13 Feb 2019
This article will explore why a mobile app is crucial for a better user experience. In answering this question, the article will consider the rise in m-commerce and the various reasons why mobiles provide a better user experience compared to more traditional methods of exploring media for example using the desktop computer.
The rise of m-commerce
The mobile phone interface as a driver of sales is growing exponentially compared to its more traditional counterpart, the desktop computer, as shown in the diagram below:
Further, researchers who have investigated the topic suggest that by 2020, the growth of desktop e-commerce sales will stop growing.
The key question is why?
M-commerce has so many advantages over its traditional desktop counterpart, it is hardly surprising to see these trends emerging.
Shoppers have a much greater degree of flexibility in making their purchases over a mobile interface compared to a desktop, which usually requires a fixed location due to the size of the equipment required to display a desktop optimised website. Conversely, shoppers using mobile phones can access the internet from virtually any location around the home, at work, outside the home and even while using public transport.
Websites designed for desktops can be accessed using mobile technology, however there are a number of obvious problems, particularly when the website concerned has not been optimised for mobile phone users. Optimisation for display on a mobile requires investment of resources to ensure that the mobile user gains the full benefits of exploring the website that a desktop user has. One way around this problem is for the business concerned to create an app, designed to sell your products and services.
So, what is it about the app that makes it so crucial to selling?
Why does a mobile ecommerce app deliver a better user experience?
There are many reasons why the app makes for a better overall experience for the user compared to the desktop.
Convenience and Personalisation
Desktop users have to cope with the fast that the desktop is designed to target multiple users all at once. Apps are different since they are capable of personalisation from the first point of contact with the user.
The first thing a user does when they download an app is to create a profile. The app can be designed to import critical information from a user’s social media making the process of personalisation simple and streamlined. Once the app captured valuable information about the user, even more personalisation can be achieved. For example, an app user can be presented with products and services that are more likely to appeal to them, based on their personal characteristics like sex, age and location from a much earlier point in time than a desktop user can.
Additionally, the app interface can modify the home page and main landing pages that users explore when they open the app. Again, this targeting makes communication of keys sales messages easier, and more likely to result in sales because irrelevant information can be screened out from an early stage.
In-app tracking, once an app has been activated and had its user register key information can be switched on and this allows for a better user experience, because the user does not have to eliminate as much irrelevant information as someone who merely browses a website does.
In-app tracking personalisation, not only allows for more relevant information to be displayed to the user from the point of registration, it allows for information to be collected over time to ensure that more, and more irrelevant information can be eliminated from the marketing messages displayed to the user. An example being, if someone registered their location early on as Iceland, only to move to Dubai, the app can prevent advertising of winter clothing to the user, based on the changes to the user’s location.
Integration Between Apps and Physical and Online Shopfronts
Apps can be designed so that they compliment and are integrated with desktop shopfront and social media accounts. An example is for app use to be made free and convenient by users who have entered your physical store. The app functionality can make the in-shop experience for the user, better.
Enabling users to create a “wish-list” of items they are interested in, but don’t necessarily want to buy right now can increase the prospects that, over time the user will make a purchase form their wish-list. It may be that shoppers want to compare the items on their wish-lists to others, or that they simply can’t afford to make a purchase at a particular time. The ability of the wish-list to continually remind users, over time of what they are interested in, increases the chances that products and services will be purchased and the user will appreciate the functionality of the app, which allows them to postpone their buying choices so that they can take decisions to buy, in their own time.
Sales, Offers and Discounts
Just like individual products can be particularly relevant to a given user, so too can particular discounts, offers and sales. The app allows for product personalisation, but the data captured by the app can also allow for personalisation of sales and offers for particular customers.
The problem with detail available on websites, for example in product descriptions, or reviews, is that some users want to see it, whereas others don’t. Too much irrelevant information, can lead to customers abandoning a site before they make the all-important decision to make a purchase, or before they see something they may wish to purchase in the future.
Apps allow for much more detail to be concealed from the user, while at the same time allowing for the user who wishes to access it. This concept is known as “layering” and it is an essential attribute of the modern app.
Images and Product Demos
Apps allow for the images that users are invited to view to be much more targeted to the user’s preferences and physical characteristics.
An app allows a much more in-depth approach to display of a product. Apps can import person characteristics, personal images and this allows for a more appealing demonstration of the product available to be shown to the app user.
The benefit is two-fold, the user benefits from getting a more relevant display of how the product might look, while being worn or used by them, and the seller of the product gets to give the user a closer view of the product, that’s more relevant to them personally, thereby increasing the prospect of a successful sale.
Contact with Customer Service
The app allows for a more direct line of contact between user and customer service to be created. The data captured in the app can make returns labels easier to create and print out, for example.
Additionally, contact with customer service is made easy, and more convenient for the customer when they use an app to initiate the contact. The customer service agent for example will already have access to the customer’s personal information and purchase history, so (apart from security checks) the process of making contact with and getting help from customer service is simplified by the use of an app.
Checkout and Payment
An app can make the process of checkout and payment much quicker and convenient for the user. The app can save personal information, like payment details and these can automatically be loaded into the payment screen, when the user is paying for something. Likewise, the information needed for delivery can be captured by the app and automatically loaded as part of the checkout process, saving the user time and effort.
Apps enable push notifications to be sent to a user’s phone and this ensures a higher likelihood of marketing messages actually being displayed to the user.
If you want to improve marketing, a mobile ecommerce app can really help as users report better all-round experiences of shopping through mobile technology. So, why is a mobile commerce app crucial for a great user experience?
Mobile e-commerce is growing in importance all the time. So much so, in fact that, experts predict an exponential rise compared to the growth expected of desktop ecommerce.
As we have seen discussed in this article, the quality of the user experience that an app can deliver is the key to the success of the marketing messages a business is delivering. Shoppers increasingly want relevant, targeted information to be delivered to them, allowing them greater convenience and making the shopping process, easier and quicker.
Mobile e-commerce delivers a much more personal set of messages to the user, and users benefit from irrelevant information being filtered out to a large degree, through the use of features like personalisation, in-app tracking and push notifications. As such, the likelihood that marketing messages will result in sales, increases.
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