The e-commerce industry has seen a tremendous rise over the last decade and that growth is only expected to continue. The total worldwide e-commerce sales are projected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, which is almost double what they were in 2017 ($2.3 trillion) according to Kinsta.
Mobile technology is at the forefront of that steady rise. Online shoppers already prefer mobile use over a desktop when making their purchases. Just in the United States, 82% of consumers buy via their mobile.
As of 2017, more than 178 billion mobile apps were downloaded worldwide. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 258 billion and revenue from those apps is estimated to reach $188 billion. That’s just a sample of the overall usage of mobile apps and, rest assured, those in the e-commerce market are well aware of this fact and recognize the importance of mobile apps for their business.
Why an eCommerce Website Needs a Mobile App?
We could name countless reasons why an e-commerce website would need a mobile app. However, we’ll limit ourselves to just the 8 of the most obvious:
- It’s what customers prefer.
There is no other way to put it; customers simply prefer to buy via mobile apps rather than via desktop or mobile browsers. A big reason for this is that shopping this way is much more convenient, and 78% of consumers say they favor mobile apps over browsers when they are accessing shopping sites.
- It increases brand recognition and conversion rates.
Mobile apps improve brand recognition and draw customer attention through increased traffic. Social media platforms also let customers speak about your products and essentially become advocates and share links to their favorite stores to their friends.
This leads to an increase in conversions, where mobile apps make it even easier for the customer to add products to their shopping cart ensuring that the whole purchase process is seamless.
- Mobile apps introduce a better user experience.
Not all e-commerce mobile apps successfully nail UX, but when they do, their customers appreciate it. Good navigation and removing anything that can distract from the product are at the core of good UX for e-commerce apps. If only one or both of these are lacking, the customer is likely to not just stop using the app (48%), but worse, switch to a competitor’s app (34%).
- Mobile apps reach customers where they are.
Another advantage of mobile apps is that e-commerce businesses can reach their customers where they are with timely messages. For instance, they can use mobile apps to send an SMS message to a customer who has just entered a physical store, informing him about a discount, or to one leaving the store asking for feedback and to grade his experience.
This way, mobile and physical shopping experience can work hand-in-hand.
- It increases customer loyalty.
Mobile app users are twice as likely to return to an e-commerce store than those who used a mobile browser to access it according to Criteo in its research.
The very act of downloading an app is an indication of a greater level of investment in a brand. When your store icon sits next to their other favorite apps like Viber, WhatsApp, Spotify or Snapchat, that’s a pretty good indication of their loyalty.
- Checkout is more secure and faster.
When it comes to retail, speed is critical for a good shopping experience. The customer wants to be in and out of the store, preferably having made a purchase.
This is why the focus needs to be on ensuring a fast and seamless checkout process via mobile apps and making sure that users can pay securely. With mobile apps, checkout can happen in just a few clicks, eliminating the need to enter payment or shipping information every time.
- Better engagement through personalization
With mobile apps, brands can have a much better insight into customer data, their browsing history, and previous purchases. With this data in hand, they can provide suggestions for future purchases, improve navigation, and improve their purchasing experience.
- Higher order value compared to websites
When compared to shopping through a website, the average order value from a mobile app is significantly higher. That has to do with push notifications. Of course, e-commerce stores need to remember that they are walking a thin line here. Too much push notifications can alienate the customer.
Mobile apps are standing front and center of the e-commerce rise over the last couple of years. This is hardly surprising given that conversions from mobile apps are three times higher than from a mobile web, according to MarketingLand.
These eight reasons clearly show why mobile apps have become essential for the success of the e-commerce industry over the last few years. These reasons also illustrate why your online retail business needs to follow this trend. This is not the future, but the present. Without a mobile app, it is that much harder for an e-commerce business to have success.