Mobile has now become a household name. In just a few years, having a mobile website has gone from a novelty to a must have. Nearly 80% of new websites are now built on a “responsive” platform, meaning that the site can respond to any screen size, most importantly mobile devices.
Online Stores have known the importance of mobile for a while. E-Commerce giants like Amazon and Best Buy have re-aligned their marketing strategies that are heavily based on mobile with the creation of mobile apps for devices. Amazon created the “one click” checkout option that made buying on mobile phones easy; some even prefer it over the regular desktop website. Best Buy began offering deals solely available on their mobile applications, giving users an incentive to carry Best Buy in their smartphones. As these E-Commerce giants paved the way, small businesses online only hoped that one day such an option would be available for their own stores. That time is now.
Mobile Application development has never been easier and more affordable. With the growth of the Android Platform and popularity of Apple iOS, both platforms have adapted more web friendly application code, which has allowed web developers to also code for mobile. Since 2006, mobile app development costs have dropped nearly 40% due to the growth and rapid popularity of Mobile.
But, as many online stores looking to develop an app ask- do you really need it? Aren’t you doing enough by simply having a mobile responsive website? The answer is a confident NO. And here is why.
1. A Mobile App is always on
Think about it. Google Maps. Facebook. Foursquare. All these apps are usually always on when you are using your phone. Google Maps tracks you via GPS. Facebook sends you messages and alerts you as they come in. For your online store, you have un-interrupted access to your customers when you need to give them alerts. Have a special sale coming up? Send them a notification! Is their order ready to ship? Send them their tracking order directly. Being always available to your customers with their smart phones is more effective than Email, Social Media, and Website Messages COMBINED.
2. Your store is always OPEN
Imagine the ease of your customers when, instead of walking over to their laptop and coming across your email (remember that only 5-10% of emails get read on average), they simply open your store application and see what is new. This is the instant access that will seperate you from your competition. The mobile application does not have to be a MOBILE STORE, it can simply be a gateway to your current mobile site. The advantage is in the perks of an online app- location tracking, easy login, more personal preferences, and ease of communication.
Again, you do not need to develop a whole new shopping experience- unless you want to. Both linking to your online store or creating a shopping experience work. The latter takes advantage more of the advantages of an online mobile app shopping experience- better images, easier checkout, custom shopping process experience, and more importantly, instant tracking data when, where, and how users buy your products in real time.
The time to get mobile is now. So get in your customers pockets!