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Mobile is becoming an increasingly important driver of growth in ecommerce. Currently, the mobile commerce market size is estimated at 40 billion USD1. Mobile visits account for one-third of the traffic on top ecommerce sites2. Retail outlets are also getting more and more visitors who do their research using mobile before visiting or during shopping. Technologies like beacons are improving store shopping experience for users. Do you have a good mobile strategy that is taking advantage of this growth in mobile commerce?

According to a study by comScore:

“Retailers who do not (at a minimum) optimize their mobile browsing experience or introduce mobile apps are effectively turning away a third of their potential customers.”

Most ecommerce store owners just rely on a responsive website for their mobile visitors. Although a responsive website is an essential piece of a good mobile commerce strategy, it is not a complete solution. A complete mobile strategy has apps as an integral part of it. Mobile apps are no longer a “good to have” for ecommerce stores, they are a must.

In this article, we list 4 reasons why we think mobile apps should be an important cornerstone of your mobile commerce strategy.

Reason #1 - User prefers apps over mobile browser

Consumers prefer to use mobile apps on smart phones rather than a mobile browser. 78% of the users, according to a study by comScore, prefer mobile apps over mobile browsers on smartphones. The usage on tablets is almost the same between mobile browsers and smartphones. However, overall traffic from tablets is higher than from smartphones.1

Reason # 2 - Apps have Push Notifications

Push Notifications are one of the most important advantages of an app. With an app the user can receive a message, such as “30% off on entire stock this weekend”, without opening their browser or the app. Users open the app right away or decide to visit the store during the weekend.  As long as the customers keeps the app on their phone, you stay in touch with them.

Intelligent push notifications drives user engagement, and helps drive sales to you.

Reason #3 - User Experience

No need to remember your store URL nor the effort of logging in. Users just click the app icon and they see products or deals based on their preferences.  The performance and experience is achieved in almost any native app while in a website you would need to struggle with achieving the same performance by using ever new HTML tools that promise better experience or performance.

Reason #4 - Apps Encourage Brand Loyalty

67% of mobile shoppers only use apps from their favorite brands.4 A shopper survey reveals that the connection between the shopper and brand is strengthened by apps. Retailers can offer mobile-only deals or coupons to reward their mobile users which further increases fan base and app engagement.

Conclusion

Mobile apps should be a cornerstone of your mobile strategy. Publishing your app on your store is a start to a relationship with your store visitors. Analytics from your app will help you optimize your app and monitor user behaviors.  The goal should to be to provide a seamless and personalized experience to your customers no matter what device they are on.

 

Barkan Saeed is the CTO at MobileNext, LLC. His personal areas of interest are Mobile Strategy and Mobile UX.

1. Mobile Traffic to eCommerce Sites Rose from 3 Percent to 37 Percent in the Last Four Years

2. MCommerce Numbers You Shouldn't Miss Infographic

3. Real World Reward Performance Take 2

4. Retail App Usage on the Rise (PDF)

 

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