How to Design the Ultimate Fashion App

A mobile app is a great way to promote a fashion store. It allows consumers a great way to interact with a store wherever they are. Fashion also gives you a pretty distinct advantage. You are able to very carefully focus your marketing and content to a specific demographic. However, before you start promoting your app and raking in the rewards, you’ll need to create something your customers will love to look at and use!

1. Focus on the Product

With all of the freedom non-technical users now have when it comes to design for apps and mobile websites, it can be hard not to take advantage of and create something flashy. And sometimes that’s ok! But the focus always needs to stay on the fashion! Sometimes this can be achieved in relatively obvious ways (matching color schemes to specific lines, featuring a logo that appears on your clothing, etc.). Sometimes, it requires a little more subtlety and tact. Often it pays to have the app color scheme in cool, faded or even neutral tones so that the products really pop off the page.

2. Include Functionality That Matters

Consider this an offshoot of the previous point. Mobile apps, and in particular those created on the Apptive platform, can offer a wide variety of functionality. It can be tempting to add quite a bit of extraneous options “just in case.” Unfortunately, this type of preparatory thinking can lead to a bloated app. Think about the specific ways that you want to engage with your customers, and how you want them to engage with you. Once they are in your app, you want them to be marveling at your clothes, not lost in a menu!

At a basic level, you should include your store (naturally), a way to send push notifications to your customers, and a way for your customers to contact you directly.

3. Use Images Wherever Possible

Images are probably the most important type of content you can include in your app. To put it directly, if you have the option to include an image in a section of your app, do it. This relatively minor step can dramatically increase the time a user spends in a section of your app, as well as the conversions associated with that page. The best use of images in an app is most certainly associated with and deals you might want to send out. Showcasing your clothing with a beautiful image will entice customers to take advantage of your offer as soon as they open your push notification!

4. Change Your Style With The Season

Mobile apps built with Apptive can be easily updated, meaning you are not stuck with one design! As your products change with the season, update your app accordingly. It will look relevant, it will match your new styles, and your customers will definitely take notice when they dive in! Note that you can also update designs when you are releasing a new line, or just whenever you feel like it. As long as you always make sure to keep the focus on the product, you can always match the design of your app to the mood you want to invoke.

5. Make Text Fun

People often have a great penchant for talking about their fashion in person, but we occasionally see people tone down their language when it comes to their app. Because you (hopefully) use comparatively smaller amounts of text when dealing with a mobile audience, you need to make every word have serious impact! We’re not talking about inserting flowery language here, but using sensory words will inspire your mobile audience to stick around and read more.

These tips will help you put together the ultimate fashion app! With the right approach, you’ll have your customers shopping your latest styles right from your app in no time. Let us know if you’ve got any more tips for creating an app to showcase your fashion store!

P.S. Want to get started with a mobile app for your online store? Just click here and you’ll have your own in a flash!

Five Tips To Maximize Mcommerce App Installs

Mcommerce App Growth

One of the greatest concerns of online store owners who want an mcommerce app revolves around how to quickly grow their install base. It is a valid concern, for as we’ve mentioned previously mobile apps serve best as a customer engagement channel rather than an awareness-generation tool. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure that you take the necessary steps to position your app for day one success!

1. App Store Optimization for Mcommerce Apps

App store optimization is a crucial step in assuring you get customer downloads, but it has its limitations as well. Mcommerce apps are almost always promoted by the online store owner, and so it is important that the store information aligns appropriately. Most importantly, this means choosing a name that matches with what your customers would expect to search for. If your store name is “Auto Parts Plus” it would be a good idea to name your app the same, vs. “Awesome Auto App” or something of the kind. App descriptions and keywords are also factored in to some degree, but if you build your app with Apptive we’ll optimize that for you!

2. Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

One of the best ways to promote your mcommerce app is through direct download badges from the App Store and Google Play. Apptive provides you with these badges to make it easy to use them as soon as your app is live. They are most effective when placed on the home page of your website, but you should also include them wherever you have the ability to add HTML elements. Our customers have had great success including the badges as clickable elements within emails, for instance.

3. Awareness Channel Saturation

The most consistently effective means of driving regular app downloads are your awareness channels. Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Often customers engage in heavy initial promotion of their app through these channels, then taper off. However, consistent (though not spammy) promotion will offer the greatest long-term results. Remember, an app is best used as a customer engagement tool. It only continues to grow in value over time as downloads increase.

4. Consistent Deals and/or Messages

Customers who create mcommerce apps with Apptive have the ability to include a “Deals” or “Messages” module within their app. In addition to serving as a repository for relevant messages and a collection of current deals, these modules allow you to send these messages and deals as push notifications. This means that they will appear directly on your customer’s phones as long as they have push notifications enabled. Obviously, they are a great way to increase sales, but they also keep the app fresh in the mind of your customers whenever they get a push notification. Just don’t abuse the tool, as it is very difficult to convince customers to turn on push notifications once they’ve turned them off!

5. Encourage Positive Reviews

Once you’ve directed people to your app download page, the final hurdle is validation. People are used to seeing reviews for apps to gauge their usefulness. You should encourage anyone who downloads your app to leave a review so that future customers can get proof that your app is truly a high-quality means of connecting with your store!

If you follow these steps then you can quickly create a large install-base of loyal customers that will continue to buy from and support your online store.

Let us know if you have any other tips for getting customer installs, we’re always interested to see how creative our customers are!

The Mobile Landing Page


Landing pages allow marketers and business owners to direct customers to a specialized page geared toward a certain goal. Online store owners, for instance, might direct customers to a sales page or a preorder form for a new product. The pages themselves offer room for very tight customization and focus. Since there is only one goal on most pages, it is much easier to optimize for conversion towards that goal.

The issue in most of these cases is the ability to effectively drive customers to that page. Due to the nature of page testing, it is difficult to optimize unless there is a steady stream of traffic to that page. Fortunately, mobile apps offer a convenient way to direct highly targeted customers to your landing page or even to a deal that will result in a direct transaction.

Once a customer has downloaded your app, you can send a message out through push notification to instantly reach everyone who has enabled notifications. They are a fantastic way to cut through the clutter and get eyes on your page. Apptive offers two modules geared specifically towards this purpose through our Deals and Messages modules. Ecommerce customers who include one or both of these modules in their apps can instantly enable highly targeted interactions with their customers.

Mobile Fanaticism

Mobile Fanboys


If you’ve frequented any tech blogs within the past several years, you are likely (very) familiar with the above term. To the uninitiated, it is a derogatory remark thrown at an individual that supports or even just speaks favorably about one company. Recently, it seems that it is thrown around predominantly when discussing the relative merits of iOS vs Android operating systems, but it is a wide-ranging term.

So, “Fanboy” might be construed as a fanatic. And what is a fanatic?

Winston Churchill once said, “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

After watching a massive crowd wait in the streets for days on end to get hot new devices like the latest iPhone, you might think this isn’t too far off the mark.

Certainly, a fanatic may not always be the best person to cordially debate with. But consider the business implication. When you are talking about an emergent trend that can benefit your business, in this case the mobile ecosystem in general, do you want your customers to change their mind? Do you want them to change the subject?

Consider also that widespread fandom also fosters a sense of community. By appealing to said community, you increase the virality of both your product and message.

Just something to think about the next time you see a flame-war on your favorite tech blog or news site.

Increase Content Exposure with a Mobile App


Excellent content is a prerequisite for effective business engagement nowadays. However, anyone who has dipped their toe in the pool of content marketing knows that the content itself is only one part of the battle. Content exposure is equally, if not more important to great content. After all, the most eloquent and helpful guide in the world is useless to you if no one ever reads it!

In the past, email and social marketing were the primary ways to spread content. Let me state up front, these methods are the standard for a reason. They can be incredibly effective assuming you have a large audience. However, in terms of raw efficiency they can not match a mobile app.

You can reach users who have downloaded a mobile app through push notifications, which completely change the game where engagement is concerned. Consider the fact that a 20-25% open rate for emails is generally considered very good. Now, compare that to push notification views. Because push notifications appear directly on a customers smartphone, views of 40% or higher are not at all uncommon. An app allows you to cut through the clutter and reach your customers directly.

Reflections on a Mobile Reservation

mobile reservations

I needed to book a table for a good friend’s birthday. I did a bit of preliminary research and picked up the phone. However, I did not use it to enter a telephone number. Rather, I opened up that restaurant’s app, which had a direct link to OpenTable. I made my reservation through there. Because I was the one who physically entered the details of the reservation, I knew there would be no mistakes due to human error. I even got a confirmation message so I knew that the restaurant was also on board.

After I finished this, I was struck by a thought: even though I regularly write and research on mobile topics, strategies and trends, I was somewhat bewildered by just how natural the mobile reservation process was. Just two years ago I would’ve been dialing in to the restaurant, waiting while someone checked schedules and took my information over the phone. That would have felt like the safe bet, rather than turning to an app that may or may not be proven. In two years time, my view has completely shifted.

At this point, many people expect a mobile presence from businesses of any type. While online businesses were the first to gain the most direct mobile-driven revenue, restaurants and other forms of brick-and-mortar businesses have been looped into the fold. At this point, it would feel somewhat strange to me if a business didn’t have some sort of mobile integration, even if it is simply a mobile-optimized menu shared through Yelp!. A mobile offering today is what credit card readers were years ago. It will soon seem downright bizarre if a restaurant can’t take a mobile reservation or showcase a menu easily to mobile customers.

With Mobile Apps, If You’re Not First You’re Last


We’ve spoken before about the fact that mobile apps are quickly catching on for businesses of all types, but we’ve also relayed the fact that you can get in on the front end of the M-commerce trend. Now we can see that moving quickly to establish a mobile presence quickly is paramount if you want to yield maximum results from your mobile apps.

A recent study reported that, while users are eager to use app functionality, they rarely allow existing apps to be displaced by newer ones regardless of marketing. In layman’s terms, it means that if you do not deliver what a customer is seeking first, they are not particularly likely to download your app later.

Of course, much of this is dependent upon your business. If you are an E-commerce store then obviously there is not going to be an app exactly like yours. However, do consider that if a customer does find a similar app they are not going to have much of an incentive to try something new. That applies equally well to tacos or shoes.

One more thing to consider. Once you have your app, you should do a good job engaging with your customers with regular content, messages, etc. Particularly if you manage to take over a certain niche first, you can quickly build up a powerful connection and keep them from straying over to a competitor once they inevitably go mobile!

Plus, with great power comes great responsibility and all that.

Announcing the App Analytics Center

We’re proud to announce the release of our analytics center! Now Apptive customers can get valuable insight into the performance of their apps right from the management console.

Infographic: M-Commerce & You!

There has been a lot of buzz about m-commerce (or “mobile ecommerce”) lately, so we’ve put together an infographic that will let you know a little bit more about this developing trend as well as some strategies you can use to include m-commerce in your business!

M-Commerce & You!

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M-Commerce & You!

A Close Look at the Three Types of Mobile Presence


Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need to establish a mobile presence. In fact, the statistics indicate that taking a business mobile may be one of the most profitable methods of customer engagement possible in the near future. But what does going mobile entail, and more basically, what does it look like? It turns out there are numerous methods to take a business mobile. In fact, most businesses have (perhaps inadvertently) baked in some elements of a mobile presence through their activities on popular social sites or other forms of customer communication.

Still, when we refer to a true mobile presence, we are implying a direct link to your business itself, not a page on Facebook or a Twitter profile. With those constraints in mind, there are really three forms of a mobile presence: A full website accessed through a mobile browser, a mobile-optimized website, and a mobile app. As you might expect, there are varying levels of value and functionality for each.

A little over a year ago we discussed three ways to establish a mobile presence. This is a closer look at each of the options, so you can get a better understanding of the differences.

The Full Website Through a Mobile Browser

This is absolutely the most basic form of a mobile presence. Essentially, this is just the same version of your website that people would access from their desktop. It is also the most “convenient” form of web presence, in the sense that you don’t have to actually do anything. Further, it would be wrong to imply that such a presence is useless. People can still access your pages and even interact with your site in basic ways.

Still, the drawbacks are present and in some cases severe. First, traditional web design is meant to be viewed on a relatively large monitor, meaning that something that looks great at full-size may look crowded, confusing or difficult to decipher on a small smartphone screen. Further, there are numerous elements regularly used in websites that just won’t work on certain mobile devices *cough* Flash on iPhones and iPads *cough*. Finally, this type of presence does not capitalize on any of the unique capabilities of smartphones. You can not send or receive direct notifications, detect motion, or leverage location-aware capabilities. Therefore, while a full website through a mobile browser is not a death sentence for your business by any stretch of the imagination, it is not a particularly effective mobile engagement tool.

The Mobile-Optimized Website

A mobile-optimized website addresses several of the user interface issues of the full-website viewed through a web browser. Most importantly, it detects when users are trying to access a website with a mobile device and automatically shifts the design to one formatted for mobile. This helps to clear up confusion and often increases both ease of navigation and aesthetic quality. Finally, the mobile-optimized website is relatively easy to “build.” Some services will even automatically render an existing website into a mobile-optimized version for a small fee.

However, a mobile-optimized site is ultimately a layer placed over an existing website to mask interface problems. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but doesn’t address a fundamental problem of relying on a browser to deliver a mobile experience: it doesn’t take full advantage of smartphone capabilities. Ultimately, a mobile-optimized website serves its purpose as a front-facing customer information channel. However, if you really want to engage with customers you are going to need more functionality.

The Mobile App

Mobile apps might appear very similar to mobile optimized websites at first glance, because they often share similar navigation and design elements. Static content, such as lists of menu items and “About Us” pages will also be almost identical. The major difference comes in the interactive elements a mobile app can afford. If you want to be able to send messages directly to customers smartphones through push notification (thus avoiding email clutter and SMS fees), facilitate the purchase of products and services right from a customer’s smartphone, and integrate with smartphone hardware such as a camera, then the mobile app is the way to go.

Of course, there are some downsides to the mobile app as well. In terms of cost and development time, apps have traditionally been much more expensive compared to mobile-optimized websites. They also require more attention from a business, as stagnant apps are likely to be deleted from customer phones. However, recent developments in software that allow you to build an app yourself do alleviate these issues a great deal, making development time and cost very competitive with the mobile-website optimization.

These are the three ways to establish a mobile presence on a customer’s phone. Clearly, the mobile app offers the greatest customer engagement and direct-sales potential, but the mobile-optimized site does offer some advantages.

Which of these options have you explored for your own business? Have you been engaging in a mobile strategy or have you been holding back?