For most e-commerce companies, starting a business is about optimizing the site, optimizing CPP advertising, and constantly improving the messaging strategy. These are the cornerstones of developing an ecommerce business, and countless entrepreneurs have built successful and profitable businesses with these tools.
However, many e-commerce companies overlook a growth path: mobile applications.
Creating a proprietary mobile app for your ecommerce business can be one of the best ways to accelerate growth and grow your business faster.
Mobile apps may not be for everyone, but if they make sense, they’ll empower your customers and generate revenue for faster growth. Mobile apps can improve everything from store performance to customer retention and conversion optimization – but as I said before, they’re not for everyone.
The first step is to determine if a mobile app is useful for your business.
Do you need a mobile app for your ecommerce business?
Most importantly, before you even think about developing an app, you need to work a little bit to see if it fits your business goals and your business development.
Mobile applications have many advantages, but also disadvantages. Developing a single mobile application can cost well over $ 75,000, and for e-commerce that number is likely to be much higher, probably in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You should also plan to spend around 20% of the development and maintenance costs of your application on your application every year. In short, a mobile application is a big problem and you need to invest time to evaluate whether the profit is higher than the cost.
As an e-commerce business owner, here are some questions to answer to determine if creating a mobile app is useful to the business:
Where are you in the life cycle of the company? Are you still in the early stages of making this development money better for advertising and growth, or is it time to streamline your store and prepare for rapid development?
Are mobile apps suitable for your main customers? Are you selling to a group of younger customers who are more familiar with a mobile app, or are you selling to older demographics that could be confusing and intimidating with a new, unknown user interface?
Is the potential ROI useful for a mobile application? For example, suppose a mobile app increases the average customer value (LTV) by 40%. How long will it take to cover development costs and make a profit?
The most important thing is to understand that a mobile app is a tool – nothing more, nothing less. At a deeper level, you need to understand why you are developing the app, what you want to do with it, and why you think it will help you reach your overall business goals.
The benefits of mobile applications for e-commerce companies
Overall, a mobile application can be a transformation channel for an e-commerce business. Mobile apps are a powerful way to build and retain your customers. With the right design, they can help you grow and expand your business. Here are some important benefits.
One of the main advantages of an ecommerce application on a mobile ecommerce website is its speed.
Today, over 40% of web traffic is mobile, which means that your website is already targeted at mobile customers. An app helps you improve the customer experience by speeding up your business.
Mobile apps can store assets like photos locally on the device, so you do not have to retrieve that data from a server and download it as a web site every time. This means that apps typically run 1.5 times faster than mobile websites. This can result in better conversion rates and more revenue for your business.
2. User preference
Another important advantage is that users tend to prefer mobile apps over mobile web browsers.
For iOS and Android phones, users spend around 86% of their time using mobile apps in mobile apps, and about 51% of mobile purchases prefer to buy them from an app’s mobile app.
If your business does not have a mobile app, this is an opportunity you should not miss. When you create a mobile app for your online store, you can present your products the way your customers are accustomed to displaying content. This facilitates the purchase and improves the conversion rates.
Again, it is important to qualify this point. Not all customers will prefer an app to a website, and you will only get a mobile app if your customers really want to use it.
For an e-commerce store that sells clothing to Generation Y, a mobile app will probably make sense. However, if you sell mainly to the elderly, your traffic usually comes from desktops. A mobile app will simply confuse and discourage your customers.
You need to conduct a customer study to determine how your audience is going to run your business and provide that experience accordingly.
3. Development of brand loyalty
With a mobile app, you can design the end-to-end user experience and increase brand loyalty.
A sophisticated mobile app provides the ultimate customer experience and makes it easier to buy products in your online store. And whether your brand is outrageous and entertaining, high-class or reserved, you have the opportunity to strengthen your brand with every design element. By designing this design properly and creating a truly great customer experience, you’ll be rewarded with customers who are loyal to you and your business.
It is, however, a double-edged sword. An Oracle study found that 55% of millennials said that a bad experience with mobile apps would limit their ability to buy a company’s products and services. It is therefore important to create positive mobile experiences.
The key to this lies in the UX search in the form of user tests. You need to test your application with real customers as often as possible to find out what they are doing and what they are not.
4. Increase customer loyalty and reduce the number of clients
Mobile apps provide a powerful platform for improving customer loyalty and limiting churn. In this way, not only can you gain new customers for your business, but you can also make sure they come back for more customers.
Three-month mobile customer retention for retailers has increased by nearly 10% since 2015, meaning that the churn rate has decreased by the same amount over the same period. This suggests that customer loyalty on mobile devices is getting better the more people get used to shopping through mobile apps.
As an entrepreneur, you can do some things to improve those benefits. Tools such as push notifications, custom offers, and application discounts can increase customer loyalty and incentives for repeated purchases, especially for their favorite products.
Be cautious, however: The Oracle study mentioned above found that 56% of millennials find irrelevant push notifications irrelevant. When you send messages to a customer, they must be relevant, which brings us to our next point.
5. Customization options
Personalization is where mobile apps really shine. Creating a mobile app for your online store gives you a new way to personalize the customer experience and create unique offerings for individual users.
Mobile app analytics are robust, allowing you to track the buying and use habits of individual customers without having to re-sign up each time you visit your store.
You can use this data to customize the in-app experience and your marketing activities. By following the buying habits of each customer, you can tailor your marketing campaigns in great detail.
For example, instead of selling and offering a 10% discount on your favorite products, imagine giving each customer a 10% discount on the most purchased product. In fact, every customer receives their own offer, which maximizes the efficiency and return on investment of their promotions. And that just scratches the surface. Personalization is one of the main advantages of a mobile application for e-commerce.
A mobile app must be useful for your business
The benefits of mobile apps for e-commerce companies are real – but they are not the same for all companies. In the end, it’s important to create a mobile app that’s right for you.
This means that you take the time to conduct a customer study and think about the overall impact of development before you enter the design phase. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time and money on something that was not a good idea from the start.
Personally, I would recommend a mobile app only to an ecommerce entrepreneur with a healthy business and a healthy income stream willing to work hard and big. Creating your mobile app at the very beginning of your brand and business growth is at best a distraction and, at worst, a huge waste of resources.
The first priority is to always find your niche, refine your product offering and build a consistent and reliable revenue stream from a solid base of loyal customers. Spend your time and energy on everything else.
However, if you’re generating regular monthly revenue and want to take your ecommerce business to a higher level, a mobile app can be the way to go. By creating a well-designed ecommerce application, you can unlock hidden revenue within your existing customer base by improving customer loyalty, building brand loyalty, and gaining more customers for your business by improving the mobile experience.
Even though it’s a big start-up investment, it will take years – and that could be the key to unlocking your growth potential and turning a modest e-commerce store into a growing digital empire.