Mobile traffic is on the rise and according to Cisco, by 2019 it will be ten times what it was in 2014. There is also a parallel trend in app usage which grew 76% in 2014 where shopping apps led the way. The reason behind this growth is that mobile devices are an integral part of people's lives. Unlike the PC or laptop, users carry them on their person throughout the day. When the mobile user needs information or desires a product, he or she doesn't have to wait until they are at a desktop computer but can act immediately.
The mobile device has also liberated the consumer from the need to be at a specific location (either a desktop computer or the store) to buy something. This barrier to the act of purchasing is important because going out of one's way to buy something is highly inconvenient for people with little time.
To benefit more fully from mobile consumers, your store should be mobile responsive. However, a sizeable percentage of these consumers make their purchases through shopping apps. To reach this consumer segment, application development is necessary. Beyond tapping into this additional consumer channel, a mobile application can benefit your ecommerce store in other ways:
Smart Phone Inbuilt Devices
Your mobile application can integrate with smart phone features such as its GPS which provides information on the consumer's location. If the consumer wishes to buy from one of your physical stores, the app can direct the person to a store that's closest to their current location. The app can also make use of the microphone to facilitate ordering or interacting with your ecommerce store. Because mobile users are on-the-go, their hands aren't always free to type or click links.
An app can send messages to the user without the app being open. If you have time sensitive discounts and specials, the push notification will alert the user. Push notifications can also be combined with the user's GPS to notify him of a special at a nearby physical store. Another use is notifications of changes in order and shipping status of purchased items. Care must be taken not to overuse push notifications because they will be quickly perceived as an intrusive form of spam.
Mobile apps come into their own when used to retain customer loyalty. Keeping repeat customers requires increasing their level of engagement with your business. This is best accomplished with applications because people spend more time with their apps than online with mobile websites. These longer sessions mean more opportunity to strengthen relationships and to get your marketing message across.
Loyalty is further strengthened by offering exclusive coupons, discounts, and extra services designed just for the app user. Wish lists can be created within the app by the customer that contains items that the customer would like to see on sale. The app then notifies the customer when a discount is available for an item on the list.
Mobile Internet connectivity is spotty at times. This is less disruptive for the user of a shopping app than it is for the visitor to your online store. The app user can still browse product offerings and make use of much of the app's functionality. Internet connectivity is required for updated information on products which means that the user may find a sudden change in an item's availability once the connection is reestablished.
A downloaded app isn't reliant on an Internet connection or the speed of the server hosting your site. This means the app will be noticeably quicker than the online store which translates to a better user experience.
If you want to increase your mobile conversions by using a shopping application that complements your ecommerce store, contact us. We can build it and make it happen.