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Should You Tap Your Market with A Mobile App?

For companies that have grown dramatically and can afford a six-figure price tag, offering a mobile app could be a critical piece allowing them to accelerate past the competition. We learned more about these from Oven Bits, who developed apps for Vogue and for Lush Cosmetics. Are you ready to mobilize?

Dallas-based Oven Bits recently enabled Lush Cosmetics to enter the market with a mobile app. The app hits the notes one would expect from such an offering: availability on Android and iOS platforms, shopping basket and wishlist choices for products, and payment options like PayPal and Apple Pay to make a purchase.

Chris Capehart, CMO of Oven Bits, told EcommerceBytes a few key tips about venturing into the realm of mobile apps. For businesses growing quickly and steadily to the point where creating such an app is viable, those sellers should determine what kind of value they can provide with a mobile app.

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“Give your users an experience they can’t get on the web,” he said. Part of that experience requires encouraging users to download and open those apps, and Capehart said there are several strategies for doing so.

“Incentives such as discounts on product, loyalty points, and exclusive offers, are some of the best ways to do it. Channels for marketing and driving the downloads such as owned media (ie. smart app banners on websites, emails, etc.) and paid media (Facebook Advertising, Twitter, etc) are a couple of the key channels used to drive traffic for downloads,” he said.

Sellers who have built their sites on leading platforms like Shopify or Bigcommerce can have mobile apps developed to work with such environments. The Imprint appOven Bits created was built on Shopify. Capehart also spoke highly of Demandware as a great platform for mobile apps as well.

Developing an ecommerce presence has made a circle over the past two decades. As online sellers built their sites, some constructed them in a “walled garden” fashion, designed to keep shoppers inside virtual walls. That design school faded in response to consumer desires where freedom to browse was much more desirable.

In current times with the growing adoption of mobile devices and the desire to shop across multiple platforms, many ecommerce types have developed mobile apps. These apps function as the old walled garden method did, keeping visitors nestled within the ongoing brand experience of a given seller like an Amazon or an eBay.

Twenty years ago, such design proved not to be a great choice. Fortunately plenty of web/interface developers took the lessons of Edward Tufte to heart and improved upon their work. But the mobile platform and the considerable expense needed to bring a full-featured app to the marketplace make a more closed design a necessity.

Mobile apps in the ecommerce sector exist in varying markets. The smallest of online sellers may not be suited to leap into creating an app, at least not with the complexity of ecommerce demands that bigger businesses can afford. But companies enjoying sustained growth and a desire to expand may be ready to consider it.

 

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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