Following the huge success of games and other apps, mobile online shops are quickly starting to populate the Apple, Google and Windows stores, entering a market that shows no signs of slowing down. In the eCommerce industry, all the big players are starting to rely on mobile apps to generate more sales. Amazon, JD, TaoBao and TMall are just a few examples of online stores that have developed and published their own app.
Do I need an app for my store?
Since more and more people are using their mobile phones to browse the internet, having an mobile online shop that is optimized for all mobile devices (responsive design) is mandatory, not only to improve the positioning on search engines, but also to increase sales. What about an app then?
According to online studies, users are not always satisfied with the apps on the market. Not everyone can be connected to the Internet all the time (because of an inadequate infrastructure or prohibitive costs), and even more are not satisfied with the mobile experience.
When considering the creation of an app for your online store, first of all you should consider the costs involved, not only for the technical development, but also for the promotion. Some further considerations:
- If you want your app to be downloaded on all the phones available, creating multiple apps for all the Operative Systems is a must. Also, you will have to plan what permissions will be needed, such as internet connection, access to users’ data, etc. Furthermore, apps require frequent updates and design changes to adapt and stay popular.
- The app must offer new and exclusive content, in order to let people more engaged.
- You must have a clear branding and positioning strategy for your app.
- A customer support service to chat or call your clients is strongly advised, in order to to be an effective sales channel,
- Last but not least, an app can be profitable for an online store only when your brand is already known or you are actively promoting your store on other platforms: if they don’t know you, why should they download your app?
Although mCommerce is growing and users demand better and better experiences when browsing websites, apps are profitable only when considering all the above aspects. Can you keep your app updated on various platforms? Why shouldn’t a user delete your app after just a few minute?
We believe that apps are an incredible opportunity for companies and users alike, but when it comes to eCommerce, your time and energy should probably be invested in other projects. In a very competitive market, it is mandatory to create a shop with responsive design to match the expectation of savvy users. With the mobile version of the shop, there is no need to download the app to buy: just click, enjoy the experience, and purchase as usual.