In most cases, creating a native app for your ecommerce store is a big investment, fraught with risk and pitfalls*. In this article we’ll cover off why you should do it anyway.
(*Unless you’re using WooToApp to create your WooCommerce mobile app. It’s free to try, and our published apps start at $49/mo)
Why build a mobile app at all?
Mobile commerce is big business. Estimates say that by 2020, mobile purchases will make up 45% of all ecommerce – a $600B pie. If you’re a millenial or know a few, you know an iPhone or android phone is their primary device over ipads, laptops, and traditional PCs.
The fact is, your customers are on mobile devices, with 75% of them using iPhone and Android devices. Delivering a mobile app experience to your users can catch them where they are idle most often – on the lounge, on the train, or on their work lunch break.
Capturing a position on the users’ homescreen with a woocommerce mobile app cuts out a dozen or more keystrokes and means you’ve got pride of place when they’re looking for a distraction to fill some time.
If it’s not helpful enough to have your logo on your customers device, regular push notifications are a handy addition to the mobile app warchest — reach out to your customers and remind them you exist and make them an offer they can’t refuse to revisit your store.
Not ALL of your users are going to flock to a native mobile app. The idea is that the users who do install and make use of your native mobile app should convert better and convert more often, building a loyal and returning customer base who see your branding more often.
What’s wrong with mobile commerce?
The typical mobile purchasing experience is hampered by a few deal breakers that hurt conversions and drive potential purchasers to do their browsing on mobile devices and finish the job on a desktop PC or tablet.
The numbers skew and say conversions and abandonment are high on mobile, and customers just appear and checkout on desktop! The reality is, the customer arrives, adds a few items to their cart, and spends too long fiddling around with remembering if they have an account and how to sign in.
They’ll then trigger a forgot password email and sign in. Then, if they get through that, comes time to pay. Will they have to enter 30+ keystrokes to enter their credit card details, or now need to do the forgot password dance with their PayPal account?
Friction is high on mobile checkout and the conversion rates show. The conversion killing issues above (frequent signins, difficulty of checkout, requiring >10 keystrokes) are mitigated when using a native mobile app over a mobile web experience.
How we fix the conversion killers
Finding the website. This is the sale you lose that you can’t measure. What happens if the user never finds your website again after their first visit? Offering a mobile app for download gives your users an easy way to remember your store and branding for later when they finish their shopping. If your customer adds a few things to their cart and forgets what they
Get your icon on the customers’ home screen and build the muscle memory for them to come back to the app, instead of off to google.
Keystrokes. I cringe when I’m visiting a mobile website and I need to fill out 10+ fields to checkout on a website I’ve checked out on before! This loses sales hands down. First name, last name, billing address 1, billing address 2, blah blah blah. If you’ve entered it, we store it and remember it.
Frequent Signins. We use Facebook signin and Google signin as first class citizens in our native mobile apps. Users are encouraged to use the platforms they’ve already authenticated with so there’s no forgotten passwords. Stop forcing Password00!1 strong password requirements and no lost sales because your user can’t sign in.
Checkout pain. We’ve covered this a bit above, but it’s worth saying it again that every keystroke you require your user to enter drops your conversions over enough time. We’ve optimised checkout in our WooCommerce mobile app to require no keystrokes where possible, so the user can tap their way to the ‘Order Placed!’ page.
If your customer wants to place an order, stay out of their way!
Building a WooCommerce mobile app
I decided to build WooToApp because there wasn’t a just-right solution for a WooCommerce mobile app. The cheap end of the market were webview based apps that just showed the actual website wrapped up in an empty app. They were usually tricky to load, slow, and felt like I was just browsing the website anyway.
I heard of quotes being requested and sent for a custom mobile app build that started at $100k USD and kept going far north, to re-invent a wheel at an exorbitant hourly rate and hope it turns out to be useful! I have no doubt it would be a great mobile app — it would want to be for the price of a cheap house!
Try it out for free and make up your own mind
WooToApp offers a free mobile app for WooCommerce Stores that is built on a native platform and accesses your store via API to load your product catalog, color scheme, images and informational pages. With the help of our custom WooCommerce plugin, it’s easy for your customers to create accounts, place orders and pay securely. You only need to pay when you’re ready for us to publish to the App Store and Play Store for you.