“Quick question. How does it feel like being a Gold member in StarBucks?” asked my friend while drinking caramel mocha, her favourite from StarBucks.
“Dunno.” I said curtly. I don’t like interruption when reading a crime thriller.
My friend knows this way too well.
Thus she shoved her phone in my face. I found myself staring at the Starbucks app interface. She has won the Gold status for the very first time. And rubbing it in my face since my status is still at Green struck her as a brilliant idea!
Even though I envied (slightly) my friend’s achievement, It got me thinking.
Should every ecommerce store have an app? Or is a website enough for a business when it comes to digital presence?
I, being a research junkie, started digging around.
And I DID come up with over a dozen reasons a business should have an app.
I have listed 7 of those for you below.
Read on to find ones relevant to your ecommerce store.
An app offers a direct and dedicated pathway to target customers
Having a direct and dedicated channel to potential customers is one of the biggest reasons for an ecommerce store (or any business) to invest in having an app built for itself. Thus it is at the top of my list!
On social media and search engines, a business has to compete with an increasing number of competitors to direct traffic to its website. Furthermore, paid traffic is getting more expensive.
If your business invests in mobile app development, you’ll be somewhat free from this nerve-racking competition and heightening ad campaign expenses.
Within your app real-estate, you have the liberty to engage your current and potential customers in a much more immersive way. Such an engagement would help you leave a deeper and effective first impression. In business, it can go a long way!
You would be able to streamline your business process
Just like your business website, an app is another platform through which you would be able to offer your services. As you distribute your business process over a greater number of channels, you would have the opportunity to chisel it.
If you are slightly overwhelmed, it’s totally fine. Allow me to elaborate.
Suppose yours is a fashion accessories store and you have 117 employees working for you.
As the business owner, you want each piece of business operation info at your fingertips.
These info include shipping status of each product en route to your customers, employee work logs, current available stock, revenue analytics, current marketing expense, customer reviews, among others.
If you, as well as your staff in key managerial positions, have all these data at their disposal through an app, the advantage is enormous!
It would be super easy for each to make informed and smart decisions and allocate and relocate resources to different areas of your accessories business.
These areas could be accessories design diversification, targeting different locations in your paid advertising etc.
An app can help you gain the upper hand in your niche
Have a close look at the bar chart above.
As you can see, even Generation-X business ownershave not fully adopted mobile apps as part of their business strategy. Millennials and baby boomers are lagging pretty far behind as well!
This gap in adopting an app as part of your service delivery is a huge window of opportunity for your business to gain a competitive edge over your rivals!
Well, as discussed above, an app lets you engage your customers far more intimately than websites.
Furthermore, your app is conveying the idea that you are serious about your business and bear goodwill towards your customers.
This criterion makes it very easy for people to perceive your business as a reliable, efficient service provider.
There is another added benefit. Your app also helps your business easier to remember compared to your rivals.
Point to keep in mind
If your app feels and works exactly like your website, a considerable portion of your potential customers may be disappointed. So make sure to keep the following in mind when having your business app developed:
Set very clear and specific goals you want to achieve through your app
Use built-in smartphone functionalities such as accelerometer, GPS, touch sensor to provide an integrated experience to your users. People would love you for this.
An app would be another rich source of analytics
When a significant number of people has downloaded your app, the way they use your app will act as a rich source of behavioural data.
Let me elaborate.
On a very general level, your app would tell you which features of your app, most of the users are accessing consistently and vice versa.
This data would help you take your game to the next level.
First, you would know which features of your app you can rely on to accumulate a larger customer base.
Second, the features people don’t use often. You can either enhance them to deliver usability to your app users. Or you can choose to remove those which would help you cut down app maintenance cost and effort.
If you analyse your app analytics data even further and break those down to greater detail, you would be able to derive more insights.
For instance, you would be able to figure out what percentage and demographics of your users use your app at which time of day and for what duration.
How does that help you? Well, you can use this data to devise hyper-targeted marketing campaigns and release those at optimal times to achieve hiked ROIs. Sounds cool right!
Your app would help you expand your customer base
This point is obvious. Yet important enough to discuss.
Apart from acting as a dedicated marketing channel, your business app would be colossally helpful in delivering a well-rounded and novelty experience to your customers.
Since about 3 out of every 5 smartphone users shop from brand-based apps, you app-provided it delivers an excellent and unique experience-would be in a position to utilise the much-coveted benefit of word-of-mouth.
If that happens, your customer base would have no choice but to inflate!
An app would help you gain sales quicker
Quick sales! Two words that are always at the top of the minds of all ecommerce store owners.
An app helps you achieve that a lot faster not to mention cheaper than through digital advertising.
You have probably already figured out how. But I am going to elaborate anyway. Please stay with me!
When marketing digitally, you have to research on audience behaviour, demographics and other relevant data to laser focus your campaigns. Then come the budget and duration setting phase followed by remarketing.
Within your app, you are free from all such hassle!
The pathway from your business to your customers are already in place through your app. Your offer would reach each one of them within a matter of seconds through notifications.
At this point, I would like to drop this eye-opening data on you!
What I have found is, people are about four times more likely to make a purchase when on an app compared to a mobile site!
So you are reaching people instantly with your exciting offer, and you have some sweet data on your side!
Unless there is a supernatural intervention, you would make sales as well!
An app would drive your service accessibility
If you design your app to be accessible even when your user is offline, imagine how that person would feel.
It’s not rhetoric.
Do take one second and imagine it. If necessary, open an app you often use with your smartphone data, and Wi-Fi turned off.
Well, it feels amazing, right! Your app users would feel the same! And if they can add your products to cart, your app usability would spike a notch higher!
This feature would be massively effective when your website is down for any reason.
The more your users engage with you, the more they are likely to buy.
Provided you sweeten their engagement with great customer support and infotainment, these same people would turn into your business promoters! Without you having to pay a dime!
Useful Stats To Help You With Your App-Building Decision
Deciding to build an app is not an on-the-spur-of-the-moment decision. You have to dedicate time and money into it to have it designed for your business to deliver your service smoothly.
Simply put, it’s a long-term commitment.
Thus to make your decision making a little easier, I have listed some stat data I scavenged from the bowels of the internet.
Online shoppers spend twice on mobile platforms compared to desktop.
About 8 out of every 10 people prefer accessing a store from an app to a website.
About 3 out of every 10 small businesses intend to acquire new customers through an app. And this number is expected to rise.
An app can take your business to a whole new level.
Yes, that stands true!
But as I have already mentioned before, an app requires a considerable amount of capital and effort. So rushing into having an app built for your ecommerce store would not be a good idea.
Gather more data on your niche, your rivals and your customers.
Try to figure out if you are in a position to deliver a very specific and unique service to your customers through your app given your current financial situation.
If all data feel positive, do go ahead.
On the other hand, if your current assessment of your ecommerce store is not in favour of an app, do not feel bad!
Focus your time and energy into growing your store.
As a wise man once said, do not test the depth of a river with both feet!