Smartphone ownership is growing and that has had a significant impact on both ecommerce and traditional business. One of the disrupting factors for online shopping has been the growing popularity of mobile applications designed to enhance consumers' shopping experiences. A recent survey by industry analyst Nielson showcased the growing importance of mobile applications and the growing need for mobile hosting solutions optimized for them.
According to the survey, 47 percent of smartphone owners used shopping apps in June and accessed those kinds of apps an average of 17 times throughout the month. Ebay and Amazon apps were the most popular, but daily deal companies such as Groupon also saw a significant amount of mobile app usage.
"Major brands already well-known for online buying are also behind the most-used smartphone shopping apps," Nielson wrote in a blog post. "In June the eBay and Amazon apps topped the list, attracting 13 million and 12 million unique users, respectively. Likewise, traditional retailers like Target and Walgreens received significant mobile traffic from savvy shoppers looking to find the best deals in their local retail stores."
Don Kellogg, director of Telecom Insights at Nielsen, said more Americans are beginning to make purchases directly through apps. This not only provides retailers with an opportunity to customize customer experiences through mobile-optimized websites, but also by developing custom apps to target offerings to individual consumers.
Build ecommerce websites for adaptability
For example, the most-used app for June was eBay Mobile, an application that allows users to receive mobile notifications regarding the status of watched items. The app goes further by allowing users to view sales trends and historic eBay activity. Although not every ecommerce retailer needs to develop their own shopping apps for mobile, businesses should consider the experience for mobile users - is it easy to check out? Is relevant information readily available for access on mobile devices?
A recent CIO article highlighted the importance of the shopping cart. Even businesses that don't start off with a large mobile audience can evolve. In addition to adopting flexible business strategies, organizations can implement flexible platforms and hosting providers. For example, with Magento hosting, organizations can quickly add features to their ecommerce platforms without sacrificing website or application performance.
"An ecommerce shopping cart is the heartbeat of any online retail site," the article stated. "When shopping for a shopping cart, it's important to choose one that can be customized to match your business and be flexible enough to grow with your business."