With consumers getting spoilt for choices to explore on their mobile screens, the brands have a tough task at hand to keep them engaged through their smartphone applications. As a matter of fact, hours of shopping effort comes down to a few clicks on mouse pad, all thanks to e-commerce. Many e-commerce brands have helped consumers to buy from their favorite online stores and also given them the opportunity of using various digital platforms to compare, read reviews, and eventually make buying decisions. Affordable smartphones, reliable internet connections, and tech-savvy population, are various factors leading to an e-commerce boom. Therefore, the graph of e-commerce industry in India is only expected to go upwards in the foreseeable future.
It is imperative for e-commerce brands to have mobile applications with superior UI/UX. Building an e-commerce app is anything but easy. There are various technical aspects that need to be considered. Here is a list of 7 most importantaspects:
1.Type of app
You may either choose a Native or a Hybrid app. A native app is built for a particular operating system and can be accessed only from the dedicated app store. For Instance, anAndroid application will only be accessed by Android users. On the other hand, a hybrid app works with most operating systems. So a user does not have to switch the app if he ever changes the device. While a native app would be better in terms of customization and user experience, a hybrid app is cost effective and quick to develop because there is standard documentation for all the platforms upon which it is being developed.
An e-commerce app needs to be friendly for a variety of users using different platforms. They may have different levels of proficiency in terms of smartphone usage. Apart from the core functionality of making shopping accessible on phone, the app should load pages easily, allow smooth navigation from one product to the other, use the right font size and graphics for better visibility, and continuously seek user feedback to improve the features/usability of the app. Moreover, the app should also have offline capabilities using local data so a user can access it even without a steady internet connection.
3.Social media integration
A 2017 study by Facebook reveals that on an average, a middle class Indian living in tier 1 city spends about 2 hours a day on Facebook. Add Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other social media platforms to this concoction and we easily know that we are a nation obsessed with social media. Therefore, without social media integration, an e-commerce app is like a gun with empty barrel. With social integration, user can directly login to the app without creating separate signup details all over again. The app can also track their social media behavior by using various analytical tools and suggest the best buying options. All social media platforms these days provide their in-built analytical tools. The developer may also integrate some customized analytics tools to generate some more targeted and specific insights.
An e-commerce app with engaging features helps in customer retention. Some of the e-commerce apps have launched games to let the customers receive rewards. Others give badges to the users to do some tasks, or give them loyalty points for referrals, or social endorsements. Users need to have more reasons to engage with the app.
We can all recount instances of an ecommerce app crashing or slowing down due to heavy traffic during sale festivals. It needs to be robust, scalable, stable, and flexible to manage the footfall. Loading time is one of the most critical success factors for an app.
Nothing is good in this digital age, if it is not searchable online. So, the app should be visible (on the first page) when searched by name, category, advanced search, or by brand.
An e-commerce app should support multiple digital payment options, show the transaction summary and shipping details, and let the user easily check out. Any payment glitches are a big dampener for user experience.
A high-performing e-commerce application could be a big differentiation for the company.
If there is any industry in the modern times that follows Charles Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ principle in the true letter and spirit, it is the e-commerce industry.
The article has been penned down by Narinder Kumar, EVP, Technology Services, TO THE NEW.
In a spirited discussion on AI and the retail industry, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia delved deeply into India's role in transforming the world through Artificial Intelligence and technology enablement. He discussed Microsoft's commitment to India, not only in training Indian talent but also in leveraging it.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM) for hosting Mumbai Tech Week and their ongoing involvement in building tech startups in the country. During a panel discussion with Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish at Mumbai Tech Week, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia, emphasized the transformative impact AI could have on various aspects of daily life.
Chandok stated, “When we look at India through the lens of demand, supply, and impact, there is no other market like India today. There are 7,000 listed companies in India and one hundred thousand startups. Many startups are in Maharashtra, and one hundred new startups are emerging in India every day. India is the largest SMB market globally, making it one of the most exciting markets today.”
He further added, “When we look at the supply lens and examine Microsoft's data, one out of four projects on AI in GitHub today is run out of India. Every sixth AI researcher in the world is from India. In the next ten years, 25 percent of the global workforce will come from India, meaning every fourth worker in the world will be from India.”
Discussing the growing influence and power of Artificial Intelligence, Chandok mentioned, “Last night, my 12-year-old daughter was creating text-to-video, and she told me that AI will change her life. She is an artist; she draws and paints. This also indicates how the younger generation perceives AI.”
Expanding on this, Chandok continued, “People will stop searching and instead have conversations. I have stopped searching myself; in fact, I was conversing with my Copilot to understand what is happening at the event and what I should speak about. We have shifted from searching to genuine conversations. This is not just chat drama anymore. These are sophisticated engines providing reasoning within.”
Regarding his personal perspective, Chandok remarked, “People say AI is overhyped, but I think it's not hyped enough. The next generation, which will use this in the next few years, will have much higher expectations of what technology can do for them. So, how you build it for that generation, how you build it for that future, will be really interesting to see."
Chandok also emphasized that those who do not embrace AI, risk falling behind in the rapidly evolving technological landscape. He encouraged Indian developers to seize the "lifetime opportunity" to become unstoppable by learning to use and deploy AI effectively.
He concluded, “If you are not learning AI, you are falling behind. I myself spend 30 minutes a day to learn more about AI. Technology is changing every day, and it has been 15 months since ChatGPT was launched. The speed of technology diffusion is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and it is advancing very rapidly. My call to action for everyone is to find a way to learn, otherwise, we will all fall behind.”
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