Wednesday 13 March, 2013

Mobile Ecommerce – Making Mobile Shopping Apps Work

Recently, a report by the Research 2 Guidance consumer organization found that mobile shopping apps may not be all they’re hyped up to be. It said that in 2012, mobile shopping apps accounted for only 5% of all ecommerce. This is way below what experts predicted. Only about a fifth of the companies using the apps made significant retail sales with them.

Are mobile shopping apps a pointless waste of time? Probably not. It’s much more likely that businesses haven’t figured out how to use them to enhance the experience of their customers, and this is why they’re not producing results yet. Here are some mobile shopping app best practices that all businesses need to know.

What You’re Selling

First of all, you should understand what sells and what doesn’t sell on mobiles. The highest selling products last year were virtual products such as games and other apps. Physical goods still haven’t caught on in a big way through mobile shopping.

Make It Easy

The whole point of a shopping app is to make purchasing from you easier and your app should do that. Some apps actually make it tougher for customers by requiring them to register or enter a great deal of text. Test out your shopping app and ask yourself, ‘Does it make shopping easier or harder?’

Design is an important factor in creating an app that’s user friendly. Put as much of the app’s content above the fold so that users don’t have to scroll and pan. If it’s even slightly confusing, they’ll probably choose not to use it.

Social Media Integration

People increasingly use their mobiles to socialize online. If you can integrate your app with social media, this will increase engagement and lead to more customers using it. People love to share, rate and review their online purchases. Build social media integration into your app.

Testing Testing Testing

Creating the right mobile app requires a great deal of testing. Testing is time consuming and often expensive, and it can delay the release of your app. But it’s vital. No matter how wonderful you think your app is, the true test is what the market thinks about it. Take the time to test your app on all devices and platforms.

Most apps are released and then updated soon afterwards. Upon the app’s release, you start getting feedback from users on how well it performs, what they like and don’t like about it, and so on. Use this data to create a bigger and better version. Through this process, you finally create the perfect app to complement the shopping experience.

2012 may not have been the year mobile shopping apps took the world by storm, but the forecast for the future is optimistic. The same report quoted above also said that nearly all businesses expect to see mobile sales climb in the coming years.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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