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.