Nobody can ignore the importance of mobile platform, especially e commerce businesses who are witnessing an influx in customer visits to their site from a mobile platform. As per a study done in 2015, 85% consumers prefer mobile apps over websites and 41% smartphone owners had made at least one purchase from their smartphone. Further, the worldwide market share of mobile commerce is expected to touch 70% by 2017 and by 2020 it is expected that the revenue generated by mobile commerce will be around $ 284 billion.
However, that does not mean that the web platform can be entirely neglected in favour of the mobile platform, or having a web application will mean that you will tap a greater market share. As much as people prefer the mobile platform for ecommerce shopping, studies have also shown that of the 8.52% desktop users that add to cart, 2.78% make an actual purchase. On the other hand, on mobile platform the add to cart rate is 4.7% and conversion rate is 80%.
1. Responsive, mobile or both?
It has become imperative for all websites and web applications to be responsive or adaptive as they can be accessed from a desktop, tablet or smartphone, and business owners have to work with this assumption while embarking on going live with their solution. Also, Google marks down the page ranking of web solutions that are not adaptive to the varying screen size. The user experience and interface presentation varies for desktop and mobile platforms. Hence, the treatment of the web solution will vary based on the device it is likely to be accessed on. If half of the daily traffic to the website is accessing it from a mobile device, then the business is likely to lose a large chunk of customers. A Google survey of smartphone users in the USA revealed that over 65% preferred using a mobile website over mobile application for online shopping. Also, conversions have improved significantly for leading ecommerce businesses since adopting responsive websites since it offer better customer experience. Also, 40% web users abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Responsiveness trims the web interface to ensure that the website is not heavy and loads quickly.
2. Need for a mobile application
Established ecommerce businesses have a mobile application handy along with a responsive website for their business. Quite a few businesses have tried adopting mobile application alone instead of launching a website. Based on the type of product or service being offered, very few have succeeded, though even they did at the cost of losing a greater market share. As per a study by VisionMobile, over 55% mobile apps earn less than $500/ month. Another Gartner report suggests that 25% app users use it only once and about 80-90% of apps are eventually deleted.
Despite these demotivating figures, a mobile application makes sense and is even preferred in many scenarios by online shoppers because it is convenient, fast and easier to browse. Also, it is easier to push personalised notifications on new offers and the customer can also respond faster.
3. More on Mobile Technology and its advantage over website
On a mobile app, the user is always logged in, so shopping cart can be accessed faster and it is more secure to save credit card details. Further, in case of using net banking and other modes of payment where one time passwords are required, these get auto-filled, speeding the payment process. Device technologies also make a lot of difference in enhancing the shopping experience for the users. Some instances,
- Mobile camera – the front mobile camera can be used by the buyer to load their image and check the outfit or accessory on themselves. The camera can also be used as a barcode scanner for making payments or finding products online
- iBeacon – iBeacon sends real-time alerts to app user when they pass the shop and inform them of any new offer or which aisle they can find some specific product on.
- iNFC – NFC can be used to make one-tap payment
- GPS – the GPS and map can be used to locate stores, centres and even track real-time location of the package to be delivered.
4. Mobile and web strategy
Whether the business launches a mobile application immediately or not, it is essential to have a fully functioning mobile strategy. Whether it is a responsive design or mobile application, there must be a clarity in goals while designing the solution so that the user experience is enriched by the shopping experience.
A new business can opt for web development services in India or any of the leading web service providing countries in favour of mobile app development solutions in the initial days of their ecommerce solution launch. A responsive website or web application will be meaningful investment for the long term and will also give the customer a sense of permanency about the business. Extending the service with a mobile application thereafter will ensure greater number of downloads and establish brand loyalty, which is a fickle currency in times of such tough competition.