Forward Thinking: Are Apps Outdoing Websites in the E-commerce Game?

The modern approach for small businesses

May 16, 2024

By: Maria

Did you know that m-commerce retail sales in the U.S. exceeded $491 billion in 2023? This staggering figure is expected to nearly double by 2027, reaching approximately $856 billion. Such explosive growth underscores the shift towards mobile-based commerce, with a significant portion of sales occurring through e-commerce apps.

As small businesses recognize these trends, more are turning to e-commerce apps as essential tools to enhance customer experience and drive sales. In an era where convenience is king, the agility and accessibility offered by apps are assets that small businesses can’t afford to overlook.

The Edge of Apps Over Websites

Apps Offer a Smoother, More Interactive Experience

The beauty industry is a prime example of how mobile apps leverage advanced technologies to enhance customer engagement. Apps like Sephora‘s utilize augmented reality (AR) technology to allow users to try on makeup virtually. This not only provides entertainment but also a level of interaction that websites struggle to match. The result is a smoother user experience that can significantly increase customer satisfaction and boost conversion rates. For small businesses looking to replicate this success, investing in AR and other interactive technologies can be a game changer.

Personalization Makes a Big Difference

In retail environments, such as local health and wellness stores at Ponce City Market, personalization through apps can transform the consumer experience. By using data to track user purchases and browsing behaviors, apps can offer highly personalized recommendations and discounts. This customization makes customers feel valued and understood, enhancing loyalty and encouraging repeat business. For small businesses, this means turning casual visitors into dedicated patrons.

A colorful 3D illustration of a blue drone representing the fast and innovative delivery solutions offered by e-commerce apps. The drone has a single large eye, using its propellers to balance an orange package. The vibrant motion lines around the propellers emphasize the drone's swift and efficient functionality.

Building Customer Loyalty Through Convenience

Convenience is paramount. Apps can provide this by enabling features such as order-ahead, payment, and loyalty rewards all from a smartphone. Starbucks is a notable example, where the app experience has become indispensable for many by integrating these features seamlessly. For small businesses, creating a similar app experience can solidify customer loyalty and increase the frequency of purchases.

Speed to Sale Is Crucial

At busy retail locations like Ponce City Market, fashion retailers benefit enormously from apps. Mobile applications simplify the browsing and purchasing process, allowing customers to swiftly move from selection to transaction—a critical advantage in the fast-paced fashion industry. This efficiency not only enhances the shopping experience but also minimizes the chance of cart abandonment, a common issue on slower websites.

Offline Features Add Value

Bookstores and entertainment businesses can leverage apps to offer unique offline features. Apps can enable functionalities such as offline content access and barcode scanning for price checks or detailed product information. These capabilities blend the digital and physical shopping experiences, offering conveniences that websites alone cannot provide, thereby enriching the customer’s shopping journey.

The Real Deal on Investing in an App

Developing an app might be pricier than setting up a website, but the investment often pays off by providing deeper insights into customer behaviors, supporting more effective marketing campaigns, and fostering stronger customer retention. For small businesses in competitive environments, an app can distinguish your offering from the crowd.

Who Really Benefits From an App?

Apps are particularly beneficial in sectors where real-time engagement is crucial, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and fashion boutiques. These industries benefit from functionalities like real-time inventory tracking, mobile checkouts, and personalized shopping experiences—features that modern consumers increasingly expect.

In conclusion, developing an e-commerce app is a smart strategic move. It’s about meeting customers where they are—on their phones, looking for the fastest, easiest, and most enjoyable shopping experience. If you’re considering how to elevate your small business, an app might just be your next best step.