In 2022, ecommerce is taking over the world. The pandemic led to a surge in online shopping, and the trend has not reversed with loosened restrictions. This has led to a fortune of brand new ecommerce stores, along with an evolution of the industry itself. If you are running an ecommerce website, you need to keep up with the growth of the industry if you are to succeed.
One of the potential ways to further curate your customers’ ecommerce experience is by creating an app. And just like nowadays you don’t need to know how to code to build a website, you also don’t need any coding experience to create an app – you just need an app maker. Anyone can do it, but the question is whether you should.
There are certainly reasons not to. If you create an app that provides no more functionality than your website, you are asking for trouble. A bad app experience can lead to negative reviews and, consequently, tank your reputation. Furthermore, if you do not constantly maintain your app with regular updates, you will soon end up with a defunct app cluttering peoples’ phones.
So, is it worth creating an app for your ecommerce store? Will you see a return on the necessary investment of time and effort?
The answer is yes. Here are some of the ways you can benefit from an ecommerce app.
Today, most people access the internet from their phones the majority of the time. While we will still use our desktops when necessary, the intuitive way we use the internet is via mobile. This has led to many website owners taking a mobile first approach. Instead of building a website for the internet and adapting it for mobile, they create the mobile version first.
The reality, however, is that accessing the internet through a mobile browser is often a frustrating experience, even when a website has been created with a mobile first approach. Apps are far easier to use. As such, having an app for your ecommerce store gives your customers a much better experience, which consequently provides easier access to your service.
With an app, they can stay logged in all the time, leave items in their baskets, and load their payment information without having to open their desktop computer. Yes, they can achieve this through a mobile browser, but even the best mobile browsers struggle to make this experience seamless. Many people are therefore uncomfortable shopping online if not through an app.
A huge part of the app experience for sellers is the customer engagement it allows. Essentially, by downloading your app, a custome r is giving you access to their daily lives. Instead of having to advertise only through social media ads and email newsletters, you can send push notifications. These notifications can avoid becoming a nuisance if you actually offer value through them.
In other words, if you are constantly spamming your app users with adverts, they will turn off notifications or delete your app. However, if some of your notifications lead them to exclusive, time-limited discounts, they will appreciate their presence.
Being able to send notifications is not just a means of advertising. It is also a way of reminding customers that they have not finished shopping, or letting them know when an item is in stock. This helps you close sales that would otherwise end up abandoned.
The benefit of going to a store in person is that you know exactly when you are receiving your goods – immediately. Online shopping at best delivers within the hour. Some items can only be delivered in a matter of weeks, especially if they need to be shipped globally.
This does not have to be a major issue. Most customers understand that they cannot get everything instantly. However, it is crucial that you manage their expectations. The difference between a happy customer and a furious one often has little to do with the time it takes to get their purchase. Rather, it has to do with your transparency.
Be clear from the start about how long it will take and give them a way to track their deliveries. This way, they do not feel like they have no control or that you've forgotten about them.
It is also important that you communicate with them as clearly as possible if there is a delay. Many store owners make the mistake of laying low when they fear a customer will be displeased. This only further amplifies the customer’s dissatisfaction. By being transparent, you open yourself up to direct criticism, but it will rarely be as harsh as what you get when you leave your customers in the lurch.
Is it worth creating an app for your ecommerce store? The answer is a resounding yes… as long as you are willing to do it properly. Take the time to provide the functionality your customers need, plan maintenance, and create a schedule for notifications.