Our markets are shifting focus. While brick and mortar still thrives in some communities, most producers are turning to eCommerce to help them survive and thrive.
But did you know that while an estimated 12 to 24 million eCommerce stores are selling products and services on the internet, only 650,000 are selling more than $1,000 US annually?
Needless to say, it won’t be easy to beat competitors who are all out and ready to spend money marketing their products and services. What’s more, those competitors are just as dedicated and driven as you are.
So don’t let them get ahead; if you own an eCommerce store and you’re looking for ways to stand out, there are a few essential things you should know about developing a custom eCommerce application for your growing store or opting to take advantage of CS-Cart’s e-commerce marketplace solution.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor mobile app not only helps you save time and money, but it also uses the same data as your store including categories, products, users, carts, wishlists, and orders—which means that you can finally skip the complicated integration processes and hefty maintenance fees.
So, if you’re wondering if it’s really worth paying thousands of dollars for an app, when you already have a website that’s doing an OK job of selling your products for you, what I can say is falling behind now could leave you stranded later on.
With business owners continuing to invest in technology and customer engaging apps, it won’t be long before the web experience you and your customers have been relying on are as dusty as those old VHS’s you don’t have the heart to throw out yet.
With about 2.5 billion people now owning a smartphone, there’s a growing number of mobile shoppers in the US and most certainly worldwide. In fact, the number of mobile users surpassed desktop users for the first time in 2015, and ever since then we’ve been living in a mobile world.
This shift means that having an app today will give you a competitive advantage over other eCommerce stores that still don’t have a mobile-counterpart.
Once people download your app, enticing them to check out new offers will be a lot easier and compelling them to spend more money by presenting great deals is just a few clicks away. Besides, years down the road when your competitors finally get on board, you’ll be light-years ahead in onboarding newer, more innovative marketing technologies.
As global eCommerce sales are predicted to top $27 trillion by 2020, there’s a big chance you can get a slice of the pie if you’ll start investing in an eCommerce app now.
Image source: eMarkerter
Improved Customer Experience and Engagement
Because we live in a fast-paced world, users usually try to find the fastest and most convenient way to do get what they want (think Amazon’s one-click purchasing option). This convenience is why online shopping is popular in the first place. Instead of having to drive to the nearest shopping mall, we’d rather pay shipping fees to get things delivered to our doorsteps. The simpler the shopping process is, the more positive the customer experience will be.
Still, the reality is that your customer experience will set you apart from competitors, regardless of whether you’re competing with bigger, more well-established businesses.
Having an app for your store means that customers can easily browse products, cart them, and purchase them without having to put in their information over and over again. The app will also make it a lot easier for them to return products or get a refund if they need to, without being inconvenienced or obliged to undergo tedious processes (it saves you some headache, too).
You will also get the chance to approach customers where they stand, opening up more possibilities to ask significant questions that will help you improve your business, i.e. through pop-ups, notifications, and incentivized surveys that they can answer within the app.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and reviews for your products or your app itself. Just make sure that you take steps in addressing any negative reviews to further show your valued clients that you have addressed their problem. Customers internalize this kind of recognition and are more likely to recommend your store to a friend when they feel valued.
By 2020, customer experience will become one of the biggest differentiators between eCommerce companies. With buyers happily paying for better customer experience, becoming a leader in providing personalized customer journey and data-driven approach in retaining your customers through your app would ensure that you can scale your eCommerce business.
Branding goes beyond distinctive design. It is the marketing practice that leaves a memorable impression on customers and allows them to distinguish your company and products from other competitors.
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customers and it tells them what they can expect from you and from your products or services.
Make your app a reflection of your branding statements—not just design-wise but also in terms of delivering what you promised to your customers. If your goal is to become a leader in effortless shopping, it won’t make sense if customers are presented with multiple forms and buttons when they are just trying to buy something through your app—that’s far from “feeling” effortless.
According to Google, 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive brand experience on mobile. If your app is designed well and can cater to all possible interactions and queries the customer may need or have, people’s awareness about the brand will not only be boosted, but you will also have a chance to gain loyal brand ambassadors.
Make sure that it’s easy to navigate within the app and that clickable features are performing the functions they were designed for. Your goal is to provide shoppers a smooth and seamless shopping experience, every time—don’t let slow loading speeds, broken links, or other unnecessary elements get in the way.
In closing, while it is true that we hear about successful eCommerce leaders who have established themselves as authorities in the space—earning millions and even billions of dollars—making the decision to create your own app now can be tough when considering the nature of the investment required.
As an app developer myself, I’d say that if there’s a holistic approach in creating a mobile app that best fits your business and your goals, (like CS Cart’s eCommerce solutions) then go for it. Make the investment now and reap the benefits later on.
Joe is the founder of an award-winning app team of entrepreneurial designers and developers. TopFlight Apps has been recognized as California’s best mobile apps company by B2B ratings and reviews platform Clutch. Clientele include Stanford Medicine, Medable, and Merck.