Why eCommerce Apps Are Your Competitive Advantage in Q4 - and Beyond

As BFCM looms, there’s the typical focus on ad creative, email campaigns, and SMS strategy… but recently, a new DTC marketing channel has entered the chat: eCommerce apps.

While bigger retail names like Wayfair, Sephora, and Target have had their own apps for many years, advances in technology and tighter integrations with Shopify have made it easier for DTC up-and-comers to compete on a more level playing field.

Why is eCommerce app adoption accelerating, and how will apps give brands an edge in Q4 and beyond? Here’s the scoop:

1️⃣ Apps are mobile-first

Fun fact: 69% of Shopify store orders come from mobile devices. Despite this, a lot of eCommerce websites are still built to be responsive (meaning, they adapt to the dimensions of the device they’re being browsed on) rather than catering to the mobile shopping majority.

With an app, everything is built to be mobile-friendly from day one, so mobile shoppers get the best experience possible.

2️⃣ Shoppers have embraced eCommerce apps

Another fun fact: Nearly 70% of consumers have downloaded a retailer app.

If you’re worried that your customers “won’t want to download yet another app,” you’ll want to reconsider their appetite (pun intended) for additional shopping opportunities, especially as BFCM approaches and everyone is in gift-giving mode.

3️⃣ Push notifications FTW

In Q4, email inboxes will be flooded with sales subject lines, and SMS will be a promo code bloodbath. 🧛

But you know where you won’t have nearly as much competition? Push notifications.

Because the majority of eCommerce stores don’t yet have their own mobile apps, your abandoned cart campaigns and holiday drop announcements are more likely to stand out as push notifications than SMS alerts.

👉 Big bonus: They cost $0!

4️⃣ It’s easier than ever to launch your own app

There’s a reason the bigger retail players were first in the app arms race; it used to take a lot of money and time to design and build a custom mobile app from scratch.

However, it’s 2022, and you don’t have to hire an entire dev team anymore. You can use a tech platform like Tapcart, VennApps, Mowico, Vajro, or partner with an agency.

For Public Desire CEO Ateeq Akhlaq, using VennApps gave the brand flexibility on customizations and the benefit of an experienced support team that could help with the launch, freeing the Public Desire team up to focus on visuals and features.

Outside the box solutions make it much easier to create an app quickly. Just make sure you pick one that’s intuitive to use and reliable (as everyone in eCommerce knows firsthand, tech is amazing until it glitches or crashes).

5️⃣ There’s no better way to create brand loyalty  

If you’re looking for a way to re-engage and retain your current customers, as well as any new ones that you acquire in Q4, an eCommerce app offers many advantages:

  • Customers can keep track of their purchases and rewards on the go
  • Wishlist functionality makes it easy to save favorites for later
  • Brands get an additional way to build community

Says Grisel Paula, the CEO of Rebdolls:

“Rebdolls relies a lot on our return customers. We have a huge loyal following, and they really resonate with the [Rebdolls] app; it’s right on their phone. We started doing special releases a day early on the app to incentivize people to download. People feel special because we’re giving them early access to our collections. We have an amazing conversion rate. We definitely recommend it to anybody.”

Expert spotlight: Lindsay Goldman

To wrap up our investigation on the rise of eCommerce apps, we got in touch with eCommerce executive Lindsay Goldman, who has extensive experience leading eCommerce efforts in-house for brands BELLA+CANVAS and Princess Polly and clients like Gorjana and Bandai Namco.

Thanks for talking to us, Lindsay. Could you share a few common reasons why eCommerce brands launch their own app?

“Sure, here are just a few:

  • Nurturing loyalty/VIP customers
  • Push notifications (becomes a marketing play)
  • Faster speed performance = higher CVR (if website is not headless and dealing with slower site speeds)
  • Additional revenue channel”

What analytics do you keep an eye on to gauge the success of an eCommerce app, and what metrics do you typically care most about?

“CVR is always my number one concern. Making sure that CVR is at least on par with mobile web, but really looking to increase CVR beyond mobile web performance.

Additionally, understanding how the mobile app is impacting/increasing returning visitors, repeat orders, and overall lifetime value (LTV).”

You have a history of successfully optimizing apps once they’re launched. What can brands focus on to boost CVR?

“We only have customers’ attention for a short time span, so with any eCommerce brand, product discovery is essential.

Continuing to ask, how can we show customers the right products (based on personalization, product recommendations, targeted keywords, etc.) and as many products (with a strong UX/UI optimization) in the shortest amount of time?

I’ve seen all of these enhancements drastically increase CVR:

  • Optimizing search results pages (based on accurate product tagging and strong UX/UI)
  • Optimizing sort and filtering UI, making it seamless for customers to quickly narrow down their product criteria
  • Utilizing a top navigation for easy category discovery
  • Leveraging personalized upsell”

So there you have it. If you’re looking for mobile-first design, infinite customization, and a pretty killer revenue booster, an eCommerce app may be your best bet (this year or next).

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