Does the thought of getting to shop everything from breakfast cereal to beauty essentials online amaze you anymore?
Clearly not, when an 8 year old tracks her stationary delivery herself & a non tech-savvy 80 year old can opt for express delivery of his must-have pill at the 11th hour.
Needless to say how fast technology is evolving and so, to hold onto competitive advantage, contemporary businesses must rethink their online strategy to impress customers in newer ways, while keeping pace with cutting-edge technologies. Sensing the market pulse much before, the biggies on the ecommerce block were quick to resort to eCommerce mobile app development. True that developing an ecommerce mobile app comes with its own set of challenges, but if you are guided by the master of this trade, turning the app challenges into a cakewalk becomes easier than it otherwise is.
Ecommerce and app - both the words have ‘bread and butter’ sort of familiarity if taken individually, however some of the industry insiders are still confused if an ecommerce website suffices or an ecommerce mobile app is an absolute must.
Watching your buck is always good and knowing why it’s beneficial to go with certain flows (read, app trend! ) is even better!
Let’s do a quick questionnaire for some hints to begin with.
If you are asked to delete all the apps from your phone and keep just one, what would that app be?
The question isn’t just difficult, it’s very close to impractical to say the least.
From our cheesecake craving at 12 to our cab urgency at 8, an app is where our brains head straight to, these days.
Isn’t that enough of a signal that where your clients are available during most number of waking hours?
Pretty evidently on their phone and so, with an ecommerce app dedicated to your business, you reach where they can find you easily.
When it comes to the business scenario ‘One Strategy Fits All’ isn’t even a thing, right ? The reason is simple - the business model changes and so does the target audience base. Thus, not the same solution works for all. So before you get to the end only to realise an app will add zero value to your business, let’s glance through the checkboxes to know whether or not an ecommerce app will be your ‘best bet’ !
Is your responsive website really as responsive as your customers would like it to be? Probably not.
Doesn’t the browser force your customers to log in every time they want to come and see your e-store?
But an ecommerce app knows what the customers-on-the-go like better, thus, stores their details within the app and allows them to visit at one click after their first sign in (unless they choose to log out) !
If a chunk (if not the entire) of your target customers include students, youngsters, working professionals and alike, chances are there, they wouldn’t open their laptop or desktop just to place an online order. On the contrary, an ecommerce mobile app won’t eat up a few minutes of their precious time asking them to sign in every time they visit. Clearly, they will choose convenience. So, the long story cut short, a responsive website sure gets your ecommerce business started but an app really seals the deal.
Remember how we slowly sacrificed our regular mall trips and became online shopping loyalists? Bet you do!
Ease was the reason, as online shopping didn’t require us to get out of PJs or carry big bags home..oh and get the big fat discounts at the comfort of our couch!
So, the above discussion boils down to the fact that we shift towards easier choices when there’s not much difference in terms of quality of products & services.
Thus, the point is, you have to make your customer’s lives easier, and leveraging native capabilities through your ecommerce mobile app, is a good starting line. Integrating inbuilt mobile features (like cameras & GPS) with app specific features ( like offline functioning) enable the user to experience the purchase in a more practical yet convenient way. Also, the concept of interactive shopping using the emerging twin tech AR & VR is something a website can’t embrace well yet.
Think of your happy customers referring your brand to others - great right?
But you can’t force them to do so and most of the time you won’t even know if they are actually talking about you!
But there are marketing tricks that can make them do the word-of-mouth-marketing for you, all you need to do from your end is run a referral campaign & treat them with some discounts!
Wondering if that’s an effective way?
Here’s a bit of stats that can help - Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate and 81% of consumers are more likely to engage with brands that have reward programs !
There’s more, flashing a hi (basically, a push notification planned well) to them even when they are out of your ecommerce app, maybe just fiddling with the phone during a midday coffee break, goes a long way ensuring you are not out of their minds when you are out of sight.
Enough logic for how you opening a “Man Crates” mail during an off season, joining the #OptOutside campaign by REI at Twitter is actually the brands’ making space in your head before you get hands on their stuff?
Customers have about a hundred options lying at their fingertips when it comes to online shopping. Thus, just stocking good products may be enough to convince them for a purchase but gluing them to your brand is one real task. Worry not, we’re not leaving the brainstorm up to you and sharing a few strategies that our clients ( from cutting-edge startups to Fortune 50 ) seemed to have reaped clear benefits from! Retention, certainly, is the new growth and what better way to do that than an ecommerce app developed well. With the ecommerce mobile app, mutually win-win loyalty programs (savings for them, increased sales for you!) based on a more grassroot level customer segmentation is a breeze.
Abandoned carts are nothing less than nightmares for the ecommerce businesses and among other reasons behind it, a complex checkout process happens to be a common cause. So, a seamless checkout is just as important and an ecommerce app makes that possible! With micro interactive app experience along with a smooth checkout, your ecommerce app can bring you more business than your website ever will.
There’s no denying that the entire point of ecommerce app development is to bridge the gap between users' requirements and manufacturers’ products. However, the app in discussion will be a risky and potentially damaging place without proper security enforcement. Most obviously, no one puts their personal data at risk in the name of convenience. To ensure your customers turn to your ecommerce app in their needs, you have to guarantee that the shared confidential information starting from shipping & billing address to contact details, from digital payment details to purchase history, every bit of it is protected.
“Easier said than done” is that what just struck your mind?
Private data leakage surely is one of the biggest haunting woes in the current software industry but there’s always a way (and a quite a few hacks! ).
Thanks to the modern encryption technologies and well established data security standards like PCI, FIPS etc. that have enabled concrete security within ecommerce apps, closing all possible doors for data theft. The best part is, there’s an option for every realistic budget to make an app “hard to hack”. Don’t forget over and above every feature and functionalities, security is one element that you can’t afford to ignore as a breach can jeopardize your well built business in a matter of seconds.
How would you feel when your fellow business owner is out of time managing profit from the Black Friday sale and you are busy managing your app that crashed during Black Friday due to lesser user handling capacity?
For an ecommerce business, growth is measured on a year-to-year basis & given that, there’s almost day to day chances of increase in virtual footfall. In such a condition, preparing your ecommerce app to run smoothly when the number of visitors increases, is a must.
Depending on how your business processes are planned, the answer to “What module to keep as scalable?” will vary. For instance - while some need to focus on the accounts module, some need to work on production management. Going by the saying “Prevention is better than cure” - it is better to train your app with an excessive range beforehands than dealing with a surprise frozen application.
And to take care of overall infrastructure scaling you now have lots of options starting from ever trusted Amazon AWS to Microsoft Azure to Google GCP and many more.
Stanley probably wouldn’t die soon if he doesn’t have some cake (Remember The Office, Season 4), for real, but your app can, if it misses out on stability! Reason? Who would waste time over an app that lacks balance and behaves weird!
Now the question is how to build an app that’s perfect and doesn’t have a single flaw? No, that’s not the goal either, what is to be built is the closest to perfect. Multiple QA tests, considering feedback, updates after regular intervals, and an ongoing improvement process works just fine. While repeated iterations may seem mammoth time consuming, but there’s no shortcut to a seamless functioning.
What if colorful books with animated characters were for astronomy researchers and thick hardcovers were handed to infants? I know, sounds crazy! Doesn’t that speak a lot about how choosing style and layout is important for an ecommerce mobile app? Basically, it has to be visually appealing yet intuitive in terms of usage. That means, design shouldn’t be the concern over usability, instead, the app should have a fair blend of both.
An ecommerce app is a product-type agnostic business growth catalyst without a doubt, but choosing the right set of features can be overwhelming! Here’s a list of the must have features that will make your app wholesome.
Not digging into the features deep now, since we have already talked about it to the T here, so moving on to the next segment!
Even the good things become ‘good for nothing’ if not implemented the right way! Here’s a quick (what) to do or not to do guide so you don’t damage your ecommerce app “do”ing a strict “don’t”. Keep noted!
(DO) Keep It Simple, Smarty!
[a] Enable guest login, so you don’t lose customers who are in search to grab stuff on-the-go bypassing the account creation process or the login hassle for that matter!
[b] Make sure your authentication process doesn’t force them to dive deep into their mailbox, instead, let them get verified through mobile OTP.
(DON’T) Going OTT isn’t the way to the TOP!
[a] Don’t ask them to set a password that they clearly don’t want to spend equal time as (if not more) choosing their desired product, to just think of (leave alone remembering)
[b] You don’t need to know if they are married simply to allow them to buy a tulle skirt. Stop asking for irrelevant information during the registration process!
(DO) Guide Your Customers Through Categorized Catalogue
[a] Cover an extra mile, guide your customers towards what they want so they don’t switch apps for a rather guided purchase experience.
[b] Category wise product arrangement is a must and in addition, a personalized item listing based on their purchase history can take your chances of sales notches above.
[c] Make sure your main page highlights the discounted, unique and trending items
(DON’T) Leave Your Customers Without A Roadmap
[a] Remember an unguided product arrangement is bad and a random arrangement is worse!
(DO) Go Quick (Or Go Home!)
[a] Auto populate your customer’s shipping address with billing address & keep an ‘edit’ option visible nearby
[b] Help them save card details securely to reduce checkout time
[c] Enable them to add / remove / increase or decrease quantity of an item directly from the checkout page
[d] Try and keep the entire process confined within a single page
(DON’T) Complicate The Process
[a] Don’t ask them to type out their address again if their shipping address is same as billing address
[b] Don’t disappoint them with just one payment option available at checkout
[c] Running the customers through a stack of connected pages in the name of checkout is a complete NO-NO
(DO) Shoot Gentle Reminders, Not Without Permission
[a] Ask your customers if they would like to stay updated with your hot & happenings and if confirmed, plan your campaign in a way that your publicity is gentle yet effective
[b] Keep your reminders focused on the user's interest. Discounts going on the cheese section will add zero value to your brand, if sent to a lactose intolerant customer who has never placed a similar order with you.
[a] Don’t overdo your messaging so they go from ‘let me check’ to ‘let me block’
(DO) Step Up
[a] Incorporate tech-driven smarter and faster (read, more efficient!) customer servicing elements like chatbots
(DON’T) Settle down with just calls & emails
[b] Your customers will not like making a call everytime they need to know something regarding an order / item, and they will absolutely hate waiting on the line to get their desired response! But, your customer service team can’t pull up every bit of info manually, either. So, don’t leave your support to just a mere calling number and email ID.
(DO) Let Data Decide On Recommendation
Deploy structured analytical tools in the backend, so all your real time data are tracked and feed it in to take factual decisions.
(DON’T) Let Your Guts Decide
The gut is for digestion, dragging it in decisions can have serious consequences, ranging from missed leads to drooped revenues. So, avoid handing over your decision making to the guts!
A good read is incomplete without a good summary, so here goes the takeaway, short & crisp :
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