Mobile is a critical part of any retailer's marketing strategy, but starting off can be overwhelming. The options within mobile are endless: Do we replicate a mobile-responsive version of our website? Do we start communicating with our customers through push notifications? Do we have enough of a business case to justify a mobile app?
Before consulting with a digital agency, mobile app developers, or a mobile commerce platform, know these terms:
The truth about mobile web
Responsive web can work in certain industries, but if you're looking to handle e-commerce transactions, it won't work in retail. Your customers will lose access to your mobile responsive site with a bad Wi-Fi connection, which will cause them to inadvertently abandon items in their cart or saved favorites. Loyal shoppers who wish to save their payment information for quick checkout don't have the ability to do this with mobile web. Load times are slow.
Each of these ingredients alone are enough to frustrate customers, and together? Let's just say it's not a recipe for customer satisfaction and retention. In fact, over 40% of mobile consumers turn to a competitor's site after a poor mobile web experience, according to Compuware.
The benefits of native apps
A true native app is built specific to the operating platform it runs on, inclusive of the key features it runs. In mobile, this is often Objective C for iOS and Java for Android.
The key advantages of a native mobile commerce app are speed and reliability. It can perform certain functions offline by caching data and has access to a phone’s native hardware, from a camera for barcode scanning to a calendar for event scheduling. Because it is written for a specific platform, the overall look and feel is more intuitive for users. It can use design conventions that are natural to the platform: an iOS app might use swipe and delete on wish lists, an Android app could have an action bar for navigation.
- Push notifications
Additionally, only native apps can make use of push notifications, a hugely successful element of a strong mobile retail strategy. On average, GPShopper clients experience a 150% spike in traffic and an increase of 20-50% in conversions on the same day a push notification is distributed to their customer base.
Many retailers have opted into a native app for the push benefits alone, and those benefits are great. Recent studies show that rewards sent by push notification are opened 8 times more than those sent via e-mail, and only 8% of consumers wait or ignore a push notification before checking it.
- Mobile payments & checkout
A native app becomes even more critical when thinking about account experience and mobile payments. Native apps provide a persistent log-in process and save checkout information for convenient “one-click” conversion. They can provide digital cards and offer Card IO. Native apps also have the benefit of metrics. They can serve up user-based targeted content and provide registered users with a more personalized experience. This impact can be powerful: our clients see AOV (average order value) to be anywhere from 20% to 50% greater in native apps than in mobile web.
A hybrid approach
There are some apps on the market that will masquerade as native by pulling mobile web pages in, thus the term, wrapper app. It is easy to differentiate if you are using a wrapper app with a few quick things: Is there another header? Does it take longer to load? Do you lose access when you have a bad connection? If the answer is “yes”, then it is likely you are using a wrapper app.
Most mobile web users will abandon their cart, the primary reason being how slow and clunky checkout can be. Wrapper apps also sacrifice speed and performance, two key things that are critical to a user’s satisfaction with a native app.
The bottom line is that native apps have a measurable impact worth investing in. Need more proof? 67% of consumers are more likely to shop from a retailer that has an app than one that does not.