By now, there’s no question: if your digital presence isn’t mobile ready, you’re way behind. Mobile commerce is at an all-time high, with mobile retail apps accounting for 44% of all eCommerce sales in Q4 of 2017. That number is certainly climbing, so even having a mobile web presence isn’t enough. Having your own proprietary native mobile retail app gives you an enormous opportunity to make and keep loyal customers…if your app has all the right features. Let’s go over the dos and don’ts of m-commerce development, and figure out why these features are so important.
Do invest in making your app scalable. A common problem with any mobile app development is starting too small without room to grow when big success hits. We understand budgets can be tight when planning your app development/launch, so being reluctant to spend money for the extra technology stacks and different features is something we can relate to. Just know, however, that scrambling to accommodate rapid growth and expecting your users to wait through slow updates and app maintenance will prove far more costly, both in actual money and uninstall rates. This will be the flagship investment in your digital presence, so discuss the benefits and risks with your app development partner right from the start.
Don’t include too many push notifications, pop-ups, or annoying messages. According to this infographic, a whopping 71% of mobile app users uninstall because of too many push notifications appearing and interrupting the app experience. Push notifications, when used judiciously, can be key features in a retail app, informing the user of flash sales, instant discounts, abandoned cart items, and other specials. Throw too many together quickly, however, and they become an annoyance that the user would rather do without. Think about the key spots in a consumer’s journey and focus on the crucial moments in the consideration and decision phases where a pop-up might make the difference. Also, make sure the user can easily disable a push notification at any time. It just might keep them from uninstalling.
Do keep track of the individual user’s profile and behavior. Yes, privacy issues are a hot button issue now, but if you’re only tracking a user’s behavior within your mobile retail app, it’s only the information that the user has provided. In a recent survey, 85% of mobile commerce consumers cited “discounts on products similar to past purchases” as their favorite feature on a retail app. This is a win-win here; you get to offer targeted and preferred products with a high likelihood of conversion on your app, and the user gets personalized discounts on the items they’re most likely to want. Make sure that the technology needed to power this sort of profile building is installed during the development of your app, and discuss it with your app development partner.
Don’t forget to start a loyalty/rewards program. Accumulating points and granting rewards, free gifts, and other perks is big business. 81% of mobile consumers list it as their favorite feature on a mobile retail app (see the survey above), and it’s a system that works in any retail setting, digital or not. This should be a fairly simple feature to implement, and it also continues the individual profile building for each user. A slick display that shows your accumulated points in real time can trigger both in-app and in-store purchases, and further personalizing the feature with items that the user has shown interest in will just inspire more loyalty.
Do have a space that users can post and read reviews and ratings of your product. Think about it: it’s in that consideration phase where consumers most often reach for their phones to check ratings and read reviews, often either near or in the store. If you have a robust review system with at least a decent sample size, the user won’t need to ever leave your app. Plus, it’s another opportunity to gather more user information and target them with discounts on the products they are reading about. Be sure to post all the reviews, good and bad, as it makes your review section more trustworthy.
Don’t ever stop testing your app. Ever. Consistent beta testing with a variety of target audiences through development, launch, and the life of your retail app is the best way to assure quality. You should start by developing a series of minimal viable products (MVP’s) to present to separate groups. An MVP doesn’t need to be too comprehensive; you’re looking to gain market knowledge and user experience research to assert that you’ve solved a pain point for that particular group. It’s an if/then situation, and diligent and consistent testing will allow you to progress through all the target users and boost the viability of your app once it launches.
Do start marketing your app way before the launch. Start working the appropriate social media channels early and often with glimpses and tasty bits about your upcoming app, and maybe offer early perks for future users who like and share your posts. Make certain that you have a slick landing page that interested people can click to, learn more about the upcoming app, and sign up for newsletters and future updates. Also, be sure to have this page gated, so you can build your email list for future marketing purposes. Identify a few influencers that have a large and relevant social media audience, and get your app in their hands to review. Keep your language light and concise, and be sure to answer any questions or comments online to keep your potential users engaged. Finally, remember that marketing, like testing, never really ends, so be sure to plan out your efforts well into the future.
Don’t underestimate the importance of details like shipping and payment methods. Unexpected shipping costs and awkward payment systems that require repetitive personal data entry are big reasons why retail app users abandon shopping carts and uninstall apps. Make sure your UX/UI teams are examining these processes closely, and continue to tweak and evaluate throughout the life of the app. In-app surveys are always a good idea for retail app developers, and quick responses to issues that are highlighted in these survey answers should be a priority. Free shipping is always a popular option for users, even if the cost is dispersed among other areas. Lastly, having cleverly written pop-ups that explain any awkward or tedious process your users may have to go through can mitigate their frustration and explain why they need to re-enter information.
Do you have an idea for a retail app? Want to build a mobile-browsing, ecommerce marketplaces, onsite storefronts for your commerce?Check out more information about the Omni-channel retailing experiences we have worked on here at Koombea and see if we’re a good fit!