Although it is hard to believe, mobile applications have already existed for just over a decade. Stemming from rather humble roots and initially designed to perform the most basic of tasks, these handy programs have become an integral part of our daily lives.
Mobile applications are used to chat with friends, to access live news feeds and to play games. However, they have also had an indelible influence upon the retail industry. It is estimated that more than 197 billion apps were downloaded in 2017 and the future indeed looks bright (1). The main question is how these bundles are affecting online sales and what we can expect to witness in the coming year. Let’s take a closer look.
Concise, Clear and Convenient
While the Internet is associated with numerous benefits, patience might not be the best example. Consumers are no longer content with browsing through endless websites in order to find what they are looking for. They require immediate access to preferred pages; having little desire to be presented with irrelevant or outdated information.
Mobile applications are meant to satisfy such desires. Clear interfaces, one-click activation and the ability to present relevant offers to shoppers are three examples.
As a result, online retail portals are enjoying a higher level of inbound traffic than ever before. Of course, increased click-through rates equate to robust sales figures over time. Such profits can then be funnelled back into in-house operations such as marketing and merchandising. It is no wonder why modern ecommerce platforms are leveraging the power of such intuitive tools.
What Can We Expect in 2019?
If we assume that recent trends will continue, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that the presence of mobile applications will increase throughout the coming year. Their technological capacity should likewise continue to evolve. The main intention is to address the needs of the individual user, so several transformations are likely to occur. A few examples could include:
- The use of augmented reality (AR) to simplify the sales process.
- Personalised search results based on previous shopping habits.
- The possibility of customising these apps to suit individual preferences.
In other words, so-called “generic” mobile applications will have little place in the retail world of the future. This is the very same reason why major providers of e-commerce solutions such as Shopify have put a great deal of thought into their latest software packages. There are two main goals of this technology.
The first is to satisfy the needs of the shopper so that sales and online recognition can be boosted. The second is to provide a hands-on and fully transparent platform to the business owner; enabling on-the-fly adjustments to be made when necessary. After all, any online retail platform is only as effective as its underlying software.
The world of online sales will continue to be positively influenced by the presence of mobile applications and this trend should only gather pace in the coming year.