Four ways ecommerce websites can integrate apps into the customer journey

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(Image credit: Tank)

The ecommerce landscape is constantly changing for retailers, and with it, are the ways in which consumers shop.

More consumers than ever are shopping online, and with that ecommerce websites need to up their game.

The modern consumer is no longer doing all of their online shopping on a desktop or laptop. In 2021 alone, 58% of all online visits to ecommerce websites came from smartphones, according to Contentsquare. Ensuring that your brand has an app that benefits the customer journey and is fit for purpose is absolutely critical. 

Customers want and expect a smooth and consistent brand experience when it comes to doing their online shopping, and brands need to meet this demand. 

It’s no longer good enough for brands just to have the right items, at the right price with a below-average digital product. And a huge part of that digital product is having a usable app that integrates with your website.  

Why multi-device continuity crucial to ecommerce sites

Customers want ease of access, and when it comes to online shopping, even more so. 

Ensuring your customers have a smooth pathway from, choosing their items to checkout boasts a number of benefits, including greater conversions and this is where multi-device continuity comes into play.

Multi-device continuity involves the ability of a customer to be able to open up your app and pick up exactly where they left off on your website. No lose of items from your basket, and for the retailer, a greater chance of conversion and less risk of cart abandonment.. 

In July 2021, research from Salecycle put the latest cart abandonment rate at over 80%, with 26% abandoning carts due to ‘long or complex processes’. Difficulty at checkout is costing brands and allowing the user to shop and transition from different devices is a key step in eradicating the issue. 

As said above, there is a demand for a consistent brand experience and the the below tips will help eCommerce sites in maximising the performance of your app and website.

Four ways ecommerce websites can integrate apps

1. Don’t have an app for the sake of it - make it add to the customer experience 

Having an integrated app alongside an ecommerce site is essential if you are to serve the modern consumer. 

But it’s important that the app is functional, serves a purpose, and adds value to the customer. Adding app-specific functionality is a great way to set your digital product apart and offer the consumer something different, which encourages them to press the download button. 

Amazon recently added a new feature to its app allowing users to ‘try on’ digital versions of shoes via its new virtual reality feature. Back in March, Walmart also launched a similar product in a virtual try-on service available to both app and website users. The American retail brand also started selling its ecommerce technology to SMBs.

Tailoring your app to work alongside your website is important, but don’t be afraid to add some exclusive functionality to impress the user. 

Offering the consumer something extra in the form of app-specific functionality is ideal, but perhaps the most critical point of creating a seamless customer journey from website to app is ensuring the core features are the same.

When a consumer downloads your brand’s app, they will expect to see the same brand colors, a familiar UX design and core features that are consistent with what is available on your website. 

One example of this is the UberEats website and mobile experience. Regardless of which device the order is placed through, Uber has integrated the driver tracking function into both its app and website, providing the user with a familiar, core feature irrespective of the device. 

You want the user to feel a sense of familiarity when they download your app, not left out in the cold. 

According to a recent report by Contentsquare, the average conversion rate for desktops among all ecommerce industries is 3.7% Whereas for mobile devices this dropped to just 2.2%, despite the majority of traffic coming from mobile users. 

What does this mean? 

While the average ecommerce consumer tends to browse more on mobile devices, they’re more likely to buy on desktop. This only emphasizes the importance of having a seamless customer journey and device continuity.

A consumer should be able to begin shopping on one device, and pick up where they left off on another. As this behavior is already being displayed by the modern consumer, it would be foolish for retailers not to meet this demand and offer that smooth transition from app to website. 

Your website is the base on which your app will be designed and function. They can and should work together.

A great way of redirecting traffic to your app will be through your website. Digitally signposting where to download your app on your mobile site, for example, is a great way to encourage your mobile traffic to start using your app. Most website builder providers offer this as a service.

When the user downloads your app, they’ll be met with the same core features and brand experience as they would have on your mobile site but with greater functionality. 

Is integrating your app and website important?  

Absolutely. It’s not only important, but it’s also absolutely crucial if brands are keen to stay in touch with the modern consumer and continue to meet their demands. 

Consumers no longer accept long checkout processes and restrictions on where and how they can shop. There are plenty of ecommerce platforms already catering to their users and they’re reaping the rewards, Amazon is a key example of this. 

The Amazon app shares much of the core features and functionality as it’s website, but offers customers that ease of access to shop on the go without compromising on the user experience.

With attention now shifting away from the high street and on to a digital future, ensuring your digital offering works as a cohesive unit as part of your ongoing marketing strategy will be key for a successful ecommerce site. 

Head of Product

Bradlie Houldsworth is Head of Product at Remarkable Commerce, where he specialising in retail and ecommerce and has extensive experience working with leading retailers and brands in the UK.