Mar 29th - 9min.

9 reasons why you need an app

This blog post explains the many benefits of having an app as an f&b business owner.

People are shopping online more than ever. Thanks to the power of the Internet, you can reach consumers anytime, anywhere. According to a recent survey, 96% of the U.S. population has a cell phone, 81% of which have a smartphone. If you look around, you quickly notice that our phones are glued to our hands almost 24/7. As a business owner, you need to recognize this behavior and adapt accordingly. But why exactly do you need an app? Because today your e-commerce store will never reach its full potential with a website alone. If you want to stay relevant in the upcoming years, a mobile app is a must. Why? In this article you will discover the nine most important reasons.

1. Mobile e-commerce is trending

Sales through mobile devices have completely taken over the e-commerce industry. Take a look at your sales statistics and determine which devices your customers are shopping from — a significant amount of your clientele browses and shops through smartphones and tablets. 70% of all global e-commerce sales come from mobile devices. It is even estimated that mobile e-commerce will keep on dominating all online sales around the world within two years.

Estimated mobile e-commerce sales worldwide
Estimated mobile e-commerce sales worldwide

People are used to shopping through mobile devices. It is much more convenient and faster, and our phones are always within reach, which is not necessarily the case with a laptop or desktop computer. Mobile commerce makes it possible for people to shop wherever they want, during their lunch break or waiting for the bus. It's that simple!


But why do people need an app when they can do their shopping through a browser on their phone? Because e-commerce apps are growing at a rate of 54% year-over-year. That's the highest rate compared to any other app category. The average annual growth rate of mobile app usage across all industries is 6%, so e-commerce apps are growing 48% faster than the average.

Growth of mobile app usage in 2019
Growth of mobile app usage in 2019

Mobile sales are dominating the eCommerce world. The usage of shopping apps is growing faster than any other app on the market. So by default, you'll know that your own branded eCommerce apps will contribute to sales better than any other type of app or website could do for you.

2. Consumers prefer mobile apps

Don't get us wrong. Whether you have an app or not, a mobile-friendly website is essential. For example, 88% of consumers say they are less likely to return to a mobile site after a bad experience. Then again, 47% of people expect a mobile site to load in two seconds or less.

A mobile-friendly site is the first step to generating e-commerce sales from mobile users. But ultimately, the following data is the most important: 78% of consumers would instead use an app to buy from an e-commerce store than a mobile website. You read that right, 78%! If you think about this a little further, if you now receive 100 mobile transactions a week, about 80 of those people would instead buy through your mobile app, just covering your existing customers. Imagine how many people you ignore because you don't have an app.

Top reasons why consumers prefer mobile apps
Top reasons why consumers prefer mobile apps

Just take the Belgian f&b industry as an example. The percentage of orders placed via the phone decreased sharply: in 2020, 26% of orders were placed via the phone, but this percentage dropped further last year, to only 18%. It doesn't come as a surprise that telephone orders were taken over by mobile apps and webshops.

Convenience and speed are the two main reasons people prefer an app over a mobile webshop. No matter how fast or responsive a mobile website is, an app always generates a better shopping experience.

3. A competitive advantage

Without a mobile app, your business is at a disadvantage. We told you earlier that customers prefer to purchase through mobile apps. It's only a matter of time before they stop buying from you and run over to your competitor because they have an app. Be an early bird and start your e-commerce app today. It will only work to your advantage.

You might think that if your most significant competitors don't have a mobile app, there's no reason to buy one soon. Unfortunately, that's the wrong mindset. You're crazy if you think your competition doesn't have a mobile app. Almost every e-commerce site in the world is competing with Amazon, for example. You can buy anything from them. 95 million people have an Amazon Prime membership in the United States alone. Amazon may not sell your brand, but how unique are you? Can a customer get something similar from another brand in the Amazon app? Probably yes... So if you can't meet those standards, the customer has no reason to buy from you.

Here's another thing to keep in mind. Today, a mobile app gives you a competitive advantage, but that won't be the case forever. In a few years, everyone will have a mobile e-commerce app. So it's best to create one right now so you have a head start on all the others who won't anticipate it until later.

4. Higher conversion rates

It's essential to boost your Key Performance Indicator (KPI). A KPI is a measurable value that shows how effectively a company achieves key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs on multiple levels to evaluate their success in achieving their goals. Conversion rates are a good measure for calculating your KPIs.

Global retail conversion tunnel
Global retail conversion tunnel

We briefly compare the conversion ratios of apps and mobile webshops. Consumers view 286% more products, and 85% more things are added to the shopping cart when shopping via an app instead of a mobile browser. The conversion rate of apps is 130% higher than for mobile websites. Imagine how much more money you can make by immediately increasing conversion rates by 130%. Not to mention the percentage of customers you can gain once your app is live.

5. Improve your marketing communication

Mobile apps are a dream for marketers because they allow you to reach customers quickly. Without a mobile app, you have to rely on your customers to navigate directly to your website to have a chance at conversions. You probably spend a lot of marketing dollars on email communications and social media campaigns to reach your customers. But with a mobile app, you have a more effective way to communicate with your customers: push notifications.

Check out the engagement rates of push notifications compared to traditional email marketing. 60% of users open a push notification, compared to only 20% with emails. Once the message is opened, 40% of people interact with a push notification, compared to only 5.4% with emails. Push notifications are a better way to connect with your customers, and that's because the user doesn't have to do anything.

To reach a customer through social media, your customers first have to be active on social media and happen to see your post or ad, navigate to your website and then convert them from there. That's just too many steps in which you can lose potential customers. The same goes for email communications. A person has to sign up to receive emails from you, open the message, consume the content, and click on a link to your website. A message appears directly on a user's home screen with a push notification, much like a text message. When that message is opened, the user is led directly to the app, making it easier to purchase.

6. Increase average order value

We've already mentioned that a mobile app improves the user experience and increases conversion rates. But those aren't the only benefits of building an app for your e-commerce. A mobile app also increases your average order value (AOV). Because more products are viewed per session through an app, this makes sense. People can browse (or scroll) more easily when shopping through a mobile app. This gives them more of a chance to see what you offer.

Mobile apps have a higher average order value than mobile browsers and desktop screens. Increasing your average order value by $10 is a lot! Let's say you now have 1000 mobile transactions per month. Increasing your average order value by €10 would translate into an additional €10,000 per month, that's so €120,000 per year, and that's without any other transactions you might have because you have an app!

Global retail average order value index by channel
Global retail average order value index by channel

7. Increase your customer loyalty

A great way to get your customers to spend more money is to develop a customer loyalty program. Having an e-commerce mobile app increases the likelihood that your customers will participate in this type of program. In addition, consumers are 82% more likely to store at sites that offer loyalty programs.

A loyalty program gives your customers an incentive to spend more money to achieve their next reward. Psychologically, it encourages people to increase their average order value and purchase frequency to reach the next level of spending. You may already have a loyalty program on your website, but running the same promotion through a mobile app is even more effective.

8. Less abandoned shopping carts

Shopping cart abandonment is a big problem for many e-commerce businesses. It is one of the most important KPIs you need to monitor. The customer is usually only one or two clicks away from completing the purchase. So what exactly went wrong? Here are some of the main reasons for cart abandonment:

Additional costs such as shipping and taxes: 60%

Forced to create an account: 37%

Long and complicated checkout process: 28%

Couldn't see or calculate the total cost: 23%

Website crashed or contained errors: 20%

Didn't trust the site with credit card information: 19%

Money aside, the most common reasons for abandoning the shopping cart are the user experience. Thankfully, mobile apps eliminate many of these problems.

As you can see, mobile apps have the lowest percentage of abandoned shopping carts compared to mobile websites and desktop sites. Mobile e-commerce apps make it more accessible during the checkout process. Once a customer buys something, their preferences are stored in the app's settings.

So when it's time to repurchase something, they don't have to manually enter their name, shipping address and billing information again. The entire purchase process can be completed in a few clicks. Mobile apps also make it easier to accept alternative payment methods, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal. If you integrate these methods into your payment page, users can purchase something simply by scanning their fingerprints. Each additional step in the checkout process gives the customer the chance to abandon their shopping cart. By significantly reducing the number of steps with a mobile app, you decrease the abandonment rate.

Abandoned shopping carts by channel
Abandoned shopping carts by channel

9. Increase retention rates

How many of your sales come from repeat customers? Studies show that attracting new customers can be up to 25 times more expensive than selling to an existing customer. So you're better off attracting repeat customers. 38% of users return to an e-commerce app 11 times or more after downloading it. Chances are, during those 11+ visits, they buy multiple times. It has been shown that there is a 50% chance that a mobile user will return to an e-commerce mobile app within 30 days of buying something.

And if a user doesn't return to the app as often as you'd like to see, you can always use push notifications to get them back. Offer a promo code or an exclusive deal to encourage users to buy through your app. Some just need an extra push to proceed with a purchase.

Conclusion

The numbers speak for themselves. We've given you many reasons why apps should be a priority for all e-commerce stores. Here's a summary of some of the key KPIs.

Increased conversions

Higher average order value

Lower abandonment rates

Higher retention rates

We don't know one store owner who wouldn't like to improve these metrics. Consumers prefer mobile apps. This is a reality that can no longer be ignored. Now that you understand why an app is so crucial to your e-commerce business, it's time to take action. If you've never created an app before, this may sound intimidating. But you can create an e-commerce mobile app with EasyOrder without having to write code yourself. Our platform makes it easy for anyone to build an app, regardless of their technical skill level.

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