5 Reasons To Build A Shopping App

Mobile web is important for reach, but shopping apps are crucial for engagement. They provide a channel to engage your most loyal customers – by downloading the app, users have already demonstrated a commitment to your brand.

Forrester defines mobile moments as “a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.” More and more, customers are turning to apps to serve them in these mobile moments. Smartphone apps are used more than twice as often as mobile web, and shopping app usage is growing faster than any other category of apps. If your brand doesn’t build a shopping app, then you may be losing important customers in these mobile moments.

Here are 5 reasons your brand should build a shopping app today.

1. Increased Customer Retention

Shopping apps can improve customer retention by driving repeat usage, deeper engagement and customer loyalty. An eConsultancy study found that 82% of digital marketers agreed that retention was cheaper than acquisition, yet only 44% tailored their apps for retention – make sure you’re not missing out on this opportunity.

An app download isn’t going to impact customer retention, but if brands follow through with exclusive content, not available to shoppers on other channels, they can build long-term customer relationships. Another important piece of the puzzle is re-engagement, apps provide a channel for retailers to re-engage customers with minimum friction.

2. Better User Experience

Native apps provide a more seamless user experience compared to mobile web. One of Mobify’s customers, Richard Cohene, VP of Marketing at Beyond the Rack, stated, “User experience is the number one most important reason why you should build an app.”

An app immerses the user in the experience by using the full screen – there is no search or navigation bar creating clutter. Native apps also behave more responsively, providing a smoother and quicker user experience. On average, consumers spend 3-4 times longer browsing an app compared to a mobile website. The enhanced user experience on apps means users will spend more time browsing products and engaging with your brand.

3. New Channel to Reach Customers

Push notifications give retailers a new channel to reach customers – one that bypasses their overflowing inbox. The ability to deliver targeted, context-aware messages, even when the app is closed, creates a huge opportunity for retailers to effectively engage customers.

Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges for retailers on mobile. With push notifications, retailers can remind customers when they have items sitting in their shopping carts, they could even offer a discount to incentivize the user to complete the purchase. When a shopping cart abandonment push notification is sent, users are 42% more likely to purchase. Another use case for push notifications is re-engaging users who haven’t been active in some time. Localytics found that 62% of those users signed up for push messaging will return to the app the following month, whereas only 32% of users will return if not prompted with push notifications.

4. Additional Functionality

Native apps can offer additional functionality by leveraging device-specific hardware and software. By utilizing native components, retailers can provide users with a more unique and personalized experience. For example, GPS could be used to provide location-specific information, or users could be prompted to upload photos of their favorite outfits by accessing their photo gallery through the app.

Apps not only improve the user’s mobile experience, they can also elevate the in-store experience. Geofencing and beacons allow retailers to provide relevant, location-specific content to customers in-store. A customer could walk into a store and receive a notification that an item currently in their wishlist is in-stock in that particular store. Following up this notification with a product locator map would create an easy, frictionless path to purchase. An app can support the in-store shopping experience by facilitating product discovery and removing barriers to purchase.

5. Valuable Insights from Customer Data

Apps enable retailers to collect customer data like usage habits, content preferences, user locations and movement patterns. These provide valuable insights into shopping habits that can be integrated back into your company’s CRM to create more complete customer profiles and more engaging interactions.

Apps are a powerful touchpoint that can improve the overall shopping experience and increase customer retention. Download the eBook below to learn specific tactics to increase your brand’s customer lifetime value using apps.

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