Shopping online is constantly becoming more popular. People love the convenience and ability to buy almost any product they can think of from the privacy of their own home. The advent of smartphones and tablets has only increased the popularity of shopping online. Because of this, many different mobile shopping applications (also known as m-commerce apps) have been developed to make the online shopping experience easier for the consumer. If you’re considering developing an m-commerce app for your business to take advantage of this growing market, here are some important features that must be included:
Security has always been an important issue when dealing with any type of online transaction. Hackers from around the world are always seemingly one step ahead of authorities. This has made many people nervous about doing any sort of monetary transaction online. For example, the data breach at retail giant Target, where 70,000 customers had their personal information stolen, has made people more uncomfortable about the safety of their data than ever before. When developing a mobile shopping app, it is important to examine loopholes such as wrong input validation, data transmission and unsecured data storage. This will allow the accurate validation of any data that gets sent to your server. Regular patching, testing and monitoring is also important to make sure that security is always maintained.
2. Simple layout
If a person is going to use a mobile shopping app, he or she will want it to be simple and straightforward. They simply won’t waste time trying to find the tabs or buttons they need to complete their purchase – they’ll just exit your app and you’ll lose the sale. Furthermore, people want to immediately begin using an app without needing to read directions and learn how to use it – a common occurrence in apps recently. The longer it takes for a person to start using an app, the more of a chance that they give up and try another app instead. Every second is critical when it comes to keeping a person’s attention. Therefore, the best apps have layouts that are intuitive and completely self-explanatory.
3. Fast loading images
Similar to the point above, people won’t put up with slow loading images. Speed is one of the most critical elements for any app, not matter what its function is. If a person clicks on the image of an item they are interested in, the image needs to enlarge instantly. If there is any kind of prolonged delay, the person is bound to lose their patience and try one of the many other mobile shopping apps on the market. However, quality images are the most important way to showcase your products to make that sale; so you need to find the right balance between loading speed and vibrant images to catch attention and then keep it.
4. Value-added features
Because there are currently so many mobile shopping apps to choose from, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the attention of new consumers and keep them using your app for an extended period of time. Some of the features that will add value to an app are a store locator, exclusive offers, push notifications, barcode scanning, label recognition, mobile coupons and virtual wallets. These are excellent ways to attract people to your app and keep them coming back for more.
There are many different devices and platforms that are available today. Keeping this in mind, it is imperative that you select the right platform that can allow your mobile shopping app to thrive in this competitive market. The platform that you choose is going to depend completely on the devices that are being used by the majority of the consumers you are targeting. Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Google Android and Apple iOS are the most popular platforms. The easiest platform to develop for is Apple iOS. However, this is only available on Apple devices, so keep that in mind. Android by Google is being used on a larger number of devices than any of the other platforms. This is why many app developers are striving to make an app that is able to function uniformly on every device that is Android-based.
6. GPS coupons
If this feature is included into a mobile shopping app, customers can be rewarded for using your app on a regular basis. The coupons are rewarded to customers when they go past a predetermined number of uses of your app. A smartphone’s GPS feature will allow the app to figure out the exact number of times a person has used your app. The discounts will then be unlocked when the necessary amount of visits have been made.
7. One touch communicating
The main purpose of an app is to make a person’s life easier. Allowing your customers the option to contact you with only one touch is something that should be provided. Whether it is texting or emailing you, getting your store’s directions and location or calling you on the phone, a customer should be able to do all of these things with a single touch.
About the Author:
Farooq Khan is an experienced investor, currently serving as Chairman of a number of companies, including Bentley Capital, Queste Communications, Orion Equities and Devisd. Farooq Khan has experience founding and leading a number of ASX listed companies in the technology, financial services and resources sectors in Australia. Connect with Farooq Khan on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.