Blog

Should my eCommerce Business Get an App Developed?

In this article we explore why your online business might benefit from expanding to a dedicated mobile app experience.

This is a question that we get asked a lot and, as I’m sure you can imagine, there isn’t a simple yes or no answer to this question. In this blog post we will outline some the key advantages of adding a native mobile app to your roster of sales channels while also making you aware of things you need to consider before making a final decision. While we may not directly answer the question of whether or not your online store should look to expand to mobile, this post will better equip you to make this decision.



Before we get started it is important to note that there is a difference between a mobile app and a mobile website — they’re not the same thing. Mobile websites are websites that are optimised to work across mobile devices via your smartphones web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.). A mobile app is a piece of software that is installed onto your device via either the App Store or Google Play Store and, without getting too technical, runs on a separate code base to your website.



The Advantages


Boost Your Sales


Adding a mobile app to your list of sales channels can help you grow your sales. According to Criteo’s latest commerce report (Q2 2018) in Europe conversion rates for mobile shopping apps are 3x higher than that of web based mobile store fronts. The report also states that businesses that have a mobile app based shopping experience, and promote it, see 65% of all their transactions happen on mobile.


Push Notifications


Thanks to Push Notifications you can now send messages direct to customers lock screens, skipping the often overloaded inbox where your message is likely to get lost. The trick with Push Notifications is to not overload users with lots of messages, too many notifications could lead to your app getting uninstalled and give your brand a reputation for spam. However, done right Push Notifications can increase engagement with your app. This article from Neil Patel has some great examples of Push Notifications done right.


Better Experience, Better Engagement, More Sales


Often mobile websites offer an experience that was designed for desktop which has then been scaled down to fit on mobile devices. Building a mobile app enables you to give your customers a dedicated mobile shopping experience. By having a store front that is designed and built to be used on a smartphone you are to offering customers an experience that is tailored to their device. By providing your customers with a better shopping experience they are more likely to buy from you again.



Things to Consider


Having read all the advantages listed above you may be left thinking “I need to get a mobile app for my online store, where can I get started?”. However, before you embark on a project like this there are a few things to consider, these aren’t downsides to a mobile app but are things you should keep in mind.


Cost


Getting a mobile app built for your store will cost money and could be expensive depending on your requirements. Managing the cashflow of an eCommerce business can be tough at the best of times so it would be worth considering whether or not you can afford to make this investment. You may find that you can’t afford this expense right now but you might be able to later down the line, giving you time to plan for the project.


Time


While you may be outsourcing the development of your app and not building it yourself you should still consider the time investment required to see the project through. When you’re running your own business your time is at a premium, if you commit to building an app for you business make sure you’re not doing so at sake of something else. This may simply come down to being better at time management.


How do customers already buy from you?


This may seem like a silly question, after all it is 2018 and the iPhone has been out for more than 10 years, but not everyone uses apps. An important part of running an eCommerce business is understanding how your customers are buying from you. Knowing what devices your customers use when they make a purchase and how they make that purchase (i.e. online or over the phone) will help you determine if an app is right for you. You may find 80% of your orders are made on a smartphone in which case a dedicated mobile app would probably be a good idea or, on the other hand, you find that could only 10% of your orders come through your eCommerce site so an app is likely not a wise investment at this time.


Hopefully this post has given you some food for thought and will help you make a better decision on whether or not to invest in developing a mobile shopping app for your business. If you do decide that having a mobile shopping app built is the logical next step for your business then we’d love to help you make this next step. Get in contact with us an a member of our team will help you get started.