By Neil Patel
Launching a mobile app is a great way to increase sales for your business.
If you already have a live app available for download, you’re headed in the right direction. That’s because your customers are active on mobile devices.
It’s more convenient for them to shop from their phones and tablets because they use these devices on a regular basis.
Yes, you still need to have a web design optimized for mobile users. But that alone won’t be enough.
Having a mobile app will definitely help you maximize your potential revenue.
In the last six months, 62% of smartphone users have used their devices to make purchases. It’s clear people are willing to shop from their phones.
But just having an app doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be successful.
There are certain features that successful mobile commerce apps have in common. If you have an app, you need to implement these features if you want to share a similar success.
If you are building an app, make sure you include these features so your app is in great shape to perform well when it finally launches.
I’ve narrowed down the top 10 features of successful mobile commerce apps.
All the best apps offer personalization to the user. That’s because personalization has many benefits.
Take this information into consideration. These are some of the top challenges faced by marketing professionals:
As you can see, coming up with tactics to reach customers in a meaningful way ranked first on the list of responses. But personalization can solve that problem. Here’s how.
When a new user downloads your app, they create a profile. Make this process as easy as possible for them by integrating it with their social media profiles.
Now they can set up the account with just a few clicks instead of creating a new username and password and filling in all other information. But once the account is created, regardless of how you do it, you’ll be able to get valuable information about the user.
You’ll discover things such as their gender, age, and location. Now you can modify their homepage and mobile experience to match this information.
For example, let’s say your mobile commerce app sells clothing. You don’t want winter coats to appear on the homepage of someone who lives in Southern California.
You’ll also track information when the customer shops. You can make additional suggestions based on their browsing history and previous purchases.
This will enhance the user experience and increase the chances of them buying from you in the future. It is also a great opportunity for you to upsell and cross-sell your products.
2. Eliminate bugs and errors
If your mobile app wasn’t developed properly, it’s going to have lots of glitches, crashes, and error reports.
This will frustrate a user. Don’t think that’s a big deal? Think again.
Just look at how significant app performance is to your customers—84% of customers agree it’s important:
But what happens when your app doesn’t perform well? Very bad things.
In fact, 48% of mobile users are less likely to use an app if it doesn’t perform well. An additional 34% of people say they’ll use a competitor’s app after a negative experience.
This is obviously bad news for your mobile commerce strategy.
You can’t afford to lose any customers, especially not to your competition. You’ve invested too much time and money into this venture. You’ve got to make sure you prioritize performance.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody’s app is perfect. But you should always be trying to make improvements.
Use beta testers before a launch to help you identify and work out any bugs. Get notifications when something crashes so you can get it fixed as soon as possible.
Come out with new updates on a regular basis. All of this will improve the user experience and make it easier for them to buy.
3. Retail integration
If you have a mobile app in addition to a physical store, have them compliment each other.
Your customers are already using their phones when they shop at your store. Here’s a look at what they’re doing with these devices:
Embrace it. Make this experience even better for your customers.
Start off by offering free Wi-Fi in your stores so that they can easily connect their devices and access the app when they walk in, without using their data plans.
When someone browses for items from within the app, they may be interested in buying a product. But for one reason or another, they may want to check out the item in person.
Have a feature that allows them to save the item to a “want” or “favorite” list. Then, they can check the inventory at local stores to see if it’s available.
When they get to the store, your app should tell them exactly which aisle the product is in to make it even easier for the customer. This will increase the chances that they’ll buy it.
You can have the reverse feature as well. If someone sees something in your store but wants to think about it before buying, they can scan the barcode through the app and add the product to their “want” list. Then, they can purchase it later.
Integrating your app with retail locations also gives more people a reason to download your app in the first place.
It will encourage downloads from customers when they enter your store. More downloads will usually translate to more money for your business.
4. Flash sales and discounts
You want to give people a reason to buy.
What do customers love more than anything? Getting a good deal.
Send them a discount from your mobile app. This could also be part of your strategy to get downloads in the first place.
Check out this example from the Jabong shopping app:
They are offering new users a 20% discount if they make a purchase from within the app.
Once the app is downloaded, you can offer additional exclusive deals not found online.
Have a section designated for items on sale. Run seasonal discounts and build hype for holiday promotions as well.
You can also run flash sales by sending push notifications to app users, but we’ll talk about that concept in greater detail later.
5. Detailed product descriptions
Just like with your ecommerce site, you need to have detailed descriptions of all the products on your mobile commerce app.
However, these descriptions will have a slight variation on your app.
That’s because when you’re viewing items on a mobile device, there is much less room on the screen. You’ll need to have detailed but concise product descriptions.
Cut out any unnecessary words and use bullet points. This makes your descriptions easy to read and scan.
Clearly explain what the product does, without adding unneeded information. Start with a basic description, and then have expandable text that provides more details.
These descriptions will work together with your product images, which we’ll discuss next.
6. Quality product images
As I just said, you’ll need to include images on your mobile commerce app.
Each product should have lots of images. Think about how people shop. If they are in a store, they’ll pick up the item, try it on, or test it out.
But you can’t get the in-person experience of looking, touching, feeling, or tasting a product on the phone. OK, so you probably won’t taste a product before you buy it in a store either, but you know what I mean.
The consumer relies on your product images to get a sense for what the product will look like.
Show it form every angle. Zoom in on the most important features. Give a demonstration.
If it’s a piece of clothing, don’t just show it lying flat on a table. Demonstrate its fit by showing what it looks like on a model.
The ability to see pictures is the most important feature for mobile shoppers.
Your images need to be high quality and professional.
If they are blurry, with a shadow, under poor lighting, or aren’t centered, etc., they’ll make the product look unappealing.
Sure, it’s going to take time to upload lots of pictures for each item. But it’s worth it in the long run because it’ll be easier for you to generate sales.
7. Customer service
No matter how well your app performs, people will still have questions and problems.
When this occurs, you’ll need to be able to handle the situation appropriately. How do they contact your customer service team?
If they are in the app, they should be able to do this directly from the mobile platform. Don’t force them to go to Google or visit your website to find a phone number or email address.
Offer this type of communication from your app.
Live chat. Phone support. Email.
As a result, you’ll be able to boost revenue by optimizing the customer experience.
8. Fast and secure checkout
Your mobile app needs to be smooth. Just like with your website, you’ll want to avoid common navigation mistakes.
It should be easy for app users to find what they are looking for through your search and menu options. Once someone decides they want to buy something, you don’t want them to have to jump through hoops to get it.
That’s where a mobile app stands apart from a mobile website:
With a mobile site and ecommerce site, the shopper has to input all their information each time they make a transaction.
This is tough to do from a mobile device. It’s too easy to make a mistake with the smaller buttons and screen. Plus, people can’t type as fast without a full keyboard.
But with an app, they have to do this only once, and then their purchases in the future can be made with just one click. You’ll have all the necessary info saved to their personal accounts.
Now checkouts will be fast and convenient. This also helps with personalization.
Less friction in the checkout process will lead to lower cart abandonment rates and higher sales.
Here’s something else you need to keep in mind. When you’re storing important information like this, your app needs to be completely secure.
This will protect not only your customers but also your brand. If your app gets hacked or has a credit card breach, it could destroy your reputation.
When you store a credit card on file, don’t display the entire card number. Just show the last few digits, card type, and expiration date. This will prevent someone from accessing the credit card if the user’s phone is lost or stolen.
App users will know you’re protecting their information and be less hesitant to make purchases.
9. Alternative payment options
Your mobile commerce app needs to accept all major credit cards. I don’t care if certain ones charge you a higher processing fee, you still need to give your customers as many options as possible.
In addition to accepting all credit and debit cards, you need to offer more options as well.
I’m talking about alternative payment methods such as:
- Apple Pay
For security reasons, people may be hesitant to enter their credit card information into an app. But they know these other methods help protect their funds, and you don’t want to miss out on those sales.
Plus, you don’t know someone’s personal financial situation. They might have credit cards that are maxed out, or they may have funds on a Venmo or PayPal account they want to use instead.
Further, if one of these payment processing apps is already on their phone, it’s one less step for the user. This is perfect when they’re shopping on the go.
They can buy something with just one click, without having to enter any additional information. This is much easier for them to do than having to take out their credit cards while walking, taking transit, or grabbing a coffee.
10. Push notifications
So you’re running a promotional deal. How will you tell your app users?
Just send them a push notification, like in this example from Charlotte Russe:
This method is better than an email because the message gets sent straight to your customers’ phones, like a text message.
Just be careful with this approach. Sending too many push notifications can be annoying. You don’t want users to turn off your push notifications.
Once that happens, you won’t be able to communicate with them as effectively.
Use them sparingly, but definitely use them. In addition to flash sales, you can send personalized notifications based on customer preferences and location.
You can’t build an app and forget about it. There is always room for improvement.
As a business owner with a mobile commerce app, you need to do whatever you can to increase sales.
There are certain features you can implement that will increase your chances of having success.
Review the list of features above, and figure out which ones need to be added to your app.
Don’t be discouraged or intimidated if your app currently doesn’t have these features. Once you add the ones I’ve described above, I’m sure you’ll see an improvement in your app performance, user experience, and profits.
What are the most profitable features of your company’s mobile commerce app?