2014 Holiday Mobile Commerce Guide

The Holidays are once again upon us in full force, meaning that the busiest shopping time of the year for ecommerce has hit! Merchants know the importance of a strong showing during this busy season.

Mobile commerce is a large component of the 2014 Holiday shopping season. According to a report from Internet Retailer, mobile shopping will account for over 33% of ecommerce sales.

Ecommerce merchants should be ready for the influx of mobile shoppers, or else they could jeopardize up to one-third of their Holiday sales. Fortunately, Apptive is here to help. Whether you are brand new to mobile commerce or a mobile aficionado, this guide will set you up for success this Holiday season!

Streamline Your Mobile Experience

The Holidays are fun and festive, but Holiday shopping can be less appealing than entering a cage with a rabid wolverine. Mobile shopping has been gaining popularity so rapidly because it is much easier to just pick up and order on your phone than it is to brave the wilds of the local mall. This advantage disappears immediately if your mobile experience sucks.

So how do you make your mobile presence not suck? There is actually a lot you can do, but at a base line there are two things that will at least establish you as a solid contender on mobile.

First thing’s first: make sure you have a mobile site. At a bare minimum, people need to see an established mobile presence when they navigate to your site through their device’s browser. Fortunately, modern ecommerce platforms realize the importance of the mobile web, and so most of them allow you to enable a mobile site by simply checking a box. Once you do, make sure that you actually visit the site on a mobile device (or ideally, several different ones). Make sure that the site is clear, illustrates your products well, and doesn’t in any way inhibit your customers’ path to purchase. If there are issues, contact your ecommerce platform ASAP and get it sorted out. Alternatively, if you find their mobile experience lacking, there are numerous third-party mobile site providers you can look into.

Second up: get a mobile app for your online store. The Apptive platform makes it quick and easy to get an app. Some people argue that mobile apps are extraneous when you have a mobile site, but that attitude is couched in a time where apps cost tens of thousands of dollars, thus making it hard to generate a good ROI. Now there is no reason to avoid getting an app. Customers who download your app give you the ability to reach them at any time with push notifications, promote deals, and take advantage in the latest native functionality of mobile devices. In short, a mobile app is the best way to engage with your customers, offering numerous options and functionality that the mobile web simply can’t provide.

Drum Up the Hype

Anticipation is a powerful thing, particularly around the Holiday season. Though it can occasionally seem like people are becoming jaded, in general they appreciate getting into the spirit. That means that if you want people to do their Holiday shopping through your store, you are going to have to build some excitement!

Mobile apps in particular offer a lot of opportunities to help generate interest in your products and events. Leading up to important Holiday events, you can send push notifications reminding your customers about the great deals they can expect. Mobile shoppers respond very well to images, so create some that showcase your products in festive ways.

A tangential but very valuable benefit to building this kind of anticipation through in-app activity is that it shows you have an interest in fostering an active mobile community. As mentioned above, the people who download your app are often your most loyal customers. When you release interesting content through your app they will feel like they are part of an exclusive club (and really, they are!) and will reward you by being responsive and making purchases through your app.

One small word of warning here though. When you deliver content directly to your customers through your app you will need to make sure that it is high quality, engaging and valuable for them. Don’t just send out repetitive messages or spammy content. At best your customers will turn off your push notifications. At worst they will uninstall your app and may avoid shopping with you in the future.

Capitalize on the Major Shopping Days

For better or worse, retailers and shoppers alike mark Black Friday as the beginning of the seasonal buying rush. It is also widely derided as a madhouse, and consumer frustration has increased as retailers push “Black Friday” back further and further in Thanksgiving. This year that practice has reached ridiculous levels, with many prominent leaders starting their deals at 6PM on Thursday. There has been tremendous pushback on this practice, with many customers going so far as to boycott those retailers that threaten to cut short a traditionally family oriented Holiday.

Fortunately, mobile commerce provides a way for retailers to take advantage of the buying fervor without angering their fans. Mobile-based Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals allow consumers to browse and buy from the comfort of their own home. Customers actually enjoy viewing deals on their mobile devices because it relieves the pressure of braving the crowds.

Again, the key here is offering tremendous value for customers buying on mobile. Part of the reason that people dive into the surge of Black Friday is fear of missing out on some spectacular offer. If your deals are not at least as good as those of physical retailers, you can forget it. The good news is that customers who have downloaded your app are much more likely to actually receive your deals, because push notifications allow you to send them right to their home screen. Those deals will cut through the clutter of promotions sent through email and social channels.

Of course, there are other, more advanced strategies that businesses can take advantage of as well. For instance, if you notice that a big-box retailer has a “door buster” item that you also sell, you can take advantage of the forced scarcity there. Often the chains will have fewer than a dozen of these hot items in stock, and people will be clamoring to get their hands on it. If you send a deal to customers during or shortly after the Black Friday heyday that features the same item, your fans will be very likely to buy it from you.

Final Thoughts and Holiday Cheers

The 2014 Holiday season will see the greatest increase in mobile sales yet. It is also important to remember that mobile commerce as a whole is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, so many of these Holiday strategies can be successfully incorporated into your campaigns year round!

Enterprise Mobile Commerce Apps

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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!

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!

 

Announcing our Bigcommerce API Integration

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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:

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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 support@apptive.com.

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

 

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!