How An App Can Help E-Commerce Brands This Holiday Season
November is here! The winter holidays are rapidly approaching and you and your team are probably scrambling to make a plan for the big shopping rush that’s about to take place.
If you haven’t included mobile app development in your plan, now is a good time to start discussing it.
Outlined below are some of the greatest benefits your e-commerce business can experience by developing your own mobile app in preparation for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday season.
Increase Customer Loyalty
With the holiday season approaching and sales popping up all over the place, you need your customers’ loyalty now more than ever.
Many e-commerce brands use their mobile apps as tools to increase customer loyalty. For example, they might set up a loyalty program that allows customers to earn points whenever they shop through the app, fill out a survey, share a link to the app with a friend, etc.
By doing this, you can encourage people to use the app consistently and to continue coming back to your business again and again.
Spread the Word About Sales and Promotions
Are you hosting a big Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale this year? Do you have exciting plans for sales leading up to Christmas Eve? If so, it’s time to start spreading the news and getting people interested in what you have to offer.
With features like push notifications and text reminders, you can pump up your target customers and encourage them to check out your online store to take advantage of your deals and promotions. This will increase app downloads, especially if you create some deals or discounts that are only available through the app, rather than through your business’s website.
Improve Customer Experience
We’ve all tried to shop a big sale during the holiday season, and we all know how frustrating it can be to deal with a sluggish or constantly crashing website. If you want to encourage your online customers to shop with you during the holidays, a mobile app can help you to provide a faster, smoother, and simpler customer experience.
Mobile apps often take less time to load compared to websites, and they provide a smoother and more streamlined shopping experience. With an app, your customers will be able to shop on the go without having to waste valuable time pinching and stretching their screens as they try to navigate your website from their mobile browser.
The sooner you start creating and promoting your mobile app, the sooner you can start encouraging your customers to refer their friends and family.
Remember, referrals are one of the strongest forms of marketing. Sixty percent of marketers say that their referral programs generate a high volume of leads, and 54 percent say that referral programs are more affordable than other popular marketing channels.
By encouraging existing app users to share it with their friends and family, your brand can benefit from virtual word-of-mouth marketing. You’ll likely also see an increase in the number of downloads you get, as well as the number of purchases people make through your e-commerce app.
Keep Up with Competitors
Do your competitors have mobile apps? Are they using them to promote holiday sales or encourage customers to shop with them during the holiday season?
If your competitors have already taken the time to create mobile apps, it’s a good idea for you to do the same. Otherwise, you may end up losing customers to them, especially when they start introducing their big holiday deals and discounts.
Even if your competitors don’t have a mobile app, though, it’s still a good idea to start working on one. That way, you can get ahead of the curve, separate yourself from them, and make your e-commerce brand more appealing to your shared target audience.
Mobile apps make it easier than ever for customers to speed through the check-out process.
By setting your app up in such a way that people can easily save their credit card information and check out without having to punch in a bunch of numbers with every transaction, you’ll find that you have more sales, fewer abandoned carts, and more to show for your big holiday sales.
Generate More Revenue
If all of these other benefits weren’t enough to sell you on the idea of creating a mobile app, perhaps this one will: A mobile app can help you to make more sales and generate more revenue during the holiday season.
According to the latest data, smartphones account for 84 percent of e-commerce growth during the holidays. Furthermore, smartphone shoppers spent over $2.9 billion on Black Friday and over $3 billion on Cyber Monday.
In other words, if you’re not making your brand easily accessible to smartphone users, you’re likely missing out on a lot of earnings during the busiest time of the year.
How to Create an E-commerce App
There are lots of reasons to consider developing a mobile app to boost your brand during the holiday season. Even if it’s too soon to get an app made for the upcoming holiday rush, you still ought to know what steps are involved so you can get a jumpstart on next year.
Whenever you decide to create your e-commerce app, you’ll need to take the following steps:
Draft a Business Plan
You already have a business plan for your e-commerce brand, but you should also create one specifically for your mobile app. This plan can give you a clear idea of what the app will do and what features it will have, as well as how long it will take to build and how you’ll measure its success.
Consider Funding Options
When you sit down to answer these questions, it’ll also be a good time for you to think of how you’re going to fund the app. It can cost anywhere from $15K to $60K to build an app, depending on the specific features you want it to have.
Do you have this amount of money readily accessible in your business bank account? Will you need to take out a loan, make arrangements to finance, or consult an investor?
Draft a Marketing Plan
Next, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to promote your app. Which tools and techniques will you use to spread the word about it and get people interested in downloading it?
There are lots of ways that you can promote your app, from advertising it in your email newsletter to putting a popup on your website that encourages every visitor to download and try shopping through the app. You can even offer a discount for their first in-app purchase to further sweeten the deal.
Choose an App Development Team
Unless you have the time and skills needed to build an app by yourself, you’re going to need to hire a development team to handle this part of the process.
When considering different developers, pay attention to their portfolios and the types of apps they’ve created in the past. Read reviews and ask for references, too, so you can get a clearer idea of what other people have experienced when working with this particular team.
Pricing is important, of course, but it shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all. With an e-commerce app, as with anything else, you get what you pay for. It might be worth it to spend more to get a better-performing app than to pay less, get a subpar product, and have to spend extra money later to get it updated and fixed.
Launch Your App
Once you hire a development team, they will do the hard work of designing a prototype, building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and getting your app ready to launch. Once you’ve given your approval on all aspects of the app, you can launch it and make it available to your customers to download.
After you’ve launched it on the app store, pay attention to how your app is performing. Are people downloading it at the rate you’d hoped? What kinds of reviews are they leaving?
Remember, this is valuable feedback. Use it to make a plan for how you’re going to fine-tune your app in the future.
How to Maximize Results from Your App
Perhaps you already have a mobile app for your e-commerce brand. If this is the case for you and your business, here are some tips to maximize the results you see from your app this holiday season:
Encourage More App Downloads
Start by encouraging all of your customers to download your mobile app. Talk about it on social media, mention it in your email newsletter, and put a banner on every single page of your website promoting the app.
The more you make people aware of the app, the more likely they’ll be to download and use it. You can increase their likelihood even more, though, by offering a discount or running special promotions through the app only during the holiday season.
Set Up Social Media Authentication
By setting up social media authentication, you make it easier for your customers to log in and use your app.
Don’t make them remember an entirely different username and password. Let them link it to their social media accounts for a more streamlined login process and instant gratification for your first-time app users.
Create a Loyalty Program
If you haven’t already created a loyalty program, now is a good time to do so.
Consider rewarding customers with points every time they make a purchase through the app. You can also allow them to work toward a special gift every time they buy a specific product or place a mobile order.
These kinds of programs keep customers coming back for more, and they encourage more shopping during a time when they’ll already be making more online and mobile purchases.
Create a Referral Program
Consider creating a referral program, too. Reward your customers who are sharing the app with their friends and family by giving them a discount or credit to their accounts every time they share a link to the app via social media, text, email, etc.
Send Out Holiday Codes and Coupons
Make sure you’re regularly sending out holiday discount codes and coupons. Remember, too, that now is the time when people get bombarded with promotional emails and texts from all kinds of brands, so you need to find a way to make your messages stand out. Including a coupon code or details about a flash sale will ensure your messages don’t get ignored, and you can see more sales (and more revenue) as a result.
Target Customers Properly
Target your existing customers based on their in-app activities and purchase histories.
With the help of mobile behavior tracking data, you can learn more about how each user is engaging with your app. This includes the specific pages they’re visiting, the buttons they click, and when they click out of the app altogether.
Once you’ve gathered this information, you can use it to promote specific items or personalize their marketing emails and texts.
Use Push Notifications
Finally, don’t forget to send push notifications. This is a great way to alert people about sales and promotions right when they’re happening.
With push notifications, you can generate a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and encourage customers to take action and make a purchase through your app before the sale goes away or you run out of stock.
Start the App Development Process Today
As you begin preparing for the holiday season, be sure to keep these benefits of mobile apps in mind. If you want to increase sales, create a smoother customer experience, and bolster your brand’s reputation, a mobile app is an incredible asset.
Do you need help creating your e-commerce business’s app? If so, reach out to our team at Alpha Bravo Development today.
We’re happy to discuss your goals, provide a free quote, and partner with you to create a game plan for the future of your app.