Studies indicate that 88% of the people confess that having a mobile device with real time information makes them more open to shopping and about a third of the e-commerce is driven through mobile shopping.
These numbers are clearly indicative of the trends of e-commerce leaning heavily on the mobile phones or m-commerce. Mobile commerce or m-commerce offers the ease, speed, and flexibility that may as well prove to be the crucial advantages especially in the manufacturing and distribution industry. M-commerce offers the users an ability and an opportunity to transact anywhere from the shop floor to the stock room or even on the go! This means that not only would the order volumes increase, but the number of loyal customers would increase too!
However, have we ever stopped to wonder what it is that makes some m-commerce apps better than the others. It might be a good time for you to build your own m-commerce app, but it is important that you pay attention to the kind of features you integrate in it. The consumers today are demanding and if they do not get what they are looking for in your app, they are going to move on without paying it a second thought. It is important therefore to be aware of the must have features in your app to attract consumers and to keep them hooked!
We have listed below 11 features that are an absolute necessity when you are building an m-commerce app.
1. A fabulous product image gallery
It is our visual senses that are most active, especially when we are out shopping! After all “we covet, what we see!” isn’t it? In a physical, brick & mortar store a customer can browse through racks and hangers full of items that are available for you to buy and you can walk through it at leisure picking up what you like. However, this luxury is not afforded by a mobile store. In a physical store, it is important that the products are organized and displayed in a manner that would attract the maximum number of consumers. This aspect becomes even more important in case of a mobile store because a buyer’s decision to buy or ignore any product on this platform is largely dependent on the way any item is displayed on your online store. It is important that you take excellent pictures of each of the products and showcase them in best light with multiple angles to let users get a three-dimensional understanding of the product. When done right, this encourages a greater number of customers up to the checkout page. Hence, when you put up any product, give your customers something that would make them want to buy whatever they see!
This is one aspect that has taken the highest priority, for any field and to say that Personalization is important, would be one of the biggest understatements! When it comes to the custom consumer landscape in any category of business, personalization is not just necessary, it in fact is expected. A customer goes in, expecting a certain level of personalization and to not find it, is not just inconvenient, but quite a big disappointment for the customer. When it comes to the manufacturing and distribution industries, customization has become an imperative. Customization in these industries saves a lot of time and cost which in turn creates a tighter supply chain. If yours is an efficiently streamlined mobile commerce platform, it will have the ability to anticipate the kind of purchases the customer needs to make and would have features that help the customers to make quicker decisions. This may be done through information like customer specific catalogues, pricing and promotions based on the preferences and choices of the customers, the favorite items marked by the customers, and their order history.
You might be taking all the steps for optimization and investing a lot of money in making your app work in the best possible manner, but till you do not have any data the efforts might be futile, and you would not even know it! Any modern commerce tool today would be incomplete without the ability to analyze the different forms of data generated with it. When you have the ability to run reporting and analyze metrics on the customers, orders, and product data, you have the ability to make changes as needed and not only enhance the experience your customer has with the app but also stand a chance to monitor the preferences and best-selling items and work accordingly. When you have the ability to collect these data, you have the ability to offer the best customer centric experiences through your m-commerce app. With relevant and ample information at your disposal, you have the capability to design a buyer journey. Data companies like Google are even offering extensive data on mobile and in-app usage that would be available for you to harness when you set out on your m-commerce quest. In this day and age, we have the oft-repeated phrase “data is gold”, and in this case nothing else is truer than this.
4. Extend The In-Store Experience In The Digital World
Though the number of people opting to shop through mobile stores is increasing and mobiles are becoming a popular medium for people to engage in shopping, but even now 6 out of every 10 shoppers are using their mobile devices only to look up for information before or while shopping in a physical store. This means that even though the m-commerce portals are gaining popularity and success, but the traditional retail stores are not yet entirely obsolete. In fact, quite a few of the brick and mortar businesses have the scope to use mobile apps in order to engage better with the customers and bring the whole in-store shopping experience up a notch. You can digitize your in-store experience and offer to your customers a detailed and interactive mapping of the store and thus help them look up and find what they are looking for with great ease! This experience can also be extended to the catalogues that you offer your customers, where you can embed some well-placed QR codes so that the customers can scan them to get additional information about the product. When the two experiences, the traditional and the new, are brought together on one forum, the customers appreciate the novelty, the convenience, and the speed with which the services are rendered and are more likely to order, or buy more, on any one of the platforms, thus bringing in more revenues and in the process become more loyal to the store.
5. A Well-Designed Search Feature
It is a common concern and cause of dissatisfaction among the customers that most of the mobile stores do not offer an efficient product filtering or search experience, as the one they offer, might not be in line with the customers’ expectations or requirement. When you have an advanced search feature incorporated in your mobile store app, you offer to your buyers a smarter, more efficient way to look for a specific item within your app as quickly as you can. When you offer the options to the customers to add filters including brand, colors, size, price range etc. you are essentially empowering them to narrow their search down to fewer but relevant products which are in line with their preferences and requirements. This is definitely going to better the experience of the customer as they would not have sort through thousands of products to find a few hundred that actually satisfy their search criteria.
6. Convenient Sharing
No one is restricted to using just a single digital channel anymore. On a smartphone, at any point of time there are multiple channels that the user may be logged into and actively using by transitioning from one app to the other quite frequently. Customers today, especially on the digital platform are wildly active on the social media which has become a part of their lives. Hence it would not entirely be a surprise if they want to share what they like on your app and want to share it on other social media with their friends and family, or even save a link or email it to themselves so that they can check it out later, on a device they are more comfortable with. This helps you create brand awareness and feature on multiple walls or timelines and who doesn’t need the exposure?
7. Special Discounts & Deals Section
Everyone loves a discount and in each one of us there is a bargain hunter who would love to find awesome things at great prices. However, today you would not see shoppers queuing up in front of the stores to avail festive discounts or sale deals. Today, m-commerce and ecommerce have made it possible for the customers to browse through the hundreds of deals and discounts or sales running on the stores through their smartphones from within the comfort of their houses. These deals could be anything from discounts, special offers, no shipping charges, exclusive coupons, bonuses, or vouchers! Any such deal is bound to attract the attention of shoppers and it is only human to look for these deals. When a mobile or any other online store runs a discount or deal corner, they are not only pushing the number of orders up, they are also gaining a good number of repeat customers, especially when it is a special occasion, the holidays, or a festive season! While designing your own m-commerce app or a retail app, make sure that you incorporate a section to display the featured deals on some of the most popular sections. When it is the season to celebrate, make sure that your app makes it feel that way to the customers as well.
8. Integrate Social Media
It is true that logging in to a mobile app to be able to shop can prove to be a pain for some shoppers, who would prefer a faster medium when it comes to creating accounts on shopping apps. This step, if complicated can cost you a customer. Hence, it is an absolute must that you integrate the social media login feature which would make use of the pre-fed social credentials in order to provide a frictionless and convenient registration process. When this integration is done in the right manner, it can help the businesses to employ the power of a social media login and convert a visitor into a customer with just a tap on the screen. Like we said earlier, information can be of great use to any business and when a customer uses a social media login, they are giving you access to a lot of information, without you having to employ special resources for it. It is important, at this level to pay attention to the app maker that you choose, as it should give you the option, scope, and opportunity to completely customize the look and feel of the social login interface that best suits your app.
9. Communicate & Build Stronger Customer Relationship
A well placed and times push notification is one of the most effective ways to increase customer retention and to keep them engaged. When you send out high value push notification, your app stands to increase customer retention from anywhere between 3 to 10 folds. One of the major reasons why a mobile app today has a lot more popularity and effect than a website is the ability to send out push notifications as it has the potential to tap the customers even when they are on the go. This is an especially powerful marketing tool as they are extremely effective in notifying the customers about marketing content that have a timeline attached to it, for example special offers, exclusive promotions, early bird discounts, or stock clearance sales etc. this helps you as a business to reach out to your customers and keep them in the loop of upcoming sales or even let them know when their favorite items are back in stock. Your app maker should allow you to schedule and send out push notifications to your audience according to their specific time-zone.
10. Safe & Smooth Checkout
As the shopper is checking out their order from within your app, there are two major factors that decide what their experience is going to be like – first, the kind of safety you offer to them while they are checking out and second, the ease of process. Even if your app has amazing user experience, smooth navigation and a stellar product display, it is the checkout experience that is going to determine the conversion of a visitor into a buyer. Once the customer has reached the checkout page, they need to be assured of the safety of the payment information that they are going to feed in to your app. You would have to let them know that their payment information is encrypted and completely protected.
11. Multiple Modes Of Payment
This is important to keep the customers as comfortable as possible with the payment process. It is only natural that they have a preferred method or mode of payment that they have developed faith on. Hence, once they reach your checkout page, and are unable to find their preferred mode of payment, it is possible that they navigate away from it without making the purchase. Hence, it is suggested that you include as many methods of payment as possible to attract customers with varied payment habits.
Though there might be a number of different features that might pull you and you might get pulled towards those that are all shiny and showy, however, it is important that you choose well, and opt for those features that add value to your app, instead of making it look gimmicky.