The ecommerce industry is no stranger to rapid innovation. Shopping online used to entail sitting down in front of a desktop computer. Then mobile, browsing became increasingly popular, allowing people to conduct research and make purchases on the go. But now, increasing numbers of consumers are utilizing mobile apps to shop online. This means mobile apps stand to boost ecommerce sales and customer loyalty—provided retailers can optimize user retention through a combination of effective marketing and user-first functionality.

In the last quarter of 2017, North American retailers offering apps earned 44 percent of their transactions through their ecommerce apps. By comparison, mobile web browsing accounted for 23 percent of transactions, while desktop drove 33 percent of sales. These statistics demonstrate the ongoing shift toward making in-app purchases rather than using a browser.

Here’s a closer look at why mobile apps are benefitting ecommerce sales and how marketers can capitalize on this trend.

Benefits of Mobile App Shopping

Online shoppers are typically seeking speed, convenience, and the best deal. Mobile apps are poised to meet these needs because they offer highly usable interfaces and can store consumer information for quicker checkout. These are some of the primary benefits of mobile app use for shoppers.

But what about ecommerce businesses? According to one software development consultant for Forbes, here are five important advantages to consider:

  • Length of engagement: Customers spend 3 to 4 times longer in mobile apps than they do on desktop devices.
  • Lower shopping cart abandonment rates: Consumers abandon their carts about 20 percent of the time in apps; the rate is much higher on desktop (68 percent) and mobile websites (97 percent).
  • Higher average order value: Customers tend to spend more per transaction using an app than any other method.
  • Higher expenditures in general: Mobile apps drive twice as much spending than desktop and mobile browsers do.
  • Higher rate of return: Mobile app users are twice as likely to return within a month than desktop users, opening the door for important future engagement.

Launching a mobile app also gives retailers the power to curate a branded experience from start to finish. Apps make it easier for customers to enroll in loyalty programs, check their transaction histories, save shopping preferences, and make purchases. If your app can facilitate these functions, customers will develop positive associations with your brand—which increases the likelihood they will continue to engage with your app.

Marketing an Ecommerce App

Maximizing engagement and conversions within your ecommerce app starts at the marketing stage. You want to attract shoppers likely to engage in post-install events like creating an account, making purchases, and enrolling in your rewards program. But how?

Start with Cost-Per-Action (CPA) optimized mobile advertising. CPA mobile campaigns use a payment model in which marketers only pay for acquisitions who go on to engage in desired actions. This ensures ad spend is going toward driving conversions, not just getting people to download your app once and forget about it—which is one of the risks of a Cost-Per-Install (CPI) marketing model.

Furthermore, CPA campaigns perform best in conjunction with dynamic ads, which draw from mobile user data to programmatically assemble personalized ads in real time. These ads can target a lookalike audience of users who have shown similar behaviors or personal characteristics to your current user base. These similarities make lookalike audiences more likely to install your app and engage in post-install events than the general smartphone-carrying population.

Delivering a Great User Experience

The other factor that will impact the success of your app is the user experience it delivers. The most innovative ecommerce apps tend to solve customer problems or improve on current experiences.

Mobile apps can boost ecommerce sales, provided you market your app well and deliver an unparalleled customer experience.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

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