By 2021, it’s estimated that retailers who do business online will get 54% of their business through mobile sales. This is hardly surprising since more people conduct product research on their phones than ever before. Plus, the numbers of customers who use social media, banking, or email on their phones or mobile devices exclusively continues to rise.
Designing a mobile-commerce experience for customers is a natural extension of current tech trends and good e-commerce practices.
What are the advantages of m-commerce?
According to Big Commerce, m-commerce is “any monetary transaction completed using a mobile device. It is an advancement of e-commerce, enabling people to buy and sell goods or services from almost anywhere, simply using a mobile phone or tablet device.”
This includes not just selling products as a retailer, but also:
- Mobile money transfers
- Digital content purchases and delivery
- Mobile banking
- Contactless payments and in-app payments
- Mobile marketing, coupons, and loyalty cards
Smartphones and tablets continue to shape and innovate the way consumers spend money and interact with brands, often giving customers a more streamlined way to connect and engage. M-commerce apps can both simplify and personalize the shopping experience while providing the same kind of direct, straightforward encounter a person could expect to have shopping or banking in person in a brick and mortar location.
The top m-commerce business apps:
Who in the world of e-commerce is doing the best job at driving mobile sales through a native app? These are the businesses that stand apart when it comes to creating a great shopping experience and developing a mobile m-commerce app that people love to use.
- Starbucks: The Starbucks app makes many “best m-commerce applications” lists, but for good reason. The app can function as your loyalty card, where you accrue points to cash in for rewards and drinks with every purchase. It also lets you use the same card as a gift card and enables auto-reload to the card. If someone else gifts you a gift card, you don’t need to keep it in your wallet – you can add it to the Starbucks app and make it part of your digital wallet. You can also use it order drinks ahead of time and pick them up from your preferred location. In many ways, Starbucks has enhanced its in-person shopping experience with the addition of a mobile app. Most customers aren’t using it as a separate shopping experience, the way that many customers of these other business examples do; they use it in conjunction with visits to a physical retail location.
- Amazon: The Amazon app is just as easy to use as their website. For general shopping, opening the Amazon Shopping app and searching allows you to add items to your cart, choose your shipping method, and pay in minutes. They also have several apps dedicated to their different platforms and services, including Amazon Music, Prime Now, and Prime Video. This helps to keep users from going through layers of menus to find the features they most want to use. While some users may not want to have to download multiple apps to engage with services on one account, it does help in terms of usability.
- Groupon: The Groupon app gives you not just the ability to easily buy local deals through location services on your phone, but also stores Groupons bought anywhere. Whether you’ve been gifted a Groupon, bought it on your laptop, or purchased through the app, the Groupon app keeps track of all of them and you can easily pull up the Groupon barcode on your phone in the app at the vendor you want to redeem it at.
- Etsy: The Etsy app is a sleek mobile version of the desktop website. You can easily track orders, communicate with vendors, and browse products from the app. Everything you can do on their desktop site you can do on their app, making it a well-developed and customer-friendly business app.
- Wag: Wag is like the Uber of dog walking. While Wag does have a desktop friendly version of their site, most users download their app to engage. From there, they can schedule regular or as-needed dog walking visits by people in their area. Since most people use the service to book a dog walker, the app offers a seamless interface that lets pet owners locate walkers in their neighborhood, plus read reviews and schedule without having the leave the app. They even have a robust chat and customer service feature that works directly through the app, as opposed to many companies who host web-based customer service communication only.
If your brand wants to drive more business, it’s important to think “mobile first.” That means making sure that designing a mobile experience for customers isn’t an afterthought. Designing mobile responsive ads, emails, and even e-commerce experiences are part of ensuring the easiest to use and most natural experience for customers, making a truly valuable part of acquiring and retaining customers.