Even if you’re at the absolutely bleeding edge of user experience on your website, you might be missing out on a huge piece of the overall conversions pie.
You don’t have an app.
Like it or not, there’s a lot of legwork involved for your customers before they even hit your homepage and start navigating their way through your intuitive menus and exceptional product pages. If a delay of a fraction of a second is enough to have someone hitting the ‘back’ button – you better believe that the effort needed to get to your digital doorstep is going to stop people spending their money with you.
With this in mind, it’s worth considering how to bring that digital doorstep as close as possible to your potential customers. Right now, having an app on their device’s home screen is about as good as it gets.
What is an app?
Don’t panic, we’re not going to walk you through what an app is – it’s safe to assume that everyone knows the basics. Instead, let’s think about what an app represents for your customer.
Your customers’ experience starts the second they think about using your brand.
For example: Let’s say you want to buy a plant to sit on your desk. There are no end of online plant retailers and florists – but unless you’re well-versed in buying plants online, it’s difficult to work out which one will provide exactly what you want. As such, your buying process looks a bit like this:
- Open your browser
- Think about the search term you’ll need to help you research plant retailers
- Browse a few websites – switching UI each time
- Look at product options
- Look at delivery times/costs
- Look at payment options
- Enter your personal details
- Enter your delivery details
- Enter your card details
- Complete the transaction
Now, consider how that looks if you instead decide to buy a plant from Amazon:
- Open your Amazon app
- Search for office plants
- Click ‘buy now’
Amazon might not necessarily be the best place to buy a plant – buy you can bet that they sell more plants that most dedicated stores – simply because the experience is quick and simple.
Quick and simple is exactly what customers are looking for – and if you can work with an app developer to establish yourself as the quickest and most simple option, you’re winning.
Storing customer information
Some of customers’ biggest ecommerce irritations relate to completing checkouts. No one wants to manually enter all their details when they shop – and who wants to get up to find their debit or credit card to enter the 16-digit number into an awkward form?
Sure, autofill is okay – but pre-loaded card details and delivery address details are far better – and that’s exactly what you can store in your app; which remains constantly logged in for your customer.
The thing is, customers know this – so the prospect of buying from an app-based store is an infinitely more appealing prospect than entering the potentially awkward world of online checkouts and unknown delivery costs.
With an app, your business gets close to the slick experience people have when they’re buying from Amazon or a similar big ecommerce business. No need to guess at the right kind of keywords that will deliver the best products, no need to search retailer reviews, and no need to apply more effort than is necessary when it comes to actually completing their purchase either.
An app builds trust
It might not be immediately apparent but having your app on a potential customer’s device saves a potentially huge part of the shopping experience for a customer; working out whether you’re a trustworthy source.
Now, this is where your own app trumps the kind of marketplace apps like Amazon and eBay. With these marketplaces, shoppers have to decide whether or not a specific seller is reputable – whereas when you venture into a search engine and start to pick out individual stores – you need to consider whether or not the business is a trustworthy source.
As a single retailer or business with an app, you’re building trust by simply appearing on a person’s device or in the app store. Studies suggest that consumers consider an app to be a solid indication that they’re dealing with an established business – whereas there’s a sense that anyone could quickly get a website online. If you do manage to get people to install your app – similar studies show that just having your brand appearing on their phone makes a customer 31% more confident in using your business – even if they’ve never ordered from you before.
So, by having an app, you’re immediately more trustworthy. Don’t underestimate what this means to a customer – it negates the need for potentially lengthy research and review reading – and takes the customer straight to your products or services feeling confident that you’ll deliver exactly what you promise.
Although a customer generally feels like they’re the ones who start an interaction between themselves and your business, this often simply is not true.
Whether it’s PPC advertising, email marketing, or just appearing in their social media newsfeeds; you’re likely to be working – on some level – to keep your brand in their consciousness – and an app can help with this too.
Push notifications are one of your biggest allies when it comes to encouraging customer interaction. When you look at the engagement rates you can expect from an email or PPC campaign, you’re likely to be looking at single-figure click-throughs and conversions. However, popping an occasional push-notification onto their device’s screen is easily likely to quadruple these kind of engagement rates.
Again, it’s all about simplicity. A single click opens your app and delivers the customer to the exact landing page you wish – whereas an email relies on your potential customer opening their email client, opening your mail, and clicking a link – before waiting for your page to appear.
The age of digital marketing has made customers lazy. There are exceptional companies blazing a trail that involves very few hurdles between a customer’s initial buying thoughts and completion of a transaction – so if you can follow this trail and keep your customers experience as quick and as simple as possible, you stand to follow their financial success too. When it comes to trust, simplicity, and ease of use – you’ll struggle to beat an app.