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

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3 Minute Read
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March 25, 2020
eCommerce & Retail Technology

Most apps work best when connected to Wi-Fi 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 essential for shopping apps. When an app holds an extensive catalogue of products, poor connection to the internet can make things super slow, leading to frustrated customers who might not return. 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 genuine 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 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 will lead to more happy customers. Where and when do your customers usually 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 to work will load far more quickly than an app reliant on Wi-Fi or mobile connection. The data transfer between the app and a server when an online app is loading can be affected by several issues. However, an offline app will not be affected by slow loading when connectivity is poor.

Customer loyalty and retention

If users know they can browse your app when there is on Wi-Fi access or mobile data, they are 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 this will be a massive 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 an exciting move for retailers and eCommerce businesses. It’s a brilliant way 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.

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