Online sales are growing every day, and as a result, the e-commerce industry is seeing more and more mobile solutions. Consumers want to buy products and services anytime, anywhere, even on the go. More and more people are choosing mobile e-commerce apps over websites because apps offer speed, adaptability and convenience. If your business involves online retailing, you definitely need the right mobile app!
From E-Commerce to M-Commerce
With the advent of the App Store and Android Market (now Google Play) in 2008, the mobile app development market has become a thriving niche, leading to a rapid increase in the number of apps. Today, the combined number of apps available for download on the App Store and Google Play exceeds 7 million.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world of e-commerce, and the field has begun to actively develop, as evidenced by the emergence and rapid growth of mobile commerce or m-commerce. The trend is gaining popularity, because it is very convenient to shop with thousands of products from major stores in your pocket.
Global sales through mobile devices totaled $2.3 trillion in 2019 and are projected to reach $3.5 trillion in 2021, accounting for 72.9 percent of total e-commerce volume. According to Shopify, cell phones and tablets accounted for 69% of total sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2019.
Mobile e-commerce apps open up new channels for retailers to connect with customers and reach a wider audience. However, these are not all the benefits for online retailers.
The benefits of developing mobile apps for e-commerce stores
If you want to build a successful retail business, focus on attracting customers and increasing sales, the importance of mobile e-commerce solutions should be obvious. E-commerce apps have a number of benefits, we’ve highlighted four of the most important.
1. Regular customers.
Although the app is a copy of an existing website, it is well optimized, personalized and carefully crafted, making it much easier to attract and retain new customers and improve the customer experience. Customers find themselves on a convenient shopping platform, where they can choose and purchase goods at a comfortable pace, without fuss.
The app has several important advantages over the website:
Users get more freedom, can shop anywhere and anytime.
3. Load time.
App pages load faster, so they attract more customers. Managers should understand that in the retail business, every second counts. Most visitors will leave the site and go to a competitor if the page takes more than three to four seconds to load.
4. Offline access.
The best e-commerce apps can provide users with basic functionality (compare products, check prices) even offline, using the full power of a mobile device.
Purchase preferences and previous orders can be saved in the app and used for personalized offers.
All of these perks help build a solid loyal audience for your business.
5. Brand Recognition.
Mobile apps provide a strong connection between brands and customers. Users are eager to share links to their favorite sites, talk about the customer experience on social media, and recommend products to loved ones. You can integrate popular social media platforms into the app so customers can discuss your products and services.
In this way, users will not only promote your product, but also build brand reputation and attract the attention of potential customers.
In addition, you can send push notifications to users with special offers, information about promotions, discounts and sales. You’ll offer customers savings, so they’re more likely to interact with the store more often.
6. Increased efficiency and increased revenue
Mobile app development is quite expensive, but with the right approach, the costs will quickly pay off and increase sales. The correlation is simple: a good app with the right concept and functionality brings in more customers; more customers make more orders, hence your profits grow.
Working with push notifications will help increase sales and build strong relationships with your users. With push notifications, you can instantly deliver relevant information to your customers and inspire them to place immediate orders.
7. Detailed analytics
Mobile apps are a treasure trove of useful information about customers. Mobile functionality allows tracking user behavior: responsiveness to specific content and functions, feedback, session duration, audience composition, and much more. Such information can help work on improvements and updates, create personalized content, and develop effective marketing strategies and advertising campaigns.
8. Contactless payments.
Thanks to the advent of mobile contactless payment technology, today’s smartphones can replace cash and credit cards. Payment apps make it easy, fast and secure to pay for goods and services. You won’t have to take out your wallet or card at the checkout, all you have to do is put your phone to the payment terminal and confirm the payment.
This became especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, when it’s not worth touching things and people are trying to reduce the time they spend in stores.
How to develop a mobile app for e-commerce
When ordering the development of a mobile app for e-commerce business, there are many details to consider and certain steps to take, then the finished product will meet your goals and objectives.
First of all, you need a strategy. Determine your goals, market and target audience you want to reach. This will help you visualize your future app, define the functions it should perform, and describe your ideas to the development team.
The design of a mobile app is not just about how it looks, but also how it works. Therefore, it is important for an app to have a thoughtful design that is visually pleasing and easy to use.
Most people often rely on their first impression when evaluating something. It takes about 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about an object and decide whether you like it or not. Thus, an attractive mobile app design provides a positive user experience, which greatly increases customer loyalty and accelerates ROI.
Here are some recommendations for creating an attractive app design.
1. The simpler, the better.
Users prefer simple and logical navigation elements because they don’t want to spend time figuring out how to perform a particular operation. Any complication is the wrong approach to product design.
Often mobile app developers try to add as many features as possible, thinking it will bring the app to the top of the list. In fact, the more concise the app, the better. The app should do exactly what the user needs it to do and nothing more. This approach to design can be called flat design: you stick to minimalism and use simple elements.
2. Design that’s accessible to everyone.
Good design is design that is accessible to all users. Accessible design means that there are no negative emotions when interacting with the app. If certain categories of people can’t use your product, it’s better to change the design. The app needs to be accessible to people with disabilities. Millions of users are visually or hearing impaired, not considering their needs can be a fatal mistake for your business.
Microsoft and other leading IT service providers offer a wide range of tools and technologies to help people with disabilities remove digital barriers and provide equal opportunities. More and more emerging companies are working with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) concept.
Another important point is compatibility with all possible devices. In order to reach more users, your application must work on Android and iOS and be optimized for different, at least the most popular, screen sizes and resolutions.
3. Learn from others’ experiences
Most successful apps have a similar design and layout of functional elements. So when it comes to creating a new app, don’t reinvent the wheel. Analyze your competitors’ best solutions and create your product based on them. This does not mean that you have to copy every last pixel and come up with nothing of your own. It does mean that you should make the most of the good practices of others.
Users prefer intuitive interaction with applications, and even in new solutions they expect to see familiar features and gesture-based navigation. The designer should understand and take into account the needs of users and be extremely careful with innovative ideas when creating the interface.
Of course, innovative technologies and market trends can contribute to the emergence of new features. But do not introduce them all at once. Do it gradually, step by step, and then you can add new features without losing the comfort of a familiar user experience.
4. Choose carefully the visual elements
It is the visual elements that contribute to user engagement more than anything else. Therefore, it is very important to create a visually appealing interface.
Choose appropriate fonts that fit the idea of the app and are readable at the same time. Avoid fancy fonts: they might look beautiful on their own, but when used in an application, they can completely ruin the experience.
With particular attention to the selection of colors. Colors can either create a positive user experience, or conversely, repel and frustrate the user.
Be consistent! Design elements should guide users in their actions and not mislead them: you can’t drastically change the rules of interaction. The controls on all pages of the app should maintain the same style and idea.
5. Basic testing based on user feedback
Even the smallest error can lead to removal of the application. If the font is not readable or the product has a strange design, it is unlikely to become popular. This is why testing an app requires special attention. Involve the end users, test the app with a focus group, because no one knows what’s best for the users but them.