“Let’s Get This Straight First..
Ecommerce Is Now Primarily Mcommerce”
Mobile shopping is exploding. Smartphones have become the dominant platform for consumers across the globe to browse and buy things from anywhere anytime. E-Commerce businesses have made mobile central to their online strategy. The primary focus for online retailers is to offer an awesome mobile app shopping experience.
Building an ecommerce mobile app and putting it on the app stores has become much simpler today. Unfortunately, the majority of such apps provide a poor user experience and quickly lose steam wasting valuable development time and money.
So how does one build the best in class ecommerce mobile app that users would want to install and more importantly engage on a consistent basis?
We at Mobisoft Infotech would love to share our thoughts and guiding principles, from years of experience and research in building mobility solutions, that you can follow to get on the right track to build the best ecommerce mobile app.
Choose The Right Technology
- Go Native
User experience trumps everything else when we talk about mobile.Your app needs to be fast and fluid if it has to offer the best user experience. Getting such performance is only possible today with native coding and development on both Android and iOS platforms. Cross-platform or hybrid app development is definitely cheaper and allows faster time to market but compromises on speed and reliability.
But let’s be honest, you are reading this blog to know about the secret recipe to build the best e-commerce app and you can note it down right now that native development is one of the secret ingredients.
Native apps run code much faster, allow to take full advantage of the underlying platform capabilities and overall offer a significantly superior app experience.
- Embrace The Cloud
If you want to have the best app, you better scale with ease.Many apps work almost flawlessly with a few thousand users but as the numbers grow, most of them crumble and crash under the load. The problem mostly lies in the backend architecture which fails to scale in sync with the demand. However, building a robust cloud infrastructure from leading providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud can provide you with enough horsepower to autoscale and work smoothly without breaking a sweat.
Whether you are conducting a flash sale or shipping orders on Black Friday, you can provide a no glitch mobile buying experience to your customers.
The public cloud democratizes computing power and enables your ecommerce app to be to be highly scalable and reliable.
Nail The UI & UX
With most ecommerce apps offering very similar functionality, what can truly differentiate your app from the bunch is a well-designed user interface with a killer user experience.
Here are a few checklist items you should focus on
- Seamless Onboarding
Let your users get started quickly with your app with useful onboarding screens about what your app has to offer. Allow them to register easily with email or sign in with their social accounts. Never force your users to create an account and let them checkout as a guest.
- Simple and Uncluttered Design
The best ecommerce apps also have the simplest designs. They prefer to stay modest rather than overwhelm the users with unnecessary bells and whistles. Keep your products front and centre with only the relevant action buttons.
- Consistent and Familiar Navigation
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Users are already familiar with the standard navigation buttons and gestures on both iOS and Android. You should stick to these standards and keep things predictable for users. Create a rich browsing experience for your products and services.
- Optimized Checkout Process
Count the number of clicks it takes the user to view a product and place an order and optimize it. Ask only the necessary information during checkout and get as many fields pre-populated as possible by taking advantage of signed in user’s data. Guide the users during the process by showing them their progress.
Include These Key Features
All ecommerce apps have some standard features that users have become accustomed to. Many try to improvise but end up increasing feature bloatware. However, with proper research, analysis and the right technology, you can offer some really cool features that are actually useful for your users and can propel your app amongst the big league.
Here are some must-have features for the best e-commerce apps
- Smart Search and Product Recommendations
Search is core to any ecommerce app’s product browsing experience. You should supercharge this feature by offering autocomplete suggestions, search history, and voice-enabled search. Combine this with intelligent filters and sorting options to get the user quickly to their desired product or service.
As you collect more user data and preferences from their order history, wishlist and browsing data, provide useful product recommendations on new products to buy or add-ons with existing items in their cart.
- Intelligent and Timely Notifications
User re-engagement is crucial to your app’s success and there is nothing more effective than making use of push notifications. Target users with personalized offers, prompts to complete a failed transaction and order updates. Take advantage your user’s location data to send location-specific notifications. Keep the notifications visually rich and useful and be very careful not to spam.
- Safe and Secure
This may sound like an obvious one, however, is still essential to be mentioned again and again. With so many fraudulent transactions, hacking and phishing cases happening online, robust app and data security is of prime importance to instill trust and confidence among the customers when they are shopping from your app. Ensure that your app is PCI compliant for secure payments and uses SSL encryption.
- Personalized and Localized
App personalization has become a buzzword these days. It involves delivering targeted content and sometimes custom UI for each user or user groups. You should leverage all the user data and can even ask the users explicitly about their interests and preferences to create user personas and provide them a unique experience.
Your users are more likely to engage and come back to your app over your competitor’s if they feel that the experience is tailored to their needs.
- Localization is crucial
If your app has to go global and have a big customer base. Provide multilingual and multi-currency support to cater to different geographies.
- Build your app offline first.
Your app must offer a smooth experience even on slow and inconsistent internet connections. Optimize your content and product images for low bandwidth and try to get as much done offline as possible. Remember, we are trying to figure out how to build the best ecommerce app and it isn’t possible if your app doesn’t work with grace in all network situations.
- Localization is crucial
Measure Analyze And Iterate
Never Settle. Keep Improving
Mobile app analytics must be at the core of your ecommerce app development strategy. It is very difficult to get the best ecommerce app tag in version one. All great mobile apps use a robust analytics platform, whether it be it their own or popular third party ones like Google Analytics, MixPanel, Adobe Analytics, etc., to gather key insights and improve their app faster.
- User Analytics
You need to deeply understand your user’s app usage behavior to deliver a slick and personal experience. Know about how their journey, device type, persona and take actions. From cart abandonment to shopping preferences, the more you measure and analyze, the better answers you can get to your questions.Which UI drives more conversions?What features are being used?When are the notifications most effective?
A/B Testing: Testing your experiments on a small group of your users is a proven way to gather real feedback and take informed decisions. The better you get at designing these test cases, the better the results. Optimize for the best user experience.
- Performance Analytics
Get real-time data on your app’s performance and bugs or crashes that are spoiling the experience. Know what is slowing down the app, network performance, touch responses, etc., to iron out the issues.
- Business Metrics
Know about the number of active users, app downloads, in-app purchases, engagement levels, conversion funnels and more to make informed decisions.
If you get the analytics right you have a serious competitive edge in this data driven app ecosystem.
This article was all about building the best ecommerce mobile app experience, which may sound too far fetched but surely isn’t. If you adopt the right app development technology, create a wonderful UI and UX, build some standout features and iterate fast and smartly with dedicated app analytics, you have surely got a winner.
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny. ~ Aristotle”
Nitin Lahoti is the Co-Founder and Director at Mobisoft Infotech. He has 10+ years of experience in Design, Business Development and Startups. His expertise is in Product Ideation, UX/UI design, Startup consulting and mentoring. He prefers business readings and loves traveling. Follow him @nitinlahoti