Should Your Ecommerce Store Be an Application?

Shopping online looks different for everyone. Some people prefer to use their desktop or laptop computers to make purchases from home. Other customers use mobile devices on the go. And even when it comes to smartphones and tablets, there are different ways to engage. One option is using a mobile browser—essentially a mobile-friendlier version of a website. Another is running a dedicated app.

So, should your ecommerce store be an application? Well, according to one report, conversion rates for retail apps were 120 percent higher than conversion rates for mobile browsers. This shows that shoppers using apps tend to be more engaged. One thing is clear: It’s at least worth considering the advantages associated with launching an app.

Encouraging Customer Engagement

Typically, operating a mobile browser—including typing and scrolling—requires more investment from users than working an app does. Ecommerce apps provide unique opportunities for customer engagement, which is conducive for driving conversions and loyalty. Examples include:

  • Sending push notifications
  • Providing easier access via the home screen
  • Tapping rather than typing
  • Offering a “one-stop shop”

Of course, it’s paramount to design your app with the user experience in mind. Just like an enterprise ecommerce platform comparison helps retailers find the best solution for hosting their web store, it’s important to design your app with your brand and needs in mind. After all, it becomes an extension of your business in customers’ minds and on their mobile devices.

Furthermore, it’s important to strategize on the timing and contents of your push notifications. If you try to over-engage with customers, they will become overwhelmed and perhaps even uninstall your app. But under-engaging means missing great opportunities for bringing your brand to top of mind and motivating customers to engage.

Delivering a Personalized Experience

Another significant advantage of launching a mobile app for your ecommerce store is personalization. It’s becoming clearer over time just how much shoppers value a personalized experience over a generic one. In 2017, Adidas made 57 percent more in online sales than in 2016 thanks in part to launching savvy branded apps. The apps allowed the retail brand to get a better idea of its customer base because users sign into the Adidas platform to engage. And, as one executive noted, “In turn, that system will eventually start serving content to customers based on what they’ve previously viewed or bought.”

Apps allow retailers to gain more insights into the customer experience from start to finish. It’s convenient for customers to be able to save their information once and shop hassle free, checking out with a few taps rather than having to type in their payment info on a small screen. But it’s also beneficial for brands to be able to track user behavior and customers’ journeys from start to finish. Based on each customer’s unique actions and preferences, brands can tailor the in-app experience to their tastes.

Simplifying Social Media Integration

User-generated content is a rising star in the ecommerce world. Demonstrating social proof to shoppers is a powerful motivator and builder of trust. Apps make it simpler for users to integrate their online experiences—perhaps linking their favorite shopping apps with social media platforms so they can show their friends their purchases, upload photographs or leave reviews. This phenomenon just goes to show that people expect an increasingly integrated online experience. Apps are poised to deliver that connectivity.

Should your ecommerce store be a dedicated application? It depends. Reaping the aforementioned benefits depends on designing and marketing your app well. If you can do that, then you can boost customer engagement and drive conversions.