The curious case of the Mobile App and the Ecommerce Business Model
With changing customer expectations, and convenience and omnipresence becoming priority, retailers are rapidly developing mobile presence.
The arguments are compelling: Gartner research estimates the number of smartphone users to reach 2.16 billion by 2016, with over 268 billion app downloads world over by 2017.
Last year, in India, monthly mobile app download was over 150 million. Studies in the US have shown that shoppers using retailers’ dedicated apps have a conversion rate of 21% higher than those who do not. This is attributed to a more relevant and customized shopping experience.
If you have determined that your business needs justify the time and investment required for development of a mobile app, it is necessary to follow a step-by-step procedure to ensure you derive maximum value.
- Identifying capabilities of the smart-phone that best suit your business and designing App features accordingly. For instance, phones are equipped with cameras that can be used to scan QR codes, thus facilitating requests or returns. Or phones have sensors that may be used with beacon technology to determine proximity and push in-store offers and new products at real time for maximum conversion.
- Evaluating the capabilities of the phone and customizing the app to also suit every stage of the buying cycle as well as replicate the in-store shopping experience. While technically these are separate platforms, but to the consumer, it is all the same—different ways to reach the same brand.
- In order to measure the app’s effectiveness and strive towards a goal, clear-cut and quantifiable business objectives must be drawn up.
- Now that all the evaluation is complete, it’s time to take action and develop functionality as perceived.
- It’s imperative to test the functionality before going public—any glitches or shortcomings can be disastrous.
- After successful testing, it’s time for deployment of the app in stores from where it is easily accessible to the target group.
- No matter how well-designed your app, it’s of no use if nobody knows about or downloads it. So it is important to market it in the right circles, to the relevant people and encourage customers to install it. Unless there’s a real requirement, customers will not simply install the app, so extra effort must go into this stage.
- For sustained growth, it’s necessary to measure the effectiveness of the app on various parameters such as ease of use, reaching the right people and data analysis using appropriate tools.
Going mobile isn’t a shortcut to success, it requires sustained attention and effort, but the correct implementation can yield major benefits. With innovations such as geo-tagging and push notifications, retailers can use the mobile app to create a seamless experience right at the fingertips of consumers.
This blog is the work of Anuj Ramachandra, Business Consultant, Ecommerce at Embitel Technologies.
Anuj has eight years of experience across various business functions including digital marketing, market research, business development, strategic business planning and product management with a specific focus on e-commerce and advices several leading Indian and international retailers on their e-commerce strategies.
Anuj can be reached at anuj.r[at]embitel[dot]com
For more information and to know how Embitel Technologies can help you drive your business objectives using e-commerce technologies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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