Mobile & Coronavirus

Now is not the time to hit the pause button. Retailers that make bold moves to adjust to the realities of COVID-19 will likely weather this storm far better than those who don’t.


These are strange times. Uncharted territory. The new normal is changing daily and it can be scary and bewildering.

For online retailers, there seem to be two divergent strategies emerging. The first is to push “pause” on ecommerce related projects and see what happens. The second is to move forward with projects geared specifically toward helping mobile consumers get what they need and want safely and effectively, online, to drive sales and position now for when we come out of this period of uncertainty.

Holiday 2020 is not going away and, if social distancing protocols and other measures stay in place though autumn, there will be a significant opportunity to serve consumers not allowed to crowd into physical stores. Even if officials lift the protocols, most industry experts predict a change that will be lasting. Smart retailers are positioning now to benefit.

Timing is everything

According to Nate Smith of Adobe:, “Right now, as consumers increasingly use digital methods to prepare for a possible emergency, retailers need to ensure smooth, frictionless, and fast experiences on their ecommerce websites and mobile applications. Meeting your customers’ needs and expectations at a time like this is imperative: it could either make or break your brand.” advertisement

Making these bold moves might seem risky in uncertain times. But they can pay off big time if they honor the trajectory of the numbers being seen and take note of the fact that consumers who were not previously well-acquainted with mobile/online shopping are now taking a crash course. Remember that, while most of us think that ecommerce is a dominant force in people’s lives, it only represented about 11% of US retail sales in 2019, according to eMarketer.

While forecasts were calling for only a small increase in this percentage in 2020, the coronavirus might dramatically increase this number and change the game.

Shelter in place impact to online sales

According to retail expert Shelley Kohan writing in Forbes, “In 2020, e-commerce is expected to represent 12% of total retail sales; however, a change in consumer behavior in the first quarter of this year due to the coronavirus can impact the future quarters for 2020 and have a profound impact on holiday sales. As the consumer’s comfort with online shopping becomes higher and technology is more intuitive and ubiquitous, the digital side of the retail business may be stepped up at a faster rate than previous projections.”

Put another way, for most online retailers, now is probably not the time to push the pause button. For some, the next quarter represents an opportunity to take advantage of a massive number of people quite literally shopping only online, as social distancing rules may soon make everything except grocery runs and trips to the pharmacy impossible.

Adapt or get rolled

Smart businesses are adapting fast to a new, changing economy that necessitates the need for less face to face interaction. Rather than delay projects, they are accelerating them, as shelter in place orders sweep the nation. advertisement

An obvious example of a feature that is suddenly very relevant to retailers that offer it is BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store). In most cases, the pickup is a outside the store, but the same principle applies. Having this option now takes on a whole new meaning, as customers can avoid crowded checkout lines and dirty pin pads, a possible vector for the virus. For restaurants, this option can mean the difference between solvency and going out of business.

According to Warren Shouldberg in Forbes, “these developments were in the works before the pandemic, and the .. ramp up online would have happened eventually. But the coronavirus has sped up the process and put those slow to the gate in deep danger. Millions of shoppers who would have never considered shopping online have been forced to do so, and it’s quite likely most will like the experience and come back for more.”

The slow and steady shift to a more virtual retail world has suddenly changed from a future we might someday see to the new must-do for businesses that want to make it through this.

Obvious winners 

Some companies are shining in the new “shelter in place” normal. Online conferencing services like Zoom see explosive growth for obvious reasons, as work-from-home employees seek collaboration. Premade meal delivery companies like Blue Apron (a 500% increase reported) and grocery delivery services like Instacart (hiring 300,000 workers) are booming. But these are the obvious winners.

For “bricks and clicks” retailers with ecommerce and traditional physical stores, the path to success in our hunkered down, newly more-virtual economy is not so clear. These retailers will have to shift to all-online as fast as possible. Those without an online option will likely not make it through this. advertisement

A real example of a bricks and clicks retailer doing things right is Binny’s Beverage Depot. Binny’s is a liquor store chain with 42 locations in Illinois and they have a native application built and hosted by the company I work for. They have an iOS and Android app integrated with their ecommerce platform.

On March 21, Illinois issued a shelter in place order and the usage stats for their apps skyrocketed. For example, their month over month daily new users stat jumped an incredible 242% on Saturday March 28, a week after the shelter in place order was issued. On the Saturday the order was issued, their total user sessions for their iOS app jumped 72% from a “normal” Saturday, 2 weeks prior.

For online-only “pure-play” retailers, this is a real opportunity to shine. The real choice is not whether to continue with previous plans for incremental site improvements or to hit the pause button, but, instead, how to identify and accelerate specific projects that will be crucial in a new, rapidly evolving online retail landscape.

To app or not to app?

While the knee jerk temptation might be to “freeze” projects that involve vendors, some retailers are approaching this from a different perspective and moving forward now, toward a new virtual future that includes a native app in their retail offering.

For many mid-sized pure-play online retailers, a native app has been on the table for some time—an ongoing discussion. Done right, an app is a personal and more deeply engaging extension of an ecommerce operation and, done right, can convert sales two to six times better than a website accessed by browsing via mobile. Amazon has this dialed. App-only features like push notifications can mean direct engagement with customers, at a time when this sort of direct connection is welcomed and needed more than ever. Super-fast page-load times and the other inherent app-specific benefits add to the case for an app. advertisement

The coronavirus effect

As senior retail contributor Warren Shouldberg aptly points out in Forbes, “No one knows what will happen next with the coronavirus crisis, but when it comes to how Americans are shopping, there is one thing of total and utmost certainty: Online retailing will gain market share and become much more popular. That irrefutable outcome of the pandemic will make retailers that have never truly developed e-commerce capabilities—or, worse, walked away from the channel—do a 180-degree turn and put a massive push behind getting their online operations into competitive shape.”

This report, from the editors of Digital Commerce 360, will provide survey data, analysis and interviews from retailers, marketplace sellers, consultants and vendors on how they are are revising their strategies in light of the coronavirus pandemic.Get the Resource

This pandemic will end at some point and, when it does, there will be clear winners and losers. Retailers that made bold moves to adjust and shape their offering toward a customer base seeking deeper engagement and smoother, easier checkout will likely weather this storm far better than those who chose to hit the brakes on ecommerce initiatives and online innovation. More importantly, they will be ahead of the curve, as the new normal that emerges will almost certainly have mobile commerce as a cornerstone.

Shouldberg goes on to say, “All of these developments were in the works before the pandemic, and the transitions needed by both entire sectors and individual companies to ramp up online would have happened eventually. But the coronavirus has sped up the process and put those slow to the gate in deep danger. Millions of shoppers who would have never considered shopping online have been forced to do so, and it’s quite likely most will like the experience and come back for more.”

We agree.

Mobile shines

As parents juggle kids that need homeschooling and try to work from a new office, they are “on the run” and smartphones are always on in a very real sense, even in the home. Given this, having an effective mobile commerce offering means you can deliver the sort of quick ordering experience that has a real impact regarding safety and convenience.

Convenience no longer means “saving a little time.” For most, it now literally means avoiding nerve-wracking trips to a store, assuming stores are even open. If retail stores are closed, then mobile commerce may be the only option and retailers well-positioned to deliver the best possible experience will shine and those that are not will suffer.

In conclusion

Be safe. Be well. Be careful. But also remember that online purchasing behaviors are changing very quickly as consumers use ecommerce as never before.

While a good, well-designed mobile app might take 4 to 6 weeks to build, it is becoming increasingly clear that this new normal is not going to be a short one. And, even after the pandemic settles down, we are going to see long-lasting and far-reaching effects. Apps convert sales at a far higher rate than mobile sites and offer deeper engagement at a time when this is most needed.

The time for boldness is now, as every minute online retailers wait is potentially another minute, they are not giving customers the right tool for the job. The temptation may be to lay low, to hunker down and to “hit pause” on new initiatives that cost money. But there is real opportunity to shine and to be bold, as the country moves online, fast.

This piece was published April 2, 2020 in Digital Commerce 360. Here is a LINK to the original article. Email the author here.

The Sooner You Know Tablet Commerce, The Better

Tablets, once thought to be mere entertainment consumption devices, are taking the mobile commerce world by storm. Even as tablet sales themselves have started to slow down, mobile commerce conducted through tablets is ramping up big time. You need to familiarize yourself with the way tablet based ecommerce has been trending or you are in danger of being caught without a key sales platform!

Tablets Are Everywhere

The first compelling bit of information you should know: tablets are all over the place. In the U.S., nearly 30% of homes own a tablet of some kind. That’s 81 million people that actually own the tablet, and many more that actually use them regularly (think tablets shared amongst family members). Worldwide, tablet sales ownership is expected to increase five-fold by 2017. In short, more people are using tablets in their daily lives than ever before, and that trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.

Customers Will Judge You Based on Their Tablets

Here’s a stat that could potentially be frightening for ecommerce merchants who haven’t put much thought into tablet strategy: 77% of tablet owners report that a sub-optimal tablet experience will affect their willingness to buy from an ecommerce site. If you are partnered with an ecommerce platform like Shopify or Bigcommerce then you have the option to switch on mobile-optimized stores, but even then if you do not have a tablet-friendly design then your website can be a liability.

People Use Tablets For All Facets Of Online Shopping

Right up front, you should know that 31% of tablet owners will use their device for purchases in 2014. That means, if you don’t have a tablet-optimized presence, then you will miss out on over 25 million potential customers. But actually buying from a tablet is not the only shopping behavior device owners engage in. These behaviors are many and varied, but consider that 66% use tablets to research purchases before buying on a desktop, 63% use tablets to check prices, and 54% use them to read ratings and reviews. The implications of not focusing on a tablet-based audience add up very, very quickly.

But Here’s The Good News!

All of these powerful stats that punish those individuals who haven’t upped their tablet game offer major rewards for businesses that have! You can immediately capture the value of tablet commerce by offering a tablet-optimized website and mobile app. That pairing will provide the optimum benefit for both new and returning customers, keep them happy and making you profitable!

Special thanks to Usablenet and Get Elastic for sharing this fantastic infographic that contained many of the stats used in this post!

Enterprise Mobile Commerce Apps


At Apptive, our philosophy has always been that every company should have the ability to compete in the mobile space. Native apps provide the optimal mobile presence, and so our DIY platform offers ecommerce merchants of every size the ability to create a mobile app for their store quickly, easily and affordably. We do this by providing a robust creation platform that gives merchants control over the design and functionality of their apps. Our module system provides access to the functionality that the majority of ecommerce owners need, such as the ability to sell products from their app and send messages and deals to their customers.

Still, even though our DIY platform works exceedingly well for merchants of all sizes, we have had inquiries from enterprise-level ecommerce brands who simply need more. These types of one-off custom projects are often geared towards a specific store, offering functionality that would not be useful to another merchant even if they exist in the same space.These larger retailers have also requested highly customized design or templates that are unique to their brand.

Now, we are excited to announce Apptive Enterprise Apps! These apps are built using on the backbone of our existing robust mobile commerce platform, but offer extensive customization options in feature set, design, and functionality. Apptive Enterprise Apps can be tailor-made for enterprise-level retailers that need specific functionality or design that would fall outside of our existing DIY platform.

Apptive Enterprise Apps offer a number of advantages over apps produced on a one-off basis by traditional development shops. Of these, the most important to enterprise-level retailers is rapid time to market and competitive pricing. Because Apptive has extensive experience working with ecommerce platforms and merchants, we are able to quickly build a custom app over our well-tested mobile commerce framework, meaning that we can focus on the additional specific features that will make an Apptive Enterprise App appealing without focusing on development logistics or fundamental programming problems. For that same reason we are able to offer our enterprise-level apps at a significantly more competitive rate than a shop that would have to spend time and resources on building an app from the ground up.

Our team has extensive experience working with ecommerce platforms and merchants. If you would like more info on Apptive Enterprise Apps, or to speak with an Apptive team member about a project you’d like us to complete, just click here!

Gartner Names Apptive a Cool Vendor in Digital Commerce for 2014!


Research firm Gartner has announced Apptive as one of their Cool Vendors in Digital Commerce for 2014!

Gartner states, “Mobile commerce continues to gain traction with consumers who utilize their devices as an aid in their shopping experiences. Apptive allows merchants of all shapes and sizes to easily add a mobile presence to their customer-facing strategy.”


We’ve been hard at work fine-tuning Apptive to become the easiest, most beneficial mobile solution for ecommerce store owners. We know our customers love us (just check out our reviews on the Bigcommerce and Shopify app stores!) but it is great to have a firm with the reputation of Gartner select us as one of their cool vendors this year!

To access the full report, just click here!

P.S. If you are not yet an Apptive user, we’d love for you to check out our platform and enjoy a FREE 30 day trial! It’s fast and fun to build an app for your ecommerce store, so get started now!


Announcing Apptive’s Partnership With Shopify!

Apptive partners with Shopify

We are extremely excited to announce our new partnership with Shopify! While we believe that this relationship will prove mutually beneficial for both Apptive and Shopify, Shopify Merchants stand to gain the most from this combination of top-notch ecommerce and mobile commerce solutions!

Check out more from our press release below:

Apptive, the Austin-based mobile commerce app creation and management platform, is excited to announce their new partnership with Shopify. Apptive has integrated directly with the Shopify API and Shopify App Store to make it simple and fast for Shopify merchants who wish to expand their mobile commerce strategy with an app.

“It has become clear that native mobile commerce apps will continue to grow in importance for our merchants. Apptive offers a compelling option for store owners looking for a convenient, affordable solution that is directly integrated with Shopify”, saysBlair Beckwith, Head of Shopify App Store.

Apptive has found success in the eCommerce sector with its EasyApp platform, a drag and drop app creation and management solution geared towards eCommerce platforms …

Read the rest of the release here!


Bigcommerce Launches New Integrated App Store

Bigcommerce App Store


We are excited to announce that our partners at Bigcommerce have launched their new integrated app store! Bigcommerce customers will have unprecedented access to apps that will assist ecommerce merchants in all of their marketing and selling efforts. Apptive is proud to be amongst the first group of integrated apps for Bigcommerce merchants!

From the Bigcommerce announcement:

“Part of being a true platform means having a seamless and delightful experience for your clients, regardless of what they’re trying to do. While our app store was great, the experience of finding, installing and managing apps was less than ideal. By bringing the app store right into the Bigcommerce experience, we’ve made it easy to browse, search, install and manage all of the apps you use with Bigcommerce.”

Check out the full story here!

Announcing our Bigcommerce API Integration



As part of our ongoing efforts to make our mobile apps for Bigcommerce customers as effective as possible, we are extremely excited to announce our Bigcommerce API integration! This integration allows us to tie our “Store” module directly to your Bigcommerce online store. We have created a vastly improved experience for Bigcommerce customers.

Some of the features of our new integration are:

  • Improved category structure for products

  • Updates made to the app as soon as updates are made on the Bigcommerce site

  • Design features reflect those in the mobile app

  • Improved product navigation

  • Top level showcase of popular products


We would also like to call special attention to a particularly exciting feature, product search with autocomplete:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.51.28 PM

This functionality will make it easier than ever for mobile customers to search for products on your Bigcommerce store. Drawing from both product title and keywords your customers can identify and purchase products seamlessly.

We will continue to improve and expand our integration to create the best Bigcommerce mobile apps possible.

If you are a current Bigcommerce customer and would like to see your app with the new store module, please send an email to

New Bigcommerce customers should try our builder now to check out these exciting features for themselves!


App Store Optimization

Follow these tips to increase visibility of your mobile app in the App Store and Google Play!



eCommerce Mobile Apps

eCommerce is going mobile! Enjoy this short promotional video and please share with anyone who has an ecommerce site. Going mobile allows online store owners to drastically extend their reach to engage customers no matter where they are!


Mobile Apps for Ecommerce


Apptive CEO Chris Belew discusses the rise in mobile Ecommerce and how store owners can take advantage with a mobile app!