9 New iOS9 App Features to Drive Downloads and Engagement

An Apple launch is always a highly anticipated event, and the iOS9 launch is no different. There have been months of excitement around the app features that will be available through the new operating system, and with the launch date expected for September, time is running out to ensure your shopping app is updated with the latest features.

Apple users are the fastest to adapt to new operating systems compared with other platform users. Currently, 86% of devices are using iOS8. With such a high adoption rate, it’s safe to assume that the majority of your shoppers will be running the new operating system, thus it’s critical to ensure that your app doesn’t get left behind.

In order to stay relevant in the market, brands must take advantage of the new iOS9 features to ensure an exceptional user experience – this will give your app an edge over the competition. The App Store is highly competitive, offering more than 1.4 million apps. If your shopping app doesn’t take advantage of the latest and greatest, users will turn to one of your competitor’s apps. Less downloads means poorer discoverability and lost opportunities to engage your customers.

Stay ahead of the competition – update your shopping app with these 9 new features to get more downloads and effectively engage your customers.

1. App Thinning

A user goes to download your app – they’ve discovered it in the App Store and tapped GET – but a warning pops up, “Sufficient Storage Not Available.” Now they’re forced to go through their phone and decide what they’re willing to delete. Many will abandon the download at this point, which means you’ve lost the opportunity to get homescreen real estate and engage that customer.

App thinning optimizes the download size so that your app uses the least amount of storage possible. It slices the app into multiple “app variants” and only downloads the parts it needs to run on that particular model of iPhone, ensuring that that the user doesn’t run into a storage issue.

2. Universal Links

Universal links provide a seamless user experience between your app and website.

If your shopping app supports universal links, an iOS 9 users will be able to click a link to your website and get seamlessly redirected to your installed app, providing them with a richer shopping experience. One link is used for both the website and app so if the user doesn’t have the app installed then the content will just open up in Safari.  

3. Wallet App

The old Passbook app has been revamped as the Wallet app to better reflect Apple Pay integration. Brands can now push dynamic offers to the lock screen based on the user’s location and preferences – these push notifications will be an effective way for brands to engage customers and drive purchases.

4. Index App Content

iOS9 allows you to index the content within your app, including user-generated content. By making items searchable, you make it easier for the user to find relevant content directly in Spotlight search results. Retailers could index items that shoppers have wishlisted or carted to make it easier for them to retrieve that content and complete their purchase.  

5. Web Markup

If some of your app’s content is also available on your website, you can use web markup to give users access to all your content in Safari and Spotlight search results. So when a user searches for an item in Spotlight, products from your website could be included in the results. By tapping your product, the user would be “universal linked” into the installed app or the mobile website product information page.

6. Maps Improvements

Apps not only drive mobile purchases, they also support the in-store shopping experience. One of the most important parts of supporting in-store is actually getting customers there!

New improvements in Maps could enhance the ‘nearest store’ or ‘pickup point’ functionality within your app. iOS9 allows you to offer directions via public transit and enable Flyover within your app, not to mention customize your maps with more options for displaying callouts and pins.

7. Support for Right-to-Left Languages

If you’re a global retailer, it’s important to localize your digital presence in different regions. iOS9 allows you to flip the content in your app to ensure an optimal user experience for shoppers in regions with right-to-left languages.

8. App Transport Security

App transport security improves the security of connections between app and web services. This provides enhanced privacy and security in online/mobile purchases, giving shoppers the confidence that they need to safely shop using your app.

9. Multi-tasking

The new multi-tasking enhancements will make shopping on an iPad much more efficient (only available on iPad). Slide Over will enable users to pull up a sidebar with a second app, Split View will allow them to run two apps side-by-side simultaneously, and Picture in Picture will allow users to minimize a floating video so that it plays as an overlay while they browse other apps.

With these new features, shoppers could slide over the messenger app to ask a friend’s opinion on clothes, run two shopping apps side-by-side to compare prices, or browse a shopping app while watching their favorite show!

User Experience Determines App Success

It’s important to offer users the latest features through your shopping app, creating an exceptional user experience that will facilitate downloads and continued engagement. Share this list with your in-house development team or third party vendor to ensure that your shopping app is ready for the iOS9 launch this fall!