Let’s face it: it’s 2018. If your online shop isn’t optimized to operate in a mobile browser, you might as well be running an old-fashioned country store. Mobile now dominates eCommerce traffic, jumping a whole 89% since 2015 when it began to leave desktop shopping in the dust. Of course, smartphone browsing and purchasing occurs on two platforms: mobile websites and mobile apps.
As the Shopgate team carried conversations on the IRCE floor with merchants, tech developers, and other industry experts, we kept noticing a theme: while retailers still find value in mobile websites, their shops quickly fall behind if they don’t upgrade to a mobile app. This may seem perplexing—don’t the touchscreens and credit card payments work the same way on both platforms? That’s a fair and logical point, but there are key differences between a mobile website and a native app. And those seemingly-small disparities? They make a huge difference in a mobile retail strategy. This concern was expressed over and over in our booth conversations at IRCE.
So after thoughtfully considering our IRCE interactions, we decided to put together a guide to the shortcomings of mobile websites, and how apps can remedy those problems. Read on to discover why apps are no longer optional—they are simply mandatory for a successful retail brand.
Mobile Websites: In order to run a speedy, easy-to-use shop on this platform, you have to limit your navigational tools. This requires you to simplify your icons, such as using a hamburger-style navigation menu with limited category options.
Shopgate Apps: With Shopgate’s user-friendly widget system, retailers have more space and control than ever when they pursue a mobile retail strategy. You have total freedom over how you categorize your products, with easy-to-use widgets you can drag and drop as you please to organize your app. Another perk? Our simple search feature allows your customers to search for products by name, type, color, and more.
Checkout and Payment
Mobile Websites: Many mobile websites present obstacles to successful purchasing. These can include long, clumsy forms that don’t remember the customer’s contact and payment info.
Shopgate Apps: Our apps employ tools such as Facebook Login to always store customers’ info, eliminating the need for repetitive forms for each purchase. We also offer payment options like Apple Pay, and payment tools such as camera-enabled credit card scanners and digital wallets.
Mobile Websites: This is perhaps mobile web’s biggest problem—communication consists of email marketing that users can choose to opt out of, and many of these emails frequently go to spam folders. This lack of communication is perfectly exemplified by a problem you’ve likely experienced: you drop an item in your cart, you get distracted by something else, you eventually return to the website, and the item is gone. What a hassle, right?
Shopgate Apps: Push notifications are a method of regularly communicating with your customers, linking them directly to the pages in your app they’re interested in. That problem we mentioned earlier? It’s solved with our automatic abandoned cart push notifications, reminding customers that they haven’t completed a purchase yet. However, push notifications aren’t just limited to shopping carts. You can instantly alert your customers to sales, new products, promo codes, and social media events—all available through the Shopgate Dashboard.
Mobile Websites: When you’re limited by navigation and small browsers, the aesthetic of your website is at risk of being outdated, unattractive, and even unusable on a smartphone.
Shopgate Apps: Industry research suggests that design comprises 94% of the first impression of a brand’s credibility. What more do you need to know to convince yourself to go for the totally customizable, attractive shopping apps that our platform is capable of?
That’s all for our first recap of IRCE. Keep watching the blog to hear our final thoughts and insights on one of the biggest retail shows of the year. And don’t forget to contact one of our mobile experts to see how a mobile app can surpass your mobile website in customer engagement and conversions.
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Author: Casey Gannon
Vice President of Marketing | Casey is an experienced tech marketer, driven to develop marketing strategies that blend traditional techniques with emerging technology. With over ten years of experience in mobile, she believes that mobile apps are the modern solution in helping retailers directly connect with and impact consumers. When she's not looking ahead to the next opportunity, Casey is a busy mom, soccer player and adjunct professor at her alma mater, St. Edward's University.