, you can link the transactions to your accounting software and make the whole system automatic. It will not want you to update the payment details manually.
Using integrated payment systems you can effectively, save time, increase cash flow, reduce human errors, and strengthen payment security.
v. Social media login
Users do not like to fill up forms for creating user accounts. Most of them will simply abandon their mobile shopping cart if asked for compulsory account registration.
Instead, integrate social media login to synchronize their social media credential with your mobile app database and automatically create the user account without filling the form manually.
With the changing face of the internet and its related technologies, e-commerce is also drastically mutating. M-commerce is indeed the present and future of the eCommerce business.
Ignoring their efficacy will definitely make your business inefficient while targeting the one--billion smartphone users. When one-third of e-commerce sales are mobile-driven, you cannot afford to overlook this sophisticated tech from your eCommerce business plan.
If you run an eCommerce business, take a step forward and invest in something as smart as mobile apps before you are late to the party.
Jessica Bruce is a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. I also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.