Today’s world is truly going mobile-first, with more than half of all web traffic (50.81 percent) now coming from mobile devices. And when it comes to activities we like to do on our devices, shopping is making its way up the list.
Typically, mobile devices, such as smartphones, have been used for research rather than purchase. However, now more than half of all internet users buy products on their mobile phones, with two-thirds doing so through shopping apps – a trend that continues to grow.
According to recent figures, global mobile commerce app revenue is set to reach US$3.56 billion by 2021. COVID-19, which caused the shutdown of physical stores, has played a big role in the acceleration of online shopping, but other longer-standing factors have also contributed.
Largely, it is connected to how people are using the internet – they are increasingly turning to smartphones for convenience. Consumers, in particular millennials , are becoming more comfortable using mobile devices and apps to complete transactions.
Why Consumers Love Shopping Apps
Shopping apps offer multiple benefits for consumers. The biggest is that they are faster and easier to navigate than websites. In fact, research has suggested that people view 4.2 times more products per session in apps compared to mobile sites. Mobile apps also have 3 times higher conversion rates than mobile sites – great news for brands.
App commerce allows for more personalized content – a big tick for the customer experience. Apps also deliver instant on and offline access, making browsing and shopping possible almost everywhere consumers go.
For brands, another bonus is that shopping apps have the highest retention rates among all app categories. A recent report shows that it takes a full week for retention rates to drop to 14 percent.
The benefits of mobile apps and the increasing sea change in attitudes towards shopping apps have lowered acquisition costs, increased engagement, and made conversion rates more promising. Because of this, brands are investing more in apps. According to McKinsey, about 45 to 50 percent of retailers planned to prioritize a mobile app or point-of-sale experience in 2020.
This investment in apps is essential as consumers become increasingly demanding, but what can brands do to cash in on the app commerce trend and stay ahead?
How to Maximize Your App Commerce Efforts
Acquisition is crucial to maximizing your app commerce efforts. Without downloads, conversions aren’t possible. Equally as important is retention. By keeping your app users happy and engaged, you can drive more conversions and sales – something data and technology can help you do more effectively.
1. Identify and target high-value app users
According to Statista, the average install-to-purchase rate for shopping apps was 14.7 percent as of April 2020, while for brand commerce apps, the rate was 13.6 percent. To lift these figures, brands are increasingly using data and deep learning tools to identify the traits and behavior of high-value app users.
Looking at how consumers behave outside of your app based on third-party data, deep learning can help you segment and rank them according to the likelihood to convert. It can also help you identify topics and products people have shown an interest in, pinpointing high-value keywords, which you can use to target potential app users via search and social ads .
2. Deliver hyper-personalized content
While shopping apps have the highest retention rate compared to apps in other categories, churn remains an issue, with many shoppers disappearing after download. One effective way to increase app stickiness is by delivering personalized, meaningful content to increase engagement.
By looking at how customers interact with your app using machine learning, you can better understand their behavior and preferences, and then tailor your content accordingly, such as product recommendations, tips, videos and app-specific rewards.
3. Seize the moment, and the channel
Not only is it important to target the right users and to engage them with personalized content, when and where you engage them is also critical.
What channels are your users most active on, and respond best to? What is the best time to reach out? You can leverage artificial intelligence-powered marketing automation tools to better understand user behavior and intent, in order to send out automated, timely marketing messages through their preferred channels, such as in-app messages, push notifications, emails or SMS.
4. Entice hesitant users with intelligent promotions
Shoppers love promotions. By hitting the right customers with the right app-only promotion, you can push people to purchase.
Using advanced machine learning can help you analyze users’ in-app behavior, such as how they tap and swipe, to accurately assess their purchase intent, and identify hesitant, coupon-responsive customers for effective targeting. You can then use predictive A/B testing to define the most appropriate promotion to maximize your efforts.
5. Use deep links to streamline customer experiences
Running campaigns to drive users back to your app is a great way to increase engagement and conversions. However, if the journey from the ad to the app isn’t smooth and simple, you can lose customers with a high potential to convert.
Mobile app deep linking is a great way to avoid this. By directing a user who clicks your ad or email campaign to your app and opening up the exact page that the user was viewing, deep link technology can make the user experience more seamless and boost app conversions.
6. Improve the UX of your e-commerce app
With consumers looking for ease and simplicity in m-commerce, it is important to make sure the user experience (UX) of your shopping app is spot on.
How do customers use your app? What do they like? What features would make the experience smoother? Don’t rely on guesswork. Ask customers for feedback on your app with short questionnaires so you can tap into their mindset, build empathy, and create an easy-to-use, intuitive app they want to continue using.
With app commerce on the rise, staying ahead of the game is crucial to growing sustainable market share. Using data, technology, and smart tactics, you can bring consumers to your app, boost app engagement, and make your shopping app more profitable.
* Looking to boost your app engagement and m-commerce efforts? Download our white paper ‘ From Download to Favorite: How to Engage Users Across the App Life Cycle ’ to learn how to make your app a favorite! Have a question? Contact our team today to schedule an exclusive consultation.