Mobile Apps: Creating an App for Merchants

Mobile Apps: Creating an App for Merchants

January 24, 2017

E-commerce is a huge part of modern day retail, and more and more often people are now turning to their mobile phone to make their purchases on the go. A great way of getting involved with mobile e-commerce is to create your own app to tempt your customers to make purchases with you. These can be tailored to suit your businesses individual needs, making it a great option for those who have a small budget but distinct needs. So, what do you need to consider when building an app? Check out our recommendations below:

What Do You Need Your App To Do?

The primary thing to remember when building an e-commerce app is to remember what it is made for – sales. To encourage your customers to purchase with you there are many factors to consider such as great pricing and allowing your customers to find what they are looking for.

Designing your app carefully is essential to maintain your customer’s interest until they purchase. Consider your target market when deciding upon the features of your app. Certain demographics are more likely to appreciate some colour schemes than others. Take the packaging of men’s toiletries for example. Chances are you won’t see a man’s shaving balm with pink packaging because of social conventions, so conversely, you shouldn’t use pink as a colour scheme designed for men. Also, what sort of age are you aiming your products at? In general, people in the youngest demographic are more likely to browse an app and see what catches their eye for purchase, whereas people aged 30 and above are likely to go straight to the relevant category to purchase, spending less time on your app overall. Encouraging your user to browse in the way they enjoy will go a long way to increasing your sales.

Consider also the speed that your app loads. Research has suggested that apps that take over two seconds to load lose 40% of their users before the app has even loaded. Make sure that your mobile app is streamlined by limiting the size of your photos on the app, and categorize each item available for purchase to make finding it easier. An easily visible search bar should be displayed on the screen to allow your customers to locate items they already plan to purchase, making purchasing an efficient process.

Push Notifications for Abandoned Carts

Sometimes customers add items to their carts but decide not to purchase them. This can be frustrating for a retailer, as you can’t know for sure why they chose to do that. It could be that they were just browsing and had no real interest in purchasing, or maybe they found the item cheaper elsewhere.

So what do you do when your customers leave your app without purchase? Well, a good idea is to give them a push notification to remind them that they’ve got items in their cart. Choosing when to do this is an important consideration. Too soon and a customer may feel like they’re being harassed into a purchase. Too late and that item that they were considering for Auntie Julia’s birthday is no longer needed as she’s already blown the candles out on her cake. A good rule of thumb is anywhere between one and three days to send the notification, which gives your customer time to consider their purchase – particularly if it’s a large one but also gives the product a decent chance of being required.

To encourage your customer to return, you could always offer a discount or deal in your push notification to seal the deal, for example offering 20% off their purchase or free next day delivery. Giving the customer something for nothing will make them think they’re getting a great deal, and will make them more likely to remember you for future purchases as well as this one.

Be Sociable

Social media is one of the main things that people use their mobile phones for, so it makes sense to integrate a way to allow your customers to communicate with you and each other through your app. Improving your social standing by allowing comments and likes is a great way of encouraging your customers to spend additional time on your app that they might not have otherwise. And through these features, customers can review your products, potentially boosting sales through word of mouth. A great way of stretching your marketing budget.

Another bonus of allowing your customers to review your products is you can see at a glance which products to invest in (or not) based on the feedback you’ve been provided. This can be a great way of streamlining your costs, which is beneficial whether you are a small business or a huge retailer.

Multiple Payment Methods

Imagine a scenario where you log on to an e-commerce app, find a couple of items that you’d like to purchase and add them to your cart, only to find that when you go to pay they do not allow your preferred (and sometimes necessary) method of payment. It doesn’t look great, does it? The chances are that sale has been lost.

For this reason, it is important to offer a wide range of payment methods for your customer to use, integrating the most common like credit and debit card payments alongside online payment wallets such as Paypal to offer flexibility. Giving your customers the benefit of choice can be the difference between them choosing your app and one of your competitors.

Also consider allowing one-click payments, which can make e-commerce a dream for those who are short on time. Retailing giant Amazon uses this to great effect with their products by storing existing payment and address options in their database. With ever-shortening attention spans, it’s important to allow your customers to check out as quickly and simply as possible – or be prepared to lose a lot of sales.


There are so many things to consider when putting together your e-commerce app, and while we’ve discussed a small amount here, we recommend you do further research to see what is right for your individual business. The options above are what we would consider ‘essentials’ in this modern age, developing a bond between you and your customers in a short space of time and encouraging repeat purchases through offers that make them feel valued.

Don’t be afraid to check out your competitors, and those big names that are in your industry. They became big for a reason, and chances are they have continued to develop thanks to their mobile integration and e-commerce. Looking at what those around you are doing may give you a little inspiration should you struggle to pinpoint the necessary features for your app. There’s nothing wrong with a little borrowing here and there to get you up and running, after all.


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