The rapid growth in the usage of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets is significantly giving a boost to m-commerce (mobile-commerce) market. Further, the continuous advancements in technologies which make the processes seamless on mobile and encourage buying behaviour are also contributing to the growth of the m-commerce market.
As per Statista, the global m-commerce revenues will total to $639 billion in 2019, up from $459.38 in 2018. This is a huge growth. Another study suggests that this market will grow at a CAGR of 27% during the forecast period (2019-2024).
This shows that the usage of mobile commerce apps is increasing primarily due to their ease-of-use, trust, and faster processing. If you have an e-commerce website but not an m-commerce app for it, then you are already lagging in this highly competitive market.
Main differences between e-commerce and m-commerce
E-commerce is a good fit for shopping using desktop devices and laptops. These devices can’t be carried along everywhere. M-commerce, meant for mobile devices, on the other hand, allows users to perform transactions from anywhere and at any time. They can use the already installed payment apps for smoother and faster transactions.
› Location tracking
Not all desktop devices can track accurate locations. M-commerce apps use GPS to track live locations and provide personalized recommendations to users. For example, the app can show local discounts and show faster delivery options.
Security is still a big concern for the users who pay over the Internet. Smartphones nowadays can enable two-factor authentication, fingerprint and facial recognition to lock the apps and keep things secure.
Moreover, m-commerce provides dynamic functionalities to the users, makes the shopping experience better, helps in boosting sales by innovative, interactive and more personalized marketing strategies that can’t be possible in case of web apps.
Converting your e-commerce website into an m-commerce app
Developing an m-commerce app from scratch is an expensive task, especially if you are a small business or start-up. However, there is an alternate idea to do it. You can use your existing website resources for the development of the app. It will reduce costs and take lesser time to reach the market.
Here is how to turn your e-commerce website into an m-commerce app.
1. Identify the website platform
There are several platforms available in the market that helps you build e-commerce websites. For example, Magento, OpenCart, and WordPress plugin called WooCommerce.
Your website might have been developed using one such platform. Hence, the first thing to do is to identify the platform on which your website is built. This will determine the steps needed to be taken to build your m-commerce app.
2. Maintain consistency in look and feel
Since you are developing the mobile app based on the existing website, you have to ensure that the look and feel of the app is similar to that of the website.
There should be consistency in the user interface across the entire app so that the users don’t feel unfamiliar when they come from website to app.
It is a crucial move for visual branding of your business on both the platforms. The theme and colours used should show familiarity between the app and the site. Inconsistency can result in poor user experience and might distract users.
3. Finalize key features
Before moving into the development process, you have to decide the key features of the app. Below are the features and functionalities that your app shouldn’t be missing.
The users must verify themselves using an email address or mobile number to order something on the app.
› Push notifications
App should have this functionality to notify users about your offers, discounts, etc. to encourage them for purchasing.
› Catalogue and categories
All the items should be arranged properly in distinct categories so users can find them easily.
› Payment methods
There should be support for multiple payment methods like net banking, credit/debit card, PayPal and cash on delivery.
› Item tracking
Users should be able to track their items and check the status of the order.
› Customer support
Your customers might need to get in touch with you for queries related to products, services, or any other thing. Have functionality to support them via chat, emails, or phone.
4. Develop APIs
The content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Magento come with a closed loop of software components. The components can include the platform, server, database, and front-end of the website. These components make the website development easier by allowing interaction and exchange of data without any hassles.
However, things are different when it comes to mobile apps. To enable the exchange of data between the database and other components of the app, there is a need for API or Application Programming Interface.
For developing the app with the same database being used for your website, the developers would need to build several APIs. These APIs will enable seamless interaction between the components of your app and website.
5. Integrate APIs with app
To make your app work efficiently, you have to properly integrate the APIs with the app. Your website and app might have static and dynamic information which will be fetched by the APIs.
The proper integration of APIs will mean that if you make changes to dynamic information on your site or app, it will also change accordingly on both the platforms. For example, you are reducing the price of a product on the website, it should also be updated on the app. API integration will do that. Hence, the customers will see the same price whether they visit the app or the site.
6. Test all the parameters of the app
Testing all the features and functionalities of the app is a crucial phase of the app-development lifecycle. Every aspect of the app should be checked properly before you release it for the end-users. It should be taken care of that your app is following the legal guidelines and is compliant with privacy regulations.
All the bugs should be patched so that users don’t face any issues while using it.
7. Launch your m-commerce app
After the testing process, the final step is to launch it on app stores. App stores like Google Play Store and Apple App Store are a good medium to distribute the app and reach the audience. The users can easily download the app from there and get things started. You can also choose to distribute the app via third-party app stores.
There are a lot of benefits of a mobile app over dynamic websites. You will find that all the successful e-commerce businesses have their mobile apps and most of their revenue comes from the app.
It’s high time for you to turn your website into an app and make the most of your e-commerce business.
Let us know your thoughts via the comments section below.
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