Get Ready, Apptive 3.0 is Coming to Town!

Here at Apptive, we’ve been hard at work in our mad development laboratories to put together something truly great for ecommerce merchants, and just in time for the holiday season! Apptive 3.0 is the culmination of those efforts. This update to the Apptive platform includes a ton of new functionality that will allow merchants to make more mobile sales than ever before.

What kind of functionality, you ask? How about:

  • An enhanced, streamlined shopping interface to make finding and purchasing products even easier and faster across all mobile devices.
  • An integration with Google Analytics which allows merchants to get immediate visibility into the revenue generated through their app and to gain a deeper understanding of the buying patterns of their app users.
  • A new “Specials” module which allows merchants to create and share time-based, push notification enabled deals with their mobile audiences. This innovative functionality helps to maximize user engagement and ultimately drives mobile purchases through the app.

To complement our new mobile shopping interface, we are also introducing an enhanced iPad layout that will let customers take full advantage of the larger size and navigation elements of the iPad platform. To put it more succinctly, our customer’s apps are going to look amazing on iPads.

We are planning to have this release fully rolled out in early November, so keep your eyes out! New customers will automatically be able to take advantage of Apptive 3.0 features, and current customers will have the option to upgrade to Apptive 3.0.

How To Create Awesome Mobile Product Images

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As an ecommerce site owner, you are no doubt distinctly aware of the importance of attractive your store and your products. Mobile commerce has increased the importance of beautiful images even further, since a mobile audience is simultaneously more likely to browse sites with lots of high quality images and less likely to respond to images that don’t immediately grab attention. Check out these tips to make your product images pop on mobile devices!

1. Light backgrounds are your friend

Placing a product on a dark background can make it difficult to draw a distinction between a product and its surroundings. Light backgrounds provide a neutral frame that will serve to highlight a product. Keep in mind that light backgrounds do not necessarily mean bland backgrounds. The key is to make sure that whatever you are using as a background helps draw attention to the product itself.

2. Create uniformity across your pictures

Stores that offer a wide variety of products will occasionally upload product images of varying sizes. This is can make a uniform page seem cluttered and can also prevent issues when integrating your store into third-party mobile commerce platforms that rely on store data (such as Apptive!). It takes a minimal amount of effort to resize product image sizes to be the same within your store, and will make them both more attractive and more functional.

3. Frame products within an image

Products images work best when the product is clearly visible. Framing your product within your image will help to clearly demonstrate the product. In order to frame a product, you simply need to make sure that it is positioned away from the borders of the image, such that it is not touching a border or (even worse) cut off. You also want to avoid “blown up” product photos that are so heavily zoomed on a product that it is touching one or more borders.

4. Use scale where appropriate

Providing a sense of scale can offer a wealth of information to customers. For certain items, such as jewelry and fashion items, scale can be incredibly important and will make the difference between making the sale or not. There are no hard and fast rules for introducing a sense of scale, except that whatever means you use should be familiar to your customer base.

5. Tell a story

The majority of your customers will never visit an “About Us” page. They likely won’t research your company profile or your “Team” page. The vast majority of customers will learn your story from the products you sell and the ways in which you promote them. One of the greatest advantages individual ecommerce merchants have is their ability to express their voice through their products, and images are the best way to do that! The trick here is to be subtle. Overt messaging can come across as desperate or even preachy.

These tips will help you create fantastic product images that will let you connect with customers on mobile better than ever before! Chime in to the comments section if you have any personal tips, or just to share some awesome photos from your ecommerce site!

The Smartphone Impulse

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Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat: impulse buying has sort of become a dirty term. It needn’t be. That is because impulse buying, a neutral term, is often associated with feelings of regret when an unplanned purchase tends to not live up to the value that was immediately associated with it upon purchase. We also tend to think of negative impulse purchases with far more clarity than positive ones. That time you bought an awesome bracelet on the fly and wore it for a full summer? Positive buy. The time you bought an animal shaped hat at a theme-park and relegated it to the back of your closet a week later? Not so much.

Interestingly, it seems that impulse purchases in physical retail stores are actually down in recent years. While it would be nice to think that we are just getting more careful as consumers overall, some have posited that in reality the reason for this decrease is due to a phenomena known as “mobile blinders.” This refers to those situations where consumers pay attention to their smartphones rather than the tasty treats and knick-knacks that surround them when they aren’t in an active buy mode.

However, while smartphones are decreasing the number of physical impulse purchases, they may actually be increasing impulse purchases overall. According to a study conducted by PayPal, smartphones lead to something that I’ll describe as an intelligent impulse purchase. Essentially, rather than simply buying an object on the fly, a smartphone enables a user to go through the desire > research > purchase cycle in minutes rather than hours or days. That way, a user is both more likely to buy a product that find interesting while simultaneously increasing the likelihood that they will be satisfied with the purchase overall.

So what does this mean for small business or ecommerce owners with a mobile app? With creative messaging and communication channels, you have the ability to directly target products to customers with a high likelihood that they will buy on the spot. It also means that cultivating both an engaged and happy customer base (they will likely try and see what others have said about your stuff, after all) will provide exponential returns.

If you own an app already, what is your strategy for triggering the impulse buy? If you don’t how would you use it to make that happen?