COVID -19 undoubtedly changed the global landscape in myriad ways. As well as our behavior in general, it reshaped how we shop. Driven by lockdowns, the pandemic has ushered in a new era of eCommerce.
In the US during 2020, consumers turned to eCommerce at an unprecedented rate – online sales ballooned by 44%. And this year, 2021, in the world’s most advanced eCommerce market, China, online retail is on target to account for over 50% of all retail sales. Global eCommerce sales have grown exponentially and are predicted to increase by almost $2 trillion between 2021 and 2023.
This is exciting news for eCommerce businesses, but it comes with a caveat. Although many new enterprises have secured startup funding, consumer behavior can still negatively impact businesses. Increased consumer spending is going hand-in-hand with a surge in cart abandonment and customer dissatisfaction with online shopping experiences.
One of the reasons for this is that consumers are increasingly shopping on their mobile devices, but many retailers have not developed mobile apps to provide a seamless customer experience (CX). Instead, they rely on websites to sell their products, which are clunky and not user-friendly when accessed on smartphones.
Here are six tips to improve CX by using mobile apps and, ultimately, to increase your sales and profit margin.
1. Create a friendly app
There are two types of apps: the ones we need and the ones we like. WhatsApp and Facebook are an example of the former – essential tools that help their customers engage and do something valuable.
eCommerce businesses, however, are rapidly building free mobile apps to attract new customers, but they will not be able to offer customers the same experiences as these social media behemoths. Our phones might be able to store hundreds of apps, but we only have time in the day to use a few. This doesn’t mean your business can’t offer your customer something valuable.
If you have a sports clothing brand, for example, only selling clothes through your app isn’t likely to get customers reaching for their phones daily. However, if you build a mobile app that includes weather alerts, customers are more likely to use your app as a tool – and check your products at the same time. By giving them something useful, you’re driving traffic to your app.
When you drive traffic to your app, customers will purchase your products. Your app can also save their details and preferences using intelligent systems such as interactive voice response (IVR) so your business doesn’t have to keep making requests every time the customer logs in. In building your app, it’s also highly recommended to ensure that it is functional across the board using mobile app localization testing.
2. Make an app that is easy to share
You have developed a great mobile app and carried out crowdtesting to make sure your customers love it. So, what’s next? Increased sales will only come with a strengthened customer base – people need to share your app.
Offering your app for free is the first and easiest way of securing increased downloads. Your business can entice customers by giving them something for nothing. You then have the chance to showcase your excellent products and encourage them to make purchases.
Existing customers could also be coaxed into promoting the app through redeemable points for every friend they recommend.
You can drive more downloads by advertising your app on your website or SaaS landing page, asking customers to download it for a better and more seamless experience. You could also maximize reach through SEO and social media. Make it even easier by providing a QR code so they don’t even have to go to the Google Play/App Store.
The quicker the experience, the more likely your app is to end up on their phone. Many companies have doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled their daily download rate by implementing this strategy.
3. Enable multiple payment methods
Cart abandonment is most likely to happen at checkout, when customers get frustrated they can’t pay the way they want to. So give them options! Some might want to use their credit card, debit card, or pay with cash upon delivery, but others might wish to use alternative payment methods like Apple Pay or PayPal.
The key is making the process as quick as possible with as few steps as possible. Catering to every customer’s needs by giving them options will make the checkout process easier and lead to increased and more frequent purchases.
Your business needs to spend time and effort researching customer’s preferences, trends, and new habits. You must keep abreast of new payment methods. For example, payment with cryptocurrency is becoming ever more popular, and not offering it as a payment method is a sure-fire way of losing potential customers.
4. Use app analytics to continuously improve your app
Constant improvement is at the heart of all successful businesses. The formula today is not necessarily going to work tomorrow. To ensure your app is operating as well as it should be, make sure to use outsourced software testing regularly.
Similar to the enterprise search engine optimization you use for your website, for your app to provide helpful insights, your business should harness the power of an application performance management tool, which will allow you to check app usage and track important metrics on the app.
5. Use newsletters to keep your customers informed
Keep in contact with your customers. Ignore them, and they will forget you. Using your mobile app to send customers updates and newsletters shows your business is thinking about them.
Open up communication channels and encourage customers to interact with you via social media, email, phone, or a chat system built into the app. The more communication you have with customers, the better.
However, you don’t want to be seen as aggressively bombarding customers. The key is regular content sharing, but not too often. Timeframes depend on your business. Newsletters from cell phone providers should be sent more sparingly than Uber Eats onboarding of customers, for example.
Also, take customers’ busy lives into consideration. You should not use your newsletter to inform them about everything you do. Presenting the customer with key takeaways is the best strategy.
Take the opportunity to be consistent with your branding; make sure your newsletters are visually similar and reinforce your brand identity. Don’t confuse customers by sending them a visually different newsletter each month as your message will be off-key. Customers want to instantly recognize you and see your best offers, bestsellers, and discounts.
6. Use (good) push notifications
Push notifications are a tried-and-tested way of increasing customer spending on your mobile app but use them incorrectly at your peril. You will lose customers! Make sure to find out about tricks, such as what is automation testing, to make sure your notifications work correctly and have the desired outcome.
How often your company sends push notifications and the type of notifications depend on your industry. They could be used to offer customers news of a flash sale or discount day to channel customers at a particular time.
They could also be used to ensure long-term brand recognition. JetBlue, for example, sends customers push notifications to remind customers to check-in, as well as flight schedule updates.
While this is unlikely to immediately make customers book another flight with JetBlue, they have been offered a useful and helpful service, which has improved the flying experience. In turn, passengers are more likely to think positively about the brand and consider it the next time they need to book a flight.
But remember, you can only send customers push notifications if they have downloaded your mobile application.
A successful business means customers buying more of what your business is offering. The huge shift toward eCommerce has presented challenges as well as opportunities. Make sure you make it easy for customers to keep informed, shop, and pay your business through a mobile app that provides them with a seamless experience and you with the chance of increasing sales.