Offline-first apps: Why Your eCommerce App Should Work Offline

Offline-first apps: Why Your eCommerce App Should Work Offline

3 MIN READ

Most apps work best when connected to wifi or a strong mobile data connection. However, there are loads of times when your customers will be suffering the frustration of poor connectivity. Whether that’s because they’re commuting to and from work, travellers who don’t fancy using up their roaming data on browsing, or maybe they’re just in the middle of nowhere and can’t get a decent signal. We’ve all been there! Don’t leave these customers behind, make sure you’re appealing to all your app users by creating an app that works offline. 

It is especially important for shopping apps. When an app holds a large catalogue of products, poor connection to the internet can make things super slow, leading to frustrated customers who might not return again. Offline-first app development ensures your eCommerce app works offline, providing a much more reliable and seamless customer experience. 

By not having an app that works offline, you run the very real risk of creating poor user experiences. There is a lot of competition out there, and one bad experience for a shopper can mean there is little chance of them returning to buy from you in the future. Building an app that your users can access while offline is a must for any eCommerce business and we’re going to talk through why this is.

User experience 

An app that is accessible and works offline is going to give a much better customer experience than one that doesn’t. Not being able to connect to the internet, or use an app is really frustrating – I’m sure we’ve all been there. Being able to log on and use your shopping app when not near a good connection is going to lead to more happy customers. Where and when do your customers normally use your app? Knowing this will help you see just how important it is that your eCommerce app should work offline, leading to greater customer loyalty and retention. 

Faster loading times 

An app that doesn’t need to connect to the internet in order to work will load far more quickly than an app reliant on wifi or mobile connection. The data transfer taking place between the app and a server when an online app is loading can be affected by a number of issues. However, an offline app will not be affected by slow loading when connectivity is poor.

Customer loyalty and retention 

Simply put, if a user knows they can browse your app when they know they can’t access wifi or mobile data, they’re far more likely to remain loyal and purchase from you. It’s something that most shoppers will appreciate as there are times when we’re all not in the right situation to connect and be online whether that is from travel, connection issues, commuting or anything else. With an offline app, users will get the same shopping experience, but with the ability to save products to their baskets to purchase when they’re back online.

Stand out from the competition 

Retail and eCommerce are very competitive industries. Customers have a myriad of choices of where to shop these days so you need to impress them at every opportunity possible. If your competitors don’t have offline apps, and you do, then chances are this will be a huge benefit for a large proportion of potential customers.

Supports omnichannel 

An offline app is also a great addition to supporting your omnichannel strategy. If you run a loyalty scheme or in-store promotions for members through your apps, such as point collection or redeeming eVouchers but they can’t get on the app in your store to redeem them, it doesn’t give the best experience or impression. By having an app that works offline, your customers can access their eVouchers or memberships when checking out in your store regardless of connection.

Are you ready for an eCommerce app? 

Venturing into app commerce is a really exciting move for retailers and eCommerce businesses. It’s a brilliant way for you to grow your business while offering super-fast, convenient, and intuitive shopping experiences for your customers.  

 

Find out about how a new eCommerce app can benefit your business here.

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
25th March 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

Report: The Importance Of Mobile Experience In eCommerce

Report: The Importance Of Mobile Experience In eCommerce

15 MIN READ

Introduction

We recently set out to look at what retailers and eCommerce professionals think of mobile eCommerce. We’ve found a very varied landscape, where the businesses adapting to the popularity of mCommerce are reaping the rewards, whereas those who haven’t yet invested in this area are inevitably missing out on a growing segment of the customer base. The following report is a deeper look into the state of mobile commerce, the importance of mobile experience in eCommerce and how retailers can take the next steps and make the most of the exciting opportunities that mobile commerce is presenting. Hopefully, this report will be a useful tool for retailers wanting to improve their mobile offering and start giving their customers the best mobile experience possible.

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
3rd March 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

16 Must-Have eCommerce App Features

16 Must-Have eCommerce App Features

7 MIN READ

More and more retailers are seeing the benefits of improving their mobile offering, whether that is through taking the initial steps of getting a mobile-responsive site or diving into the exciting world of app commerce. The impact of mobile shoppers habits’ are having on retail is undeniable. Retailers and eCommerce businesses who are keeping up with this trend are set to reap the rewards as mobile commerce grows. Improving your offering relies on implementing the best eCommerce app features. 

The number of people shopping on apps is growing. A report from last year found that people spent a huge 18 billion hours on eCommerce apps. That’s a lot of time for retailers to be focusing on targeting with an app of their own. 

 

Let’s take a look at 16 must-have eCommerce app features we’ve put together for you…

1. Easy sign-up process 

No one enjoys a lengthy sign-up process, especially on mobile. Too many fields to fill out make for a fiddly task. When dealing with app sign-ups, you need to make this process as easy to complete as possible for your users. If they already hold an account with you, app registration should be a simple login. If not, make this super easy with a variety of sign up ways like social media accounts, email addresses or one-time passcodes. Your app should then save their information for future visits and ensure a seamless return for shoppers.

2. Super-fast checkout 

Shopping on mobile is all about convenience and you should optimise your checkout process to accommodate quick and easy transactions for your app users. Apps integrate well with Apple Pay and Google Pay, biometric payments and 1-click checkouts,  including securely saving card details to their accounts, so you can create a really efficient checkout process for your customers.

3. Sending push notifications 

Alert your customers to new products, let them know when wanted items are back in stock, host flash sales and personalised marketing campaigns amongst many other things with push notifications. These simple, but really effective nudges are a great way for your brand to communicate with your customers in a more direct way than email marketing. Ask customers if they’re happy to be kept up to date with these at registration, they’ll be more likely to accept without the need to input an email address here, too.

4. Offline functionality 

Offline availability for eCommerce apps is an effective way to boost customer experience and increase sales. Great for people who may not always have access to the internet, like commuters who may want to browse on the way home but suffer signal interruptions. Even if they’re unable to actively purchase while offline, it’s easy to save items for later and return to buy them in just a few short steps.

5. Allow reviews of your app 

Track feedback with customer reviews of your app’s performance. This will help you make improvements and track user experience. Not just this, but reviews are a fantastic marketing tool. You already know how great they are for your product, but they’re also important for your app. Great reviews will ultimately encourage more downloads.

7. Customer wishlists 

Wishlists are an essential element and an incredibly popular feature of eCommerce websites. They allow users to save items for later while browsing and compare items before buying. A wishlist also compliments offline functionality perfectly so users can bookmark items for purchasing later when they have internet access.

8. Effortless log in 

As well as a super easy login, returning users should be able to log in effortlessly. Options like social media platform login should be offered, as well as a simple process to reset or retrieve passwords and usernames they may have forgotten. 

9. A selection of payment options 

The eCommerce payments ecosystem is an incredibly diverse place right now and people are favouring different payment methods. It’s no longer good enough to just offer credit and debit card payment options. With app and mobile especially, digital payments are key – Apple Pay and Google Pay, PayPal all make for quick and convenient payment experiences for mobile users. Be sure to use a payment provider that can support multiple currencies and international payments.

10. In-store features 

Mobile has been shown to support the in-store experience, so your app should work to facilitate this and give those shoppers a unique and excellent customer experience. Think about implementing things like barcode search, as mentioned above, that can assist in-store shoppers by simply scanning a product to find out more about the product. 

Other in-store features for your eCommerce app can include the ability to check stock in local stores, or sending push notifications when users get within a certain range of your store so you can target them with local and personalised offers.

11. Detailed product information 

You might think that long product descriptions on mobile aren’t particularly conducive to a small screen, but on the contrary, a small screen is exactly why you need more detailed product descriptions. On a mobile screen, the view of the product can suffer, so providing more detail will help give customers a more informed view of the item before purchasing. This will help reduce returns and potentially unhappy customers. 

You should also be sure to provide as many images of the products on these pages as possible. Think about different angles, 360-degree photos and video.

12. Able to review orders 

Just like on your website, you should enable customers to access and leave reviews for products on your app too. Customer reviews are a driving force for eCommerce and benefit you in terms of providing more information about products, too. 

13. Managing orders and returns 

The main goal for an eCommerce app is to make the customer experience as seamless and efficient as possible. Being able to manage their order through the app with things like delivery and returns tracking, the customer will feel more in control and engaged with the buying process.  If a customer needs to return an item to you, having returns tracking on your app will help this process go much smoother. This also helps reduce customer support issues in this area.

14. Personalised user experience 

Retailers and eCommerce businesses everywhere are competing to offer enhanced personalisation right now. Apps are a great way to do this as you can use things like user data, account settings and their device features to craft personalised marketing campaigns and product recommendations. With an app, your customers can access their recommended products with just a quick tap – leading to more conversions.

15. Loyalty and membership options 

Once a customer has downloaded your app, there is a good chance, they’ll now be a repeat customer due to the convenience of the app being on their phone. But, you can foster this relationship even more by offering personalised loyalty and membership rewards for your app users. This will entice new users and keep those you already have shopping with you in the future.

16. Customer service support 

There’s nothing quite as frustrating for shoppers if you’re hard to reach and they need help with something. Whether that is a pre-purchase query, an order update or even a complaint. Many apps are now using in-app chat for customer service support, which is a really quick and easy way to engage with customers. If that’s not on your radar, make phone numbers and email contact forms really easy to access should your customers need that extra bit of support when buying from you.

Final thoughts 

When it comes to choosing which features you’d like your new eCommerce app to have, make sure they align with your business goals. Reflect on what it is you want to achieve with your app, and how these features can support achieving those goals. You may even want to consider prioritising them and rolling out in different phases of development. Remember – it’s not always about having the latest and flashiest tech, but what’s best for your customers. 

 

If you’re thinking of an app to complement your eCommerce offering, and you want to grow your business, we’d love to help with your app project

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
18th February 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

10 Brilliant Push Notification Ideas For Your eCommerce App

10 Brilliant Push Notification Ideas For Your eCommerce App

3 MIN READ

If you’re venturing into the exciting world of app commerce, you’re going to want to be clued up on push notifications and how to efficiently use them as a part of your eCommerce strategy. They’re a great way to support marketing campaigns and the customer journey with your business. An eMarketer report has found that eCommerce apps using push notifications to boost opens saw 278% more app launches than those not using this method. So let’s take a look at some push notification ideas you can implement for your eCommerce app. 

What is a push notification? 

Push notifications are short messages that can be sent on mobile devices to users who have your app. They can be sent regardless of whether the user has the app open and are a really effective way of communicating with your customers.

App permissions 

When a customer signs up to your app, make sure you ask if they’re happy to receive updates in order to activate push notifications. The chances are, they’ll be more obliging to receive notifications like this rather than putting their email address in – it’s a really simple opt-in or opt-out setting they can control at any time.

Push notification ideas you can implement

 

  • Stock alerts: Enable your customers to sign up for stock alerts on items that are temporarily out of stock. This is also a good idea to implement for items that are kept on your customer’s wishlists. 

 

  • Instore/near store location: Alert your app users to special offers when they are near your stores using location settings on their device. This is a great way to drive foot traffic if you operate a store as well as an eCommerce presence.  

 

  • Order and delivery updates: People like to be kept up to date when it comes to what is happening with their order. Use push notifications to let them know how the order is being processed when it is with couriers, and out for delivery. 

 

  • Flash sales: Create a sense of urgency to drive traffic to your app with a flash sale, or limited time offer. Let your app users know this is happening with a push notification. Customers are more likely to get this notification in time to access a flash sale and make the most of the offer rather than via an email marketing campaign as not everyone checks their email as regularly as their phone. 

 

  • Personalised offers: Use push notifications to notify your app users of special personalised offers unique to them. Make them feel super special with promotions like money off for their birthday or sign-up anniversary offers. 

 

  • New lines and products added: Let your customers know when you have new lines or products going live. The exclusivity of checking out something new is bound to drive app opens. 

 

  • Abandoned cart reminders: You should see a lower abandonment rate for your shopping carts on an app than desktop thanks to a more seamless experience. For those who don’t check out, they can easily be promoted with a friendly push notification reminder. 

 

  • Price drop alerts: Prompt users to purchase by keeping them in the know when it comes to price fluctuations. Send them an alert when items on their wishlist items or recently viewed items are reduced.  

 

  • Reminders for inactive users: Sometimes, your customers may just need a little nudge. If you’ve not had a visit from a user for a while, you can look to sending a push notification with a reminder and offer code to entice them back. 

 

  • Weather-based offers: The weather, especially here in the UK is extremely unpredictable. The crazy weather we have is always a hot topic so take full advantage of big weather events to boost sales of seasonal products. 

Hopefully, these push notification ideas are a great starting point for you wanting to make the most of them for your eCommerce app! Can you think of any more ways to use them? Let us know in the comments below! 

If you’re looking to grow your eCommerce business with a brilliant new app, we can help. 

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
13th February 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

Ecommerce Apps: 8 Reasons Your Business Needs One

Ecommerce Apps: 8 Reasons Your Business Needs One

4 MIN READ

Increasing numbers of people are shopping on their mobile phones. According to BrizFeel, 49% of consumers use mobile to shop. The popularity of shopping on eCommerce apps is, in turn, rising as people seek convenience and seamless experiences.

People are spending more time in general on their phones than ever before. A report from 2019 finds that in 2018, the total sessions in shopping apps alone amounts to 18 billion hours – that’s a lot of screen time that clever eCommerce businesses can cash in on. 

However, you may be thinking an app isn’t right for you. So, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons and benefits why more retailers are considering eCommerce apps for their business.

eCommerce app usage is on the rise 

Apps are increasingly popular with shoppers, with 78% of people responding to a survey stating that they prefer using an app to a mobile website. More people are downloading and using apps than ever before, with predictions expecting downloads will reach as many as 258 billion in 2020. With increasing amounts of app users and advances in technology, businesses using apps are seeing increased revenues. This shows that it’s a great time to invest in an app for your eCommerce business.

Ecommerce apps can use device features 

With an eCommerce app, you can use phone features to enhance the customer experience and in turn, boost loyalty and sales through more personalised experiences. Consider things like: 

  • GPS: Using location, let your app users know about exclusive offers when they are near your store. You can use location to set the nearest click and collect, or locker locations when at the checkout. 

 

  • Push notifications: These will help you keep in regular contact with your users. Use these notifications for stock alerts, marketing messages, and delivery updates. 

 

  • Camera: Camera access means your app can let customers search using images. You could even implement augmented reality features. AR is great for trying on items, or seeing how larger items will look and fit in the home before buying.

 

  • Microphone: With the rise in voice search and natural language processing abilities, using the microphone can help customers search your app using voice commands. This is also great for accessibility.

Increase customer loyalty with an eCommerce app 

Customers are more likely to keep coming back to you for goods after downloading your app. Accessing an app on their phone is much more convenient than having to log in using a mobile browser. Consider rewarding loyalty with personalised offers for app users and incentives to purchase.

Apps keep your brand visible 

Consider how many times a day you check your phone. Probably too many to count! The average person “will click, tap or swipe their phone 2617 times a day”, according to information from SlickText. Having a native, branded app on your customer’s phone increases brand visibility. The more a customer sees your brand, even if it is just your logo, enforces brand trust and loyalty. This connection keeps you in mind when they are looking to shop again.

Super-fast app checkouts 

There’s nothing more frustrating for shoppers than a bad checkout process. It can result in distrust in your brand and cause cart abandonment. Apps are a great way for maximising on a great checkout process for your customers. Apps integrate easily with Apple Pay and Google Pay, using biometric payments or 1-click checkouts. Offering payment options like these is in keeping with consumer preferences for mobile payments. 

Social media and eCommerce apps 

Integrating social media with your app is extremely beneficial for eCommerce companies. Easier social media sharing increases brand awareness and attracts new customers, with no direct spend involved in social media advertising. It’s all organic. Users can share their own curated wishlists, recommend products and share buying updates on their social media platforms through the app. 

You can also implement social media logins for your app users. This saves the time and hassle of setting up usernames and passwords – not to mention the effort of remembering yet another password! Signing in with social media simplifies the experience so users can get on with their shopping quickly and easily.

Apps offer a better user experience 

Users don’t need to log in with every visit, which means it’s a lot easier to manage orders, returns and deliveries on one simple app. This helps with the decision-making process, removing barriers in the journey to purchase.

Final thoughts 

As mobile use and mCommerce continue to rise, it’s no longer enough to simply have a mobile responsive site. Consumers want the convenience and ease of an app when shopping online. 

If you’re wanting to strengthen your eCommerce offering, give users a unique experience, and increase sales, then an eCommerce app is for you. 

Find out what Venditan apps can do for your business.

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
29th January 2020

Connect on LinkedIn