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.

Retail Apps: How To Calculate ROI

Retail Apps: How To Calculate ROI

Did you know that 50% of online retailers cite mobile apps as a top priority for their 2019 omnichnnel strategy (source)?

Are you aware that 66% of all online mobile revenue in Q4 2017 was generated by apps and that apps converted sales 3X better than mobile websites (source)?

The case for an app has never been stronger, but many retailers remain hesitant and wonder if consumers will download their app and if new app revenue will give them a solid Return On Investment (ROI) .

In this article I will: 1) Set the stage with usage and conversion growth stats for retail apps, 2) Cover the 3 most common ways retail apps are built, and, 3) Describe how retailers can calculate ROI for an app build.

Note: When I use the term “app” in this piece, I am really talking about TWO apps (iOS and Android).

App Usage Stats

Before we talk about ROI, it’s important to look at some app usage statistics. Stats show that consumers strongly prefer apps over mobile sites, and apps out-perform mobile websites, regarding conversions and revenue generation.

According to Comscore, apps accounted for fully 87% of all US mobile traffic measured in 2017 and that number is accelerating (chart below). Year-over-year “Shopping” mobile app usage grew 54% in 2017- the biggest jump of all categories measured (source)

Shopping apps are being used by consumers like never before and we can look to the recent 2018 Holiday Season for proof. According to Internet Retailer, consumers downloaded nearly 10M shopping apps on the 5 days of the 2018 Black Friday weekend.


While mobile commerce continues to skyrocket, generally, app adoption stands out, with retail app usage by consumers doubling in 2018 (source).

The vast majority of time spent on mobile is spent on apps. According to a report by Criteo, native retail apps generated 66% of all mobile commerce revenue – twice as much revenue as mobile websites. Apps even outperformed desktop eCommerce sites—accounting for 44% of all online sales in Q4 2017, versus just 33% for desktop in the same period.

And consumers like using apps. According to Business Insider, the app millennials rated as “Most Essential” was Amazon (35%), beating out all social media apps (chart below).

As compared to older mobile users, millennials are 3X more likely to embrace apps and be excited about new features added to apps they already use (ComScore). Most millennials are looking for new apps and wish they could better-utilize the apps they have on their phones

Options For Building Retail Apps

Now that we have looked at the stats, let’s shift gears and take a look at the the three most-common approaches for building native mobile apps. One option I do NOT cover here is an “app wrapper” approach – whereby your current mobile web experience is simply “framed” inside an app. This is not a real app experience and offers few of the benefits.

Note: shopping apps must be integrated with the ecommerce platform a retailer is already using (Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc) and using a solution provider that has experience in this regard is key.

The three most-common approaches for building a native app are:

  • The Agency Model. This typically means hiring a design agency to create the UI and then having the code written. These projects are typically in the $100K+ range and require the retailer to support the app code (for both apps). Remember, most agencies do not have deep ecommerce integration experience. So, while they might deliver stunning designs, their lack of ecommerce platform integration experience might come back to haunt you.
  • The In-House Model, where a retailer staffs up and has the resources to design and build and maintain both apps, in-house. This may be the right choice for big retailers who want their native app experience to be a core competency – one they want to strategically invest in, via resources and infrastructure they own.
  • The SaaS Platform Model whereby a retailer works with a third party Software As A Service (SaaS) platform that is already integrated with the published APIs from most major ecommerce platforms.  The solution provider delivers custom designs on top of this proven “foundation” for both iOS and Android. The partner builds and hosts the apps and provides a secure control panel to the retailer, for changing imagery, sending push messaging, etc.

So, as you consider these three approaches, keep the Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO) in-mind, over the long-term. Both Google and Apple introduce new device platforms and software updates quite often. A big part of having an app is supporting that app and keeping things smoothly integrated with your ecommence platform and generally up-to-date.

Calculating ROI – Conversions, Conversions, Conversions

ROI is simply a matter of generating enough revenue to pay back the investment on a net basis. This can be calculated via pure math, but there should also be a value placed on a better user experience. While the latter is harder to quantify, the former is literally a matter of tracking app sales and applying the net upside (after margin) to the cost of the project. With proper GA tagging, this is as easy as looking at your analytics dashboard.

Native mobile apps convert sales at a rate significantly higher than mobile sites served via a browser. This all-important conversion rate metric is the first place to look, when considering how to calculate app-build ROI.

Online retailers should start by knowing their current mobile website conversion rate. Put simply, this is the number of people who had a chance to buy (site visitors) and then did so (transactions) and Google Analytics breaks this out. Typically, mobile sites offer conversion rates stuck in the 1.5-2.0% range (about half that of desktop conversion rate). Native mobile apps, on the other hand, boast conversion rates averaging 6%, according to Forrester.  

While this conversion rate lift should be reason alone to build a native app, here are some more stats to further the case:

  • App users browse more products (22 on average vs 5.7 for mobile web).
  • App users add more to cart (24% vs. 13% for mobile web).
  • App users complete more purchases, once they add an item to their cart (54% for apps vs. 44% for mobile web).

So, if your conversion rate from mobile traffic to your responsive website is stagnant (and you should find out), a native app can turbocharge this all-important conversion rate stat and allow you to reap the rewards in terms of additional revenue.

Calculating ROI – Personalized Engagement With Your Best Customers

But more revenue from higher conversion rates is just PART of the reason to build an app. Statistically- speaking just 10% of your customers generate a whopping 40%+ of your sales and these are the VIP customers that are most-likely to download and use your app. An app provides important engagement benefits for these customers and here are some specific ways an app can help you take personalized customer engagement to a deeper level:

  • Push Notifications:  Unlike email blasts that get lost in the clutter, specific calls to action delivered via in-app push messages are rendered only to opt-in customers who have your app – the very customers most-likely to act upon the offer presented. Click through rates for push messages averaged 7.8% in 2018 (source).
  • In-Store Engagement: App features like location-awareness, barcode-scanning, product image recognition, AR, beacons, and buy online and pick-up in-store (BOPIS) can all be used to drive app users to physical stores. This cross-channel appeal is key to understand.
  • Loyalty: Apps are perfectly suited to incorporate Loyalty Programs, because the interaction with the app is inherently personalized. When the app is opened, the user is ALREADY logged in and the experience is tailored to them, including the display of points earned, discounts awarded, etc. Treating your app-download customer base as a special subset of your loyal customer base can generate big rewards.
  • Augmented Reality/Visual Search: Apps can activate the camera on the phone and then overlay real products into a scene, by way of Augmented Reality. Apps can also trigger visual search via image recognition to allow in-store interactions to drive sales. More and more retailers are experimenting with these app add-ons and the results are impressive. After all, 83% of consumers ages 18 to 44 used a mobile device in store in 2018 (source).

These examples of app-based interactions add personalized, deep engagement to the mobile shopping experience which can, in turn, drive more sales. They also link the digital and physical worlds so an app can support retail locations, as well as better online sales metrics.

Calculating ROI – Faster Checkout, Less Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is a BIG problem on the mobile web, with over 85% of all mobile website carts abandoned (source).

Retail apps can help combat this in a number of ways. The first is that, by simply opening an app, the consumer is already logged-in and this means no need to enter password, address or credit card data. This greatly reduced checkout friction, boosts conversion rates and lowers cart abandonment rates. Apps also typically feature mobile wallets at checkout like PayPal, MasterPass, GooglePay which further speed the checkout process.

As consumers come to expect an experience tailored to them across all touch-points, apps provide a unique opportunity to not only track the buyer’s journey, but enhance that journey by providing an integrated and personalized experience. While this can take many shapes and deliver various benefits, faster checkout and reduced cart abandonment rates add money to your bottom line, and drive the ROI.

Calculating ROI: Speed Wins

According to a Google study, when mobile page loads get to 10 seconds, the probability of a bounce increases 123%. The same study showed that the average mobile website loads in 9.6 seconds. In comparison, over 50% of current native iOS apps load in less than 5 seconds.

As desktop websites become more and more clogged with features, responsive design mobile sites are slipping farther and farther behind regarding performance. Even the best responsive web design mobile sites cannot hold a candle to app speed and convenience.  Out simply, app are faster because they use on-device caching to store the data used to render the shopping experience. A native mobile app is literally always-on and in the device your best customers interacts with for 3+ hours/day (source).


Retailers considering building an app should do so with ROI in-mind. After all, who wants to invest in a new omnichannel mobile retail experience that does not pay for itself? Higher conversion rates are the best metric for generating this revenue. That said, there are many other reasons to offer an app and personalized, deeper engagement with your best customers can payoff too.

Remember, you will need 2 apps (iOS and Android) and retailers should be wary of design-heavy proposals from agencies that do not include maintaining or updating your apps, once delivered. Bringing app build capabilities in-house is always an option for retailers with deep pockets. A platform build approach should be considered by retailers who want to leverage a custom design AND an API integration into the ecommerce platform they are already are on, so data and orders flow seamlessly to/from current  ecommerce operations.

Retail mobile native app adoption and usage is growing and smart retailers will offer a native app to drive deep, personalized engagement with their best customers AND yield a rapid return on investment via improved conversions, lower rates of cart abandonment and better/faster performance. Remember, 70% of millennials are looking for new apps and 50% of retailers surveyed have prioritized an app for 2019.

In closing, ask yourself this: When was the last time you visited Amazon’s mobile website using a browser on your phone? You most-likely never have because the personalized, fast and convenient tools Amazon has added to their native app makes using the mobile site obsolete. The same logic should apply to retailers looking to win in 2019 and, if done right, a rapid ROI will be the result.

Have more questions about developing a native app for your business or calculating ROI? CLICK HERE

Author: Wilson Kerr, VP Business Development and Sales. February 20, 2019. Copyright Unbound Commerce.

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!

What Makes a Great Mobile Coupon?

Mobile couponing is blowing up, but many ecommerce businesses still haven’t captured the tremendous value that mobile coupons can provide. With the right strategy, a mobile coupon can give your sales a much needed boost and increase customer loyalty. Consider these tips to become the master of mobile deals!

Specificity Matters

A mobile coupon is not just a mobile coupon. It is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight a specific product or group of products. While storewide sales have their place, consider featuring specific items in your coupon so you have the opportunity to add descriptive language and make them appealing. You’ll find that customers often respond better to this type of curated approach.

Choose the Right Image

An image is an incredibly important part of your coupon. While it always pays to have sexy product images, coupons benefit greatly from soem extra attention. If you are tying your coupon to a specific event, consider adding a themed image of your product, or an image that features your product in use. Images do a great job of telling a story, and creative images will let your customers imagine what it would be like to own your item.

Concise, Descriptive Copy

The text that accompanies your image is absolutely crucial, particularly considering that your customers will actually see it right on their home screen when you send your coupon through push notifications. You’ll need to strike a good balance here, because too little information focusing on hard facts will make you sound robotic, while too much information will sound flowery and will get cut off. One sentence of informative, descriptive text will make a huge difference where your coupon is concerned.

Correct Timing

Different audiences respond to coupons best at different times, so it pays to experiment and find the sweet spot for your customers. When starting out, try to put yourself in the mindset of your customer. Does your target market work 9-5 hours? Do they have an academic schedule? When do they normally buy from you website? This information will help you get a good idea of the peak time to send mobile coupons. You can hone from there.

Value For Them, Value For You

Mobile coupons can provide a great way to move products, but you’ll need to confirm two things overall: is the coupon valuable enough to be interesting to your customers? Does the coupon also serve to meet your goals? It’s pretty rare that businesses create a coupon simply to liquidate inventory. You want to make sure that the coupon creates value for you. Don’t send a coupon unless you have a clear goal in mind, and then measure against that goal. Whether you want to push a specific product at an intro rate or want to garner return customer loyalty, measure. It is the only way you’ll determine the true value of your mobile coupon.

These items all demonstrate the qualities of a great mobile coupon, but specifics can be useful as well. What have you found to be effective in your mobile coupon strategy? What mobile coupons have you personally responded to?

Three Mobile Hotspots That Could Spawn The Next $100 Billion Company


Industry analysts believe that the next $100 billion dollar business will be mobile. Already, many of the largest businesses in the technology world have a mobile component and more are being added every day. But amidst this incredible diversity of fields that can benefit from a mobile offering, where will the true titan of mobile emerge? Here are three hotspots that we believe could easily produce the next major business in the mobile field.


With Facebook spending $19 billion on Whatsapp, there is no question that mobile messaging has taken off. The big question for mobile messaging, then, is monetization. Whatsapp pledges to never show ads to its users, and charges $0.99/year. Likewise, Facebook has assured Whatsapp that they will not have to compromise their principles.

This presents an interesting problem for mobile messaging companies with ethics similar to Whatsapp. The first to solve it in a financially viable way will likely be the winner, and could definitely be the first massive mobile company.


Shopping is transitioning towards m-commerce with new apps that beautifully showcase products. While massive e-commerce sites like Amazon may have a reasonable foothold on the mobile commerce space, there is still a lot of uncertainty in their mobile offerings.

One of the problems with the modern shopping experience is the massive catalogs of products available to consumers. Smaller e-commerce sites can target individuals to a greater degree and offer a more commoditized product than the big guys. Mobile commerce companies have access to more options than their desktop counterparts, such as better location data and the ability to use push notifications.


Mobile commerce isn’t just about the nice shopping apps that are prominent in the App Store, it is also about making payment more seamless, and the startup that can really get the payment system down will be on top.

With iOS 8, Apple is allowing third party developers to begin using the fingerprint sensor found on the iPhone 5S and newer devices. Some mobile commerce startups will be able to use this functionality to make purchases even simpler, all you need is one finger. This functionality could even be used to have multiple payment methods on one device; one for each member of the family depending on the fingerprint.

Mobile is huge, but even though we’re starting to see some front runners emerge, the kings of mobile have yet to be crowned. It is entirely possible that nobody has even heard of the new billion dollar companies yet. The possibilities are endless.


Justin Profile PictureThis post was guest authored by Justin Fowler. Justin is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and the co-founder of Audio Press. You can find him on Twitter and on his blog.

The Near Future Of Mobile Commerce: What’s In Store For Us?

Is Mobile Banking the End of Cash?


Photo courtesy of SimpleIllustrations via Flickr Creative Commons

Apart from being a day-to-day communication medium, mobile devices are being used today as an internet device for social networking, product research, and even purchasing goods. Last year, eMarketer forecasted an expected rise of 4.55 million global users of mobile devices this 2014. This is the very reason why many companies are now investing in mobile eCommerce (mCommerce) sites.

But, with the fast paced world of mobile technology, what can we expect from mCommerce’s future? In this feature post, we will give you an idea of the kind of services we can expect from mobile commerce sites in the near future based on the existing trends.

Snap-To-Buy Convience

Imagine that you see a fashionable handbag used by a bypasser down the street. You took a picture of it and scan it with a dedicated mobile application in your smartphone and viola – your phone instantly directs you to a website where you can buy it. Though the idea is still in its infancy, the mobile image recognition (MIR) technology is already here. Google’s Goggles (a functional tool for Android-powered devices) can be used to scan barcodes of international merchandise and popular logos.

In line with this, Forbes reported that LTU Technologies has already launched LTU Mobile application last year to help their partners, Adidas and L’Oreal, to experiment and embed the MIR technology into their mobile apps. Their customers can now scan on their catalogues to purchase their products instantly from online stores. As of the moment, the technology is still limited to two-dimensional scanning, but it’s only a matter of time before 3D MIR scanning enters the scene.

Video Content In mCommerce

Guy Mucklow of Econsultancy has noticed that few businesses have already dabbled with the use of video content for mCommerce sites. The results were phenomenal, since retailers can incorporate rich media content in their consumer pages. With the advent of faster mobile internet broadband and 4G LTE, video clips are now easier to stream than before.

Wise Marketing has also seen the power of leveraging short movie clips as an effective means of engaging customers online, in the form of “advertisements, customer service videos, or how-to instructions.” If companies will realize its full potential, we will be experiencing a lot of it sooner than later.

Peer-To-Peer Sharing Is On The Rise

NFC (Near Field Communication) is a mobile technology that allows peer-to-peer file transferring and mobile payment transactions by tapping two NFC-capable devices together. Right now, numerous businesses are already leveraging the technology in their physical stores. An NFC-powered point-of-sale machine is used by their cashiers to accept payments from their customers’ mobile devices (where a credit card or a bank account is synced).

For mCommerce, we are looking forward to this new era of transaction, where shoppers can pay for their online purchases by tapping their NFC-enabled bank cards on their mobile devices when they are prompted to.

More Functional Mobile Apps

Alex Campbell, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Vibes, studied the existing mCommerce trends and wrote what he foresees in the future of mobile apps the inclusion of in-store personalization. Campbell reiterated that “apps will become personalized and more helpful in-store and will adapt based on a customer’s location.” Say for instance, you are using a retailer’s app named Brand X, the moment you will enter one of their physical stores, the app will present you with the following:

· In-store map or merchant locator

· Push notifications of deals and exclusive promos

· A tailored suggestion based on your past searches and purchases

This shouldn’t be a problem these days, with app development companies like Apptive that are offering solutions for businesses to create their very own mCommerce apps. For the in-store personalization, they can use Bluetooth-powered indoor positioning devices like Beacons to deliver a whole new way of user convenience to their store visitors.

Augmented Reality For Window Shopping

Augmented Reality (AR) will play a significant role in the future of this industry. Using an app configured with the device’s mobile camera, shoppers can try on a product without physically touching it. Some small enterprises are already leveraging the tool nowadays. Web-based jewelers Ice took advantage of the technology to let their customers try on a bracelet, necklace, or a pair of earrings.  Though most of these companies are using PC websites to do the trick, it’s only a matter of time before they get ported to a mobile app.

Because of these innovations, Juniper Research estimates that in 2017, the value of mCommerce transactions is expected to reach 3.2 trillion dollars. What is your insight regarding the future of mCommerce?


This post was contributed by guest author Jennifer Birch

myMINIavy Jennifer Birch is a tech blogger with a background in commerce and app development.  She attends various annual tech conferences and events to get the latest report on mobile  innovations for businesses. Get the latest from Jenni via Google +.

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!

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!

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!