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How To Boost Your eCommerce Mobile App

Last time I wrote about the top functionalities that each ecommerce app MUST have, but now we will explore features that can help your eCommerce app to get a competitive edge over other apps.

Take a look at some features that can help your mobile app gain more popularity.

Augmented Reality 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have increasingly become a part of mobile development. You should consider these technologies if you want your eCommerce app to make a difference.

AR refers to superimposing virtual objects onto the real-world items using your mobile device. The technologies have become mainstream with the release of individual frameworks for AR content development by Apple and Google. 

Using AR enables you to showcase a much better view of your products and trigger users for further engage with your app. Users can view your products from different angles which ensures that they are satisfied with the item they choose thus reducing churn rates.

Source: veeqo.com

If you want to step outside of standard and get a bit more creative, consider adding VR to your mobile app.

For example, if you offer some clothing items, VR will help consumers to check how the clothes will fit them. The same thing can be done for many types of retail stores, no matter if you sell clothes, sunglasses, hats and so on.

Source: ikea.com

AR and VR give you an opportunity to present your products to your customers in a real life context. Some great examples are IKEA and Sephora

These technologies give users try-out experience – such real-life interaction gives users a chance to reach a conscious decision.

Gamification 

Gamification is a process of adding game-like elements like points, scores, etc., to a non-game environment like education or eCommerce. 

By using gamification in your eCommerce app, you create a story where users can earn loyalty points, complete milestones set upfront, share their achievements and more. Gamification increases chances of returning customers who will use your app for future purchases as well.

Source: starbucks.com

Today, engagement is the most important for the success of any business let alone eCommerce – that’s where gamification comes handy. It helps to provoke word of mouth and increase your customer loyalty as well as retention rates. 

H&M developed such an idea to H&M club – the story goes: ‘Become a member and get a 10% discount when you join, unlimited free delivery, earn points on all or some purchases and get exclusive discounts’. They went the extra mile and added some personalized features like 25% discount on the users’ birthday, early access to selected collections and so on. 

Source: www2.hm.com

It’s challenging for a mobile app to gain popularity within eCommerce, yet it is not impossible with right tools, techniques and a great development team

Recommendation System

Recommendation system is a type of information filtering system which analyzes user behavior to showcase personalized messages or content.

This feature helps you to engage customers and improve cross-selling. It’s similar to experiencing top eCommerce apps like Amazon where the algorithm is designed using Machine Learning (ML) to help the app to learn users’ preferences and display relevant products.  

There are different types of recommendation systems:

  • Collaborative filtering: similar to Linkedin or Facebook where you get friend suggestions based on mutual connections or similar demographics and/or behaviour. It is effective yet it requires a fair amount of customer data (many users)
  • Content-based Filtering: based on customers’ likes as each item carries certain attributes or keywords. Items are recommended if the characteristics match the user’s profile. It’s less effective as it’s not easy to attach attributes to the items and the recommendation may turn out to be vague.
  • Hybrid Model: It’s a combination of the first two types. By combining the two approaches you can enjoy the benefit of both without having to handle drawbacks. An example is Netflix which earned many loyal users with such approach.

If you use a recommendation system, you can provide personalized suggestions to consumers and improve catalog visibility – it is similar to brick-and-mortar stores where salesmen understand what the buyer is looking for and shows only preferred products.

Source: oldnavy.gap.com

Customers looking for the items in an app will use these recommendations to access the preferred products and quickly complete the purchase.

Recommendation system can bring you some level of trust from your users thus making them into long-term customers which is essential for every business not only eCommerce.

Geofencing

Geofencing is the technology that enables location-based marketing. 

Geofencing can be another valuable element of brand apps enhancing the experience of product browsing and shopping. 

Your mobile app can make use of GPS, RFID, Bluetooth beacons etc. to allow your app to identify the location of the user. 

With geofencing, you can send customized marketing messages to users based on their location. 

For example, you can send promotional offers the very moment the user enters a marketplace – it will ensure that you take advantage of timing.

Geofencing can automatically detect which store the user is in and provide them with a map leading to specific products based on their position. This type of technology can help businesses to retarget customers later. 

Source: econsultancy.com

Keep in mind that while geofencing automatically requires permission to access location data, not all users will be aware of what they’ve done. It’s vital for your business to fully state why and how you are using the data so to explain it to users especially in countries where strict data regulations apply like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

This technology is very popular and might be a good idea to consider for your e-Commerce mobile app. 

Mobile Cloud Computing

Mobile cloud computing is a combination of cloud computing and mobile computing to provide better user experience. 

One of the examples is that a cloud engine reduces the server response time thus increasing your mobile app speed.

Your expect your business to grow in the future and it’s vital to scale it as it grows. Mobile Cloud computing provides scalable structure for your business needs – it allows you to scale your services up or down as per the demand, traffic or seasonal spikes.

For example, while a sudden spike in traffic can slow down a website, cloud computing provides you with a greater bandwidth, power and storage. 

Source: newgenapps.com

As eCommerce business greatly depends on its customers’ data, it’s wise to use cloud-based structures – it can save your business from data loss and keep the data secure, backed-up and easily accessible.

By using mobile cloud computing, you can ensure that your app has both quality and performance. 

Chatbots

Chatbots are programs that can understand human inputs within the right context and provide outputs that can be helpful to users.

Chatbots use NLP (natural language processing) to understand the context behind a user query and provide the most suitable results accordingly. 

A customer can ask about purchase suggestions, payment process, raise issues or find desired products and more with the help of a bot. 

Source: rubygarage.org

Benefits of having a chatbot are huge – chatbots require a small investment for development and maintenance allowing instant assistance to users without having them to wait in long calling queues on the helpline. 

Chatbots provide better engagement – they are specialized in giving advice on a certain subject anytime while people cannot work 24×7 during a week. The result is serving customers whenever they need. 

Personalization is also important – although FAQ on your website can provide some answers, chatbots can immediately answer your customers’ queries and help them with personalized recommendations afterwards. 

Multiple Shipping Methods

You should provide better choice in shipping methods for your consumers.  

People like to have their items delivered as per their personal needs. For example, if a customer wants delivery only to their PO Box address, then you should have that option. 

Allowing users to choose from various shipping options and letting them add the shipping address easily will create a positive user experience in your e-Commerce mobile app. 

Different available shipping methods is a must-have and it would be practical for users to show the cost and estimated delivery time for each option.

Source: quora.com

If you start with developing an MVP, you can start with a simple option for users to order an item to one of your stores and once the app gains popularity, you can upgrade this feature and add new options. 

Another feature that is nice to have is the option to easily check the shipping status of the ordered items. It will help to boost transparency and enhance the quality of interaction that customers have with your store after completing the purchase. 

Source:
 https://www.spaceotechnologies.com/

Users like to know the details about their online purchases so this feature will help them to know exactly what is going on with their ordered items. 

Loyalty Programs

Customers spend 90% more time in mobile apps than on mobile sites and a research has shown that mobile app users are more likely to return to your mobile app within 30 days.

People who decide to download your mobile app initially show a higher level of investment in your brand. Besides regular promotions and exclusive access to products via VIP membership that many stores offer today, you can also give users an option to collect points and win discounts through your mobile application – driving loyalty through a special loyalty program is a smart move.

Source: devteam.space

You can easily notify your customers about the upcoming events, exclusive discounts and rewards if they wish so. You can also use the app to distribute promotion codes to users, motivating them to download and use the app. 

Offering special promotions and discounts as well as making purchase simple for your users will improve user experience and increase sales as you’ll be reminding your customers to make purchases on a regular basis.  

Extra Functionalities

Besides the above mentioned add-on features for an e-Commerce app, there are some extra functionalities that are optional but can be added to boost your sales:

  • Push Notifications – send personalized messages and offers
  • Beacons – personalize push notifications better per customer offering them exclusive deals
  • Magazine – an in-app blog about the latest industry trends
  • Store locator – to easily find a brick and mortar store nearby. 
Source: slideshare.net

FINAL WORD

The eCommerce mobile app development process is full of challenges because you are trying to squeeze a lot of content into small screens and it comes with certain compromises. The process needs to be quick, intuitive and transparent and it should encourage customers to complete the purchase.

Another way to boost your mobile app is to build your brand. If you want to increase the visibility of your eCommerce brand then focusing on eCommerce SEO is critical. Proper SEO can provide you not only with the higher ranking but also a strong brand recognition.

Your brand needs to stand out as it’s important that shoppers recognize your brand and choose your eCommerce mobile app for their next shopping destination.

Adding some extra functionalities to your eCommerce app can help your brand being recognized and your app gain more popularity.

10 Tips for Developing a Successful Ecommerce Mobile App

Did you know that 85% of smartphone users nowadays rather use mobile app instead of mobile websites?

Although a large portion of sales is made via a mobile app, only a few retailers actually offer a mobile app!

Considering such an opportunity at the market, any eCommerce business wishing to increase their sales should seriously think about building a mobile app.

When you’re an eCommerce, you must create a great customer experience for your buyers as it is critical for your success. As UX is one of the most important elements in any mobile app, make sure to be up to date with the latest UX industry trends and stats.

Before building an eCommerce mobile app, there are some key elements mobile users impose so you need to understand them.

Simple and Clear Design

User Interface (UI) is the first thing that users experience when they launch an ecommerce app – it allows users to enter the app, navigate and explore the categories and make searches. 

Always keep in mind that the screen size of a mobile device is much smaller thus you’re limited with space –  home screen should focus on having a clear layout with an easy navigation system and search features while each button, menu or content has to be well organized and neat.

Source: deorwine.com

Your design should be intuitive for users to easily navigate through the app – your UI shouldn’t make them think:

  • Avoid complicated designs with lots of text or animation; 
  • Avoid UI junk as your users want to find the product they what as simple as possible;
  • Use simple color schemes like monochromatic or analogous scheme; 
  • Pay attention to spacing – lines and dividers are great tools to emphasize different sections on a screen but you can also achieve the same effect by using shadows and colors.
  • Use only a single typeface or you can play safely and use the platform’s default font like San Francisco for iOS or Roboto/Noto for Android. Sometimes it’s better to experiment with size, style or weight of the chosen typeface rather than using another font. 

Just remember, get straight to the point – the fewer clicks, the better. 

Also, consider that every mobile OS has its own style guidelines like Material Design for Android or Human Interface Guidelines for iOS. 

The UI of a mobile app is a genuine attention grabber so make it the best possible. 

Quick Login and Checkout

Nothing can irritate more than having to type in the same details over and over again like email address, name, surname, address, security questions and so on.

Don’t make users annoyed while logging or checking out – touch-screens are more distracting for writing as they lack a physical keyboard. If you make your login/checkout process long, you will definitely lose customers.

As said many times before, a good idea is to make social media login via Gmail, Facebook or any other favored social networks so that customers can easily login without bothersome numerous input. 

Using social media has additional benefit if you create a ‘Share’ button – that way, your customers can share on social networks what they’ve bought and at the same time, advertise your business. 

Source: profilepress.com

You should offer to store user information and use auto-complete to avoid those repetitive tasks. 

The same goes with checkout – don’t ask users for their personal information until it is really necessary. Keep in mind that it has to fit the smartphone screen without any scrolling. 

Some examples of how you can ensure streamlined service can be:

  • The buttons ‘PAY’ or ‘CHECKOUT’ must be in a thumb-friendly zone
  • Allow the users to modify their order
  • Use autofill fields 
  • Implement error messaging to prevent any unsuccessful order due to typos or incomplete fields
If you don’t make it short and sweet for users, the result will be abandoned carts and lost profit.

Consistency and Simple Navigation

 One of the key principles of design is keeping your mobile app consistent – it means having the similar elements behave and look the same way. 

Source: pixelworm.io

Consistency can be:

  • Visual Consistency – buttons, fonts and color schemes should look identical
  • Functional Consistency – interactive elements (e.g. navigation elements) should operate the same way on different screens
  • External consistency – all your products (e.g. a website and both Android and iOS apps) should share similar design patterns. 

For example, if your ‘Pay Now’ button is green on one page, then it should be green on all other pages as well. 

Source: dribble.com

Consistency brings infinite benefits like making your app more predictable so that users don’t have to learn new ways to navigate your app; it eliminates confusion, helps to prioritize content and evokes a positive emotional response with users.

You must ensure that your menu is positioned clearly throughout the app, listing only the most important sections and that each menu item is easily understood by using a single word. 

The best is to use standard elements like the tab bar for iOS or navigation drawer for Android. Considering gesture-based navigation, think about well known patterns that all users intuitively understand like double tap for zooming in the photo or scrolling down if you wish to explore more products. 

Make navigation visible – if you have a side menu, users should clearly see how to reach it. 

You can also increase the visibility or prioritize some of some navigation elements by using different colors. 

Prominent Cart Button

The cart should be always visible since it’s what every customer will use to buy products from you. 

It should show clearly and be able to add a product without taking the users to the cart page, so that they can continue shopping.

Do whatever it takes to minimize the steps and deliver better shopping experience. 

Source: pngitem.com

Product screens should always have a visible and a prominent button ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’ – it will help to make the buying experience simpler for the customer and to improve your sales. 

Source: toptal.com

Make sure that users can easily add or remove the items from the cart. 

One Hand Input

In the world of smartphones and touch screens, you must place the elements that will encourage users to take a specific action.

Thumb-friendly zone is a space on the screen which a user can easily reach with his thumb while holding a phone in the same hand.

Source: storemotion.io

Check if all your elements are in the thumb-friendly zone as people won’t take an effort if they cannot easily reach something.

Which buttons should be placed in the thumb-friendly zone?

  • Add to cart
  • Proceed button that leads from cart to checkout
  • Pay button at the payment screen
Source: toptal.com

Another way to keep it simple is ‘The Three-Tap Rule’ – it suggests that it shouldn’t take more than 3 taps for a user to get any of the products they want to buy. 

Arranging and organizing your products in categories will meet this requirement. You can arrange your products as follows:

  • Categories
  • Sub-categories
  • Products

You can also use tags to arrange products into specific campaigns like ‘Xmas Sale’ or ‘Valentine Gifts’ etc. 

Source: digitalcommerce360.com

However you decide to proceed, the search bar is essential as it helps users to get directly to the products they’re interested in. 

If you want to go the extra mile, you can implement Smart Search – as a user types in the first letters, a number of possible suggestions should be displayed to choose from. Not only will you save users’ time but you will have an opportunity to show some hot product selection. 

The Three Tap Rule is nothing more than a rule to minimize the steps with all processes like browsing products, adding to the cart, payment and so on. 

Quick Load

Users don’t want delays anymore in loading or not loading in time. Loading circle for more than 4-5 seconds results in a user abandoning the app.

Just a single second delay in page loading can result in less views by 11% or customer satisfaction in 16% so make sure to speed it up. 

Source: freecodecamp.org

If you want to stay ahead of the game in the e-commerce world, you need to make sure that your app loads as fast as possible. Each element, images or page should load under 4-5 seconds being the attention span time of online users. 

You can use a progress bar to mitigate impatience - this way you let your customers know exactly how much time they need to wait until the process is finally complete. 
Source: dribble.com

Favourite or Wish list feature

Customers like to browse or pick the best items before they actually make a purchase to a specific product. 

The solution is a feature ‘add to favourite’ or ‘add to wish list’ as it lets users gather all their choices in one place before they decide which one they will buy – it’s pretty much similar to brick-and-mortar stores where customers firstly browse before eventually buying something. 

Source: originboardshop.com
Once they decide which item they will buy, customers can re visit their collected lists and decide which one will be the one as per their taste. 

Security first

When you have an e-commerce app, you ask a lot of details from your customers like bank account details, credit card info, address and so on. 

As usage of mobile phones becomes more and more popular, they are also becoming the target of hackers and attacks. A poorly secured app can easily be breached leaving personal information and financial data unprotected. 

This is the reason why you should always provide the high level of security in an app as well as making each transaction encrypted with the best security features.

The most important thing for users is that their information, whether personal or financial, is safe. 

Even if it sounds too expensive, the consequences of not having a high level security goes beyond expensive to impossible as your reputation and business depend on your secure app.

Once the users lose faith in your app, they will never return. 

Keep an eye on the security level of your app and ensure that there are no loopholes.

Another important thing is to provide the most popular payment methods. For example, a customer  who mostly shops online but after checking out his ‘cart’ he realizes that you don’t have the payment option that he prefers. The result = lost customer. 

If you wish to play smarter, you need to ensure that your payment method covers credit cards, debit cards, net banking and e-Wallets being at the top. 

Source: magneticians.com

During the process, always keep in mind the new GDPR for mobile apps as every app is obliged to communicate which data of the user is collected, why and what it will be used for.  If your app doesn’t comply with the regulations, you can face fines.

The best way is to ask for approval of its privacy and security policy right after the user downloads the app. 

Auto Suggestion

This feature is always handy for users – when they browse an app and go from one page to another, the activity can create data logs which can be used later to understand the behaviour of individual users. 

That’s where apps use auto recommendation – to make it easier and faster for users to fill out forms. Auto suggestion predicts common search queries and helps customers to find products more easily. 

Source: toptal.com

Moreover, address lookup and validation makes the checkout process much faster – various APIs like Google Places enable easy implementation of this feature. 

As e-commerce apps should earn your revenue, it’s highly important to deliver exceptional user experience. If you implement app analytics, it will provide you with insight for user-behaviour and similar patterns like session time, click-through rate, accessing custom fields and more. 

The information collected will help you in understanding buying patterns of the users and allow you to provide better recommendations based on their interests all amounting to higher revenue streams. 

Prompt Customer Service

Although you can make the app as simple as possible, customers frequently have some questions to which they’d like an answer. Facilitating the interaction between customers and representatives is a must-have for any ecommerce mobile app. 

Source: smartsupp.com

Providing live chat support to online customers or you can experiment with different options like messaging service, telephone or email support to see which ones your customers like the best. 

This way, customers can easily get in touch with the store in case they have any questions about the products, shipping, payments and more. 

Tell your developers to implement such feature in your ecommerce app as it will be more likeable by the customers and ensure more downloads, meaning more revenue. 

IN SUMMARY..

There are many key features for e-commerce apps and I’ve summarized the best picks to have in mind when building an e-commerce app

Let’s recall the main tips which will help you to increase your ‘mobile’ sales:

  • Stick to ‘minimal’ approach – simple colours, default font and appropriate spacing
  • Provide fast and easy signup and checkout process
  • Be consistent (visual, external and functional) and make sure users can perform main actions without any prior instructions
  • Make sure that CART button easily visible and prominent
  • Provide comfortable interaction in a thumb-friendly zone with gesture for product image zooming 
  • Provide fast loading of app pages
  • Provide users with an option to choose and perform their purchase at their own pace with an editable wishlist
  • Provide a sense of security and trust by displaying badges and testimonials
  • Incorporate fast product search and easy filtering with auto suggestion bar
  • Ensure a prompt customer support to offer the best services to your users

These are some basic key features – they will help you get an app that really makes difference in retailing business and make you successful in your ecommerce journey.