It's An App World for E-commerce and Online Shopping As smartphones and tablets become the device of choice for many online shoppers there's also a e-commerce movement for retailers to adopt an app-based shopping model. As a result, more businesses should reconsider how they engage and connect mobile customers.

A Mobile Experience

In order to learn how to better appeal to mobile customers, brands first have to better understand where mobile shopping is headed. In the report, "How US Consumers Shop On Mobile Devices", Forrester looked at current mobile shopping trends.

According to the report, within the next three years, the amount of retail sales done through mobile will reach almost US$ 30 million. Despite this steadily growing market, Forrester also noted that many retailers still shy away smartphone and tablet usage. For example, most retailers invested less than US$ 100,000 on smartphones in 2011, while 18 out of 43 retailers surveyed said they had no mobile-focused employees.

mobileshop1.jpgTherefore, since mobile is becoming more viable, brands should should focus more of an effort into making sure their website is accessible from mobile devices,

There’s an App for That

For a lot of e-commerce websites, a common solution for mobile customers is to have a compacted view of the website, so shoppers don’t have to pinch and zoom. Although effective, it’s not the only format available. Now that apps are becoming a common place, users can download versions of whatever tool they need, from news sites, such as the New York Times, to social apps like YouTube and Facebook, and even larger retail and e-commerce sites like Amazon’s Mobile Shopping and WalMart.

According to statistics from Adobe's "Mobile Shopping: Retail App Usage on the Rise" infographic, the likelihood of shoppers using an app to make an online purchase in the next year is 56 percent for smartphones and 60 percent for tablet users, while 45 percent of tablet users and 49 percent of smartphone users said they would consider using an app instead of a mobile-based website.

Therefore, brands should make an app a necessary part of its online shopping platform as customers will be able to download apps of their favorite stores without having to use a third-party sites, and easily and efficiently make purchases with the click of a button.


Know Your Customer

Before a business can create an app they must first make sure they know who the targeted audience is. This will ensure that all of a customer's needs are met in the app's design. According to the reports from Adobe and Forrester there are variety of key factors that define an ideal app customer.

These customers tend to be a younger, digitally and socially adept demographic and are driven to purchase items that they want to get immediately, don't want to wait in a line-up for or have a risk of being sold out. These items can include vacation packages or hotel reservations, clothing and event tickets. Also, app shoppers are mostly influenced by word of mouth advertising, or friends and email marketing, so a business has to make sure that the app has social sharing buttons and can be integrated with social media sites, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

An Educated Customer is a Happy Customer

According to the Adobe infographic, 38 percent of tablet users and 24 percent of smartphone users say that apps strengthen their connection to their favorite brands. Therefore, since apps not only improve upon the customer experience, but also a company’s ROI, brands should be promoting and adding content that shows customers why they should choose app-based shopping.

To do this, a brand should promote how easy it is to shop within the app with features such as product slideshows and a speedy checkout. With this, in addition to showing the efficiency of app-based shopping, brands can also show customers that as a company, they are committed to improve shopping as a whole by adapting better methods.

In the near future if a retailer wants to not only be successful in e-commerce, but maintain and grow its customer base, it not only has to know what trends are popular, but make sure that products can be easily browsed and bought in a mobile application.

Mobile shopping cart image courtesy (Shutterstock)