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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

Ecommerce Mobile Apps - The Inevitable Step in Ecommerce

Today, eCommerce has become a natural extension of the retail experience and is continuing to grow at a phenomenal pace. In fact, eCommerce has been touted as one of the fastest growing industries globally with experts predicting eCommerce sales to cross USD$327 billion in 2016 and reach $523 billion by 2020. The US Census Bureau report shows that eCommerce factored 7.5% of all retail sales in the U.S! If you thought eCommerce is growing rapidly then mobile commerce is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2016, almost 30% of the eCommerce transactions took place via a smartphone. In 2015, the mobile commerce sales totaled USD $104.5 billion in the United States alone which dominated a substantial portion of the eCommerce pie. Mobile commerce is growing at a much faster rate in the Asian and European markets are growing approximately 1.82 times faster than the U.S retailers.

What is clear is that eCommerce and mCommerce are here to stay and become an integral part of the overall retail experience. Considering the vast majority of people accessing eCommerce sites via their mobile devices, it is clear that retailers and eCommerce providers will have to redesign their online buying experiences and make them more suitable for consumption over mobile devices. Thus, retailers will have to prioritize and optimize their mobile app strategies to increase the conversion rates.

While some time ago the talk was about ‘mobile optimized’, today’s user wants a smooth and easy mobile experience. Hence, just making your eCommerce websites responsive to the mobile devices does not suffice. Mobile applications offer a high degree of customization and have to ensure that the user can view the products and make the purchases at the click of a button. So, a great mobile application has to be a more than just a compressed version of the eCommerce website. Mobile app developers have to focus on sharper interface design and better personalization. Additionally, mobile apps have to be faster than mobile websites and have the capability to work offline and offer basic functionalities to the user in the absence of Internet connectivity.

Some of the key considerations which the eCommerce app developers need to keep in mind are –

  • Seamless, simple and uncluttered navigation, minimalistic design, information intuitiveness and simple registration and check out processes are the hallmark of a great mobile app design for mCommerce.
  • Cash on the opportunity to offer highly personalized and customized experiences that can prompt the buyer towards a purchase.
  • Pay close and personal attention to the UI and UX of the app since these two aspects ensure design quality. Poor design always leads to poor conversions. Take into account the behavioral characteristics of the target demographic to build the app functionality and then design the user experience in relation to that.
  • Navigation in mobile app development is a critical contributor to app success. Simplify the discovery process and position the app menu consistently across the app. Unlike an eCommerce website that can display large menu listings such as categories, sections, sales and promotions, etc., only a limited number of items can be displayed on the mobile. Hence, each item has to be listed clearly to be found easily in a mobile app. The user also should be able to add the chosen item to the shopping cart easily and proceed to check out.
  • Ensure that the check-out process is simple and effortless. Offer seamless payment experience by choosing the right payment gateway and offering multiple payment options and billing support. Ensure that the purchase can happen in a minimum number of steps. The longer the check-out process, higher the chances of cart abandonment.
  • Make sure that the personal and financial data of the users is secured.
  • Studies indicate that 70–90% of the world population is right-handed. Place the key functionalities of your app such as ‘add to cart’ button within the ‘thumb-friendly zone’ of the right hand.
  • Use the latest technology to develop the applications, employ things like geo-location strategies to offer more personalized experiences, optimize images and videos and stay in step with the trends – all these will contribute to making a good app great.
  • Include Push Notifications in your app and encourage immediate actions through exclusive promotions and special offers.
  • If the app is going to be used in multiple countries, then the app developers need to consider the localization aspects for making the app available in local languages.
  • Before the buyers make a purchase, they like to shortlist a few products and save those as favorites or add them to their wishlist. The app should support these features so that when the buyers make up their mind, they can simply go ahead with the purchase with one click.
  • Using the innovative and latest technologies such as iBeacon and NFC, the apps can help in bridging the gaps between eCommerce and brick and mortar retail.

 

Users today, do not have the time or the patience to deal with buggy and slow apps. Thus testing assumes an important role in the mobile app development conversation. Make sure that your app performs optimally at all times, irrespective of the traffic size or mobile network. Implement rigorous testing to identify product performance, test application functionalities, determine loads that the app can manage and to ensure that the app performs to the satisfaction of the consumer.

Don’t forget to implement analytics feature in your app. It will allow you to analyze the user behavior, session time, click-through rates, cost of conversion, etc. Such useful information about the consumer behavior will help you in enhancing the app and also in increasing the revenue streams.

There are an increasing number of people who are spending more time on their mobile devices. Mobile users spend 86% of their time on mobile apps and just 14% on mobile websites. Thus, having a mobile app as an extension of an eCommerce website is now essential to create a distinguished brand experience.

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