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5 Innovative Mobile Retail Apps to Inspire Your Strategy

With summer in full swing, shoppers are embracing the season, staying on the move and disconnecting from their homes and computers. With the change in season comes an uptick in mobile usage. Perhaps it’s the weather, or maybe just the mood, but whatever the reason, your customers are browsing and buying more on mobile during the summer season.

How can you ensure that you capture your audience’s attention, and give them a mobile experience so good that they convert with every visit? You can start by taking some advice from the pros. Keep reading for our list of 8 of the most innovative, beautiful and user-friendly shopping apps out there. With a little inspiration from the biggest players in the game, every brand can make their move to increase conversions for summer and beyond.

1. Amazon

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We’d be remiss to not start with the biggest retailer on earth. Given the level of investment, resources and data Amazon holds, its undoubtedly one of the driving forces paving the way for mobile innovation for itself and every other brand out there. Although Amazon has unmatched brand recognition and market penetration, it’s not luck that the company has made such a strong showing within the mobile realm.
The Amazon app is the most used app by millennials, and one that’s considered essential by 35% of the age group, according to comScore.
The Amazon app provides a user experience that ties together its user’s life seamlessly with their desktop browsing and purchasing. Its user experience is as simple as it is intelligent, and masterfully distills the entire Amazon experience for the small screen. Finger-friendly navigation works much like the desktop experience, where the vast majority of users have become familiar with the brand.
The app provides an array of innovative features that entice shoppers to use it, even when they’re not thinking of the brand. Consider the barcode scanner (which also serves as a product search function, AR view for selected products, part finder and package x-ray), which allows users to search any product on Amazon with the tap of an icon. Shopping in-store for anything, a user can compare the price on Amazon, then make a purchase decision based on what they find.

At heart, the Amazon app does what most wish they could do: provide the big screen experience in a small setting, without compromising a single selling feature.

2. Aliexpress 

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This mega-brand is essentially a marketplace for low-priced consumer goods of all kinds, primarily those imported from China. And it’s absolutely owning the ecommerce market in 2018. Beyond its absolutely staggering catalog and category count, Ali Express provides users with an exceptional mobile app offering, which makes navigating its inventory pleasant, realistic and fun.

With an estimated billion website visits per year, Ali Express has the opportunity to test, iterate and improve its mobile app via the sheer power of numbers. So it’s safe to assume their mobile app is custom built to convert at high rates, thanks to the massive amount of data that’s put into it.

Ali Express takes all the right steps to lock users in at the first open. With an immediate invitation to accept push notifications, followed by an enticing discount offer, users form an affinity for the app with a single open. Also upon initial opening, the app takes users to a New User Zone, where it displays a broad variety of its thousands of categories, to better understand how to craft an improved experience during the next open. Once the user is no longer considered “new,” they will be served products and categories more similar to their browsing interests and buying history. It’s a welcoming way to ensure customers feel valued and catered to.

3. Lowe’s

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It’s not just the biggest players in the ecommerce game who are driving ahead. Home improvement company Lowe’s has mastered its mobile game, in an industry where mobile-savviness hasn’t always been a given.

To better meet the needs of its younger customer base, Lowe’s has introduced an Android app to its offering to create a more inclusive mobile offering. While many brands opt only for an iOS app, the majority of users are on Android systems, meaning they’re leaving out a massive portion of their audience by only offering an iOS experience. Both versions allow customers to shop every item in the store, while comparison shopping and integrating with the store’s popular rewards program.

Its barcode scanner reads barcodes and QR codes, both of which are essential in the construction industry, where ordering the right part can affect months of work or thousands of dollars spent. In a space where a mobile app isn’t even a given, Lowe’s has stepped up to provide a beautiful, functional app that puts a new perspective on the reaches and capabilities of mobile apps. At the end of the day, mobile shopping apps aren’t just for shoes and swimsuits – they’re for everyone – including handymen, construction workers, weekend hobbyists, and savvy users far outside the millennial generation.

4. Etsy

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For a brand whose motto is “Shop Creative,” they’d be foolish to not follow their own advice when building their mobile experience.

Much like the brand website itself, the Etsy app is beautifully simple and straightforward. WIth an opening screen that invites users to ‘Get Started’ on curating their own list of picks, or browse the Etsy Picks, the app immediately begins building a customer relationship. With a simple bottom navigation that offers Home, Favorites, Search, Profile and Cart options, the app is proof that given a great product offering, a no-frills approach can be highly effective.

With an aesthetic subtle custom crafted to remind users of the handmade, non-mass-produced items they’re browsing, the app drives home brand affinity with users, while ushering them through a speedy, appealing browsing and buying process. Etsy saw 66% of its traffic come from mobile devices in 2017. We can count on the fact that brands like Etsy have painstakingly tested and improved their apps. And with a quick scroll through the beautifully simple Etsy app, it seems clear that for some brands, more is less.

5. Wish 

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Wish’s selling point? “Shop the lowest prices on earth.” The app is non-traditional in many ways, requiring sign-in immediately upon open. Its conversion-enhancing features are instantly recognizable, beginning with a countdown timer to receive 10% off your first order upon creating an account.

The user experience continues in this fast-paced style, offering social login or traditional email entry. From there, users must indicate which gender they’re shopping for, before being served with a free gift offer, which leads to a shipping and payment interface (the shipping isn’t covered in the free offer.) This whirlwind experience may feel overwhelming to a user simply intent on browsing, but it’s no mystery why Wish created the flow.

Providing the free gift lowers the threshold required to acquire address and payment information, significantly increasing the opportunity for a future sale. Now that the user’s shipping and payment information is already on file, they’ve eliminated some of the most common barriers to purchase completion and cut down on the cause of 95% of cart abandonments. Although this method isn’t viable for every brand, it’s an innovative way to get customers through the virtual door and ready to buy.
So what can the average ecommerce shop owner learn from these brands? Beyond simply being impressed, they should keep in mind that customer-centrism is the key to conversion. Creating an experience that’s custom made to them, while providing all the relevant features they love on your website, is what sells the mobile shopping experience. Beyond this, features like barcode scanners and curated shopping list build serious brand affinity, while a simplified navigation strategy can provide an even more appealing experience than a complicated one.

Feeling overwhelmed? Inspired? Not sure where to start? The good news is, mobile app platforms like T-Appz can help you create exactly the kind of mobile app experience you’re dreaming of. Taking a little advice from the brands above and partnering with an experienced app builder, you’re sure to create a mobile app that your customers will love – and use – all the time.

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