E-Commerce is Growing, but Mobile Commerce is Growing Fastest

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By the end of 2019, it’s expected that over 40% of e-commerce will be generated from a mobile device. This segment of sales is the quickest growing segment and it is expected to grow 13% year over year through 2021.

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We all know that more and more users are shopping more frequently on their phones, but most small and medium e-tailers aren’t changing how they sell to compensate for this growing demographic.

Shopify and BigCommerce do a fantastic job at making sites reactive to mobile, but it’s really the bare minimum in 2019. Open rates have a 71% open rate, which is staggering when compared to e-commerce open rates of 15.66%

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Amazon has trained us to making shopping easy with two-click checkouts and near instant checkouts from Apple Pay & Google Pay. Mobile wallet transactions in the US account for 55 million shoppers and over $49.3 billion of revenue. That’s a nearly $50 billion market that your responsive website isn’t taking advantage of.

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At Sandbox Commerce, we like to look at mobile apps as the equivalent of websites in the early 2000’s. Most retailers couldn’t justify the cost of developing their own websites and the ones who did went on to rule their space.

Websites like Squarespace and Wix revolutionized how people made websites and made it a justifiable cost. Sandbox Commerce is hoping to follow in the footsteps of giants and make mobile apps available to every online retailer. Try your first free 7 days for free today.

5 Facts About Omni-channel Shopping That You Need to Know

1) 98% of Americans Switch Between Devices in a Day (Google Research)

98% (!!!) of users switch devices throughout the day. It seems slightly obvious but let it sink in that only 2% of your users do not switch devices. Is your store ready to sell on all types of devices?

2) 71% of shoppers agree that it is important or very important to be able to view inventory information for in-store products. (Forrester

Amazon can send you anything in 2-days, but sometimes that isn’t fast enough! It is essential for brick-and-mortar retailers to seamlessly blend the online and instore shopping experience. There’s also a good chance they’ll be checking inventory from a mobile device too. 

3) 64% of marketers cite lack of resources and investment as their top barrier to omnichannel marketing (CMO Council)

First websites were expensive, and now you can build your own for next to nothing. Mobile apps are the next frontier of democratized technology. Sandbox Commerce wants to help you build and customize an app for next to nothing. 

4) 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience. (Zendesk)

Customers notice when you cut corners! They expect to have a fantastic shopping experience; in your store, on your website from their laptop and browsing mobile apps from their phone. Stay ahead of bad reviews and create a fantastic omni-channel shopping experience. 

5) Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. (Aberdeen Group)

That should be all the proof you need! Every merchant is trying their best to maximize CLV and retention. If it’s a figure you’re not happy with – start with improving your omni-channel shopping

Encouraging Reviews for Your App

Learn about the best ways to solicit app reviews

It’s now such common practice for users to inform their buying decisions based upon online reviews. From Yelp to Amazon and even smaller retailers – this community of reviewers has a massive influence on future buyers. When you understand this, it becomes incredibly clear that your app has to get positive reviews.

Arguably the only thing worse than bad reviews is no reviews… With bad reviews, you at least have the opportunity to respond a resolve a solution

Now that we know what to avoid, what is it going to take to encourage some reviews?

  • Be sure to include to include contact information at the end of your app store descriptions. Make sure someone can talk to a REAL person if they have any problems or questions
  • In your automated emails triggered by purchases, ask customers for a review
  • Offer discount incentives for users who review and recommend your app to others
  • Show people some love for reviews: Give someone a shoutout through your social media for leaving a kind review

For more tips and tricks on how to maintain an engaging and healthy relationship with your audience, check out other articles in the Sandbox Commerce Resources.

Mobile Commerce Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

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2019 isn’t waiting for anyone, so the time is now to start planning for your store’s best year to date.

We’ve been keeping our ear to the ground and here are some of the top trends we expect to grow in mobile commerce.

1) Omni-Channel Experiences

98% of shoppers switch devices throughout their day. It’s critical that your customers experience a consistent shopping flow across all of your platforms; website, Facebook, Instagram, mobile app, emails and the list goes on…

2) One-Click Checkouts

We’re all being trained by the Amazon Standard of shopping. We expect items in 2 days, to read helpful buyer reviews and most importantly – to checkout in a hurry.

It’s critical to reward your loyal shoppers by allowing them to check out in as few clicks as possible, remember their preferred shipping info and payment options. There’s a reason that Amazon’s mobile app is their largest channel. Launch your app in 2019 and increase returning customers.

3) Expect to See More Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is the future of convenience shopping. As the technology gains accuracy, the more we’ll be using it to modal furniture in our houses, clothes in our outfits and shoes on our feet.

There’s a few apps out there from large brands like Ikea and Warby Parker that take advantage of this burgeoning area. As more developers figure it out, expect to see it trickle down to more SMBs

Bringing AR to E-Commerce

Apple recently announced iOS 12 at their developer conference. Along with with a handful of incremental updates, there was a big emphasis on their new AR Kit.

With technologies biggest mover putting skin in the AR game, we’ll begin to see more and more AR in our daily lives and eventually trickle into shopping experiences. Shopify also announced that they will bring Apple’s latest AR tech to their platform and give stores new opportunities to implement AR to their products.

What Does AR Mean for My Website Design?

AR offers a shopping experience that a series of photos could never offer. It allows users to engage with your products without ever leaving their house. It will become essential to showcase your products like this, front and center, to offer a cutting edge shopping experience.

Compiling 3d images is a task that Shopify is diligently and iteratively solving. There will be a large upfront challenge to capture these renderings of existing products, but it will be critical for future-proofing your shopping experience. These is the largest hurdle retailers currently face in the AR world from a resources standpoint.

Bringing AR to Mobile

Shopify is doing their best to bring their AR feature set to mobile internet browsing experiences, but they’re not quite there yet. The best option is to still bringing AR to a native application.

If you’re interested in turning your Shopify store into a native app with an AR shopping experience, feel free to grab a time to chat about it with us.

Using Smart Design to Improve Your E-Commerce Store

In the next few blog post, we’re going to uncover some of the best ways to optimize your e-commerce store for checkout. A checkout flow might seem obvious to you, but it’s likely harming your revenue more than you realize. 

Anytime I consult on optimizing an e-commerce store, I ask the contact person these 3 questions…

1) What problem are you trying to solve? Most of the time, the answer is pretty simple. People are always hoping to decrease abandon cart, increase sales conversion rates or maybe solicit email list registrants. Whatever the problem you’re trying to solve – make sure it’s clearly defined because it’s crucial for the next step.

2) Is there data to PROVE this problem exists? We live in a day in age that allows us to track every click, scroll and engagement on our websites. If you can’t provide data that prove this problem exists – go back to step one and make sure you’re able to PROVE this problem exists. 

If you have the data to prove the problem – give yourself a pat on the back. Now take a few minutes to hypothesize what might improve the solution. Take time to think about the less obvious things; button position and color, call-to-actions, and the sequence of which things are displayed. These are all easy things to a/b test

**It’s also important to compare your stats with other players in the industry. You might be trying to optimize an already optimized figure**

3) What does success look like to you? You’ve already provided the analytics that prove what problem exists, now define a scenario in which you have “solved” the problem. It’s important to be realistic with your goals here. No one is going to increase conversion by 33% and you should know that a 3-8% improvement is a win. 

Later this week, we’ll be going through more scenarios of improving your store’s performance in more focused segments. These 3 questions will be acting as the groundwork 

How Apps Became the Largest Mobile Revenue Channel

If you blinked, you might have missed it… In 2018, it’s expected that United States shoppers will make over $118 billion in retail purchases on their smartphones. A stunning 66% of those purchases will occur in a mobile app. 

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but mobile shoppers are the fasting growing group of any shoppers.

For any brand or retailer that is looking to grow their customer base, it’s impossible to ignore mobile apps. A lot of marketing and e-commerce approach these stats with skepticism though and many immediately ask how did they become so popular and what value do they actually add?

The answer is more obvious then you might think – every consumer has a finite amount of attention and space on their mobile device. Convincing any user to download your app on to their phone is a chance to capture their attention for as many hours a day they’re on their phone.

It also creates an unparalleled shopping experience for your loyal users. They’ll be the first to know about promos and collection announcements from push notifications. Their payment info is securely and they can quickly complete purchases with streamlined two-click checkouts.

The biggest value marketers find from having an app in the real world is the data that’s now available. Get further insights to consumers’ behavior, what type of device they’re using and a treasure chest information associated with Facebook logins.

If you take a step back and objectively look at all of these features, it’s easy to see why mobile apps are taking over.

The last thing I’ll tell you about is the most common pushback I hear on a daily basis; “we’re too small – who would download our app?”. The answer is your most loyal customers. Everyone is fighting to create and define a brand that is always on their customer’s mind. Lean into the fall and give them the app they’re looking for.

Powerful Push Notifications – Tips and Tricks

Powerful push notifications have forever changed the way brands and retailers can engage and communicate with their customers.

With Sandbox Commerce, it’s easy to send push notifications that direct users to collections, items, and other promotions

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Here are some tried and tested suggestions for deploying push notifications that will get opened, help with customer engagement and drive sales:

  • Make it short and sweet: This will likely be the first content your customers will be engaging with through your app. Using humor, current events or a pun or two is even encouraged.
  • Use app-exclusive promotions: Creating a culture where your customers know that the best deals come from the app is an easy way to build loyalty. These first subscribers will be first to know about promotions and discounts that can only be found on the app. Don’t be shy about directing them to original content and collections – this all helps build buzz and engagement
  • Directing to a product or collection: as mentioned in the previous point, it’s important to direct users to a product or collection. It’s a simple call to action and you can choose to feature any collection or item in your store.
  • Sending push notifications regularly: Don’t be a stranger to your customer. Set a schedule and stay fresh in their minds by regularly engaging with your customers. It’s always important to use their time wisely – send them to original content, in-app promotions or new product/collection releases.

Push notifications are one of the best ways to bring traffic to your store and boost sales. The Sandbox App Builder allows you to do this with just a few clicks and agencies and other paid marketing. By encouraging your customers to download your app, you’re opening a whole new way to engage with your users and built a loyal following.

Creating an App that Matches Your Brand

Sandbox Commerce’s App Builder offers a robust set of tools that make our apps feel like a natural extension of your brand.

A blank canvas can be a daunting place to start, but we try to make it as easy as possible for you to customize your app and have it look great on iOS and Android. We’ll outline all the steps and show you how easy it is!

  1. Upload Logos: Our image uploader makes it easy for you to upload all of your brand’s logos. There are only two different logo sizes we require to make your app look fabulous. First, we’ll need a rectangular 3:2 logo. This will live in the top nav bar of your app and a couple other menus. Secondly, you’ll need to supply a square favicon logo. This will live on your splash screen and most importantly — your app icon.
  2. Brand Colors: We did our best to simplify all color options down to just a few choices. You’ll have to pick a background, button and a few text colors for your app. This can all be easily done with copy and pasting a hexcode or using or color picker.
  3. Adding Items & Categories: When I build an app for a customer, the first thing I do is see what items and categories are featured on their website’s homepage. On our App Builder Homepage, you can easily drag-and-drop the order of different selections and items. This makes it easy to adjust for a seasonal change or emphasize a flash sale.

Striking the balance between customization and simplicity is a constant balancing act. The Sandbox App Builder walks the tightrope and easily let’s e-commerce stores publish apps that fit their brand.

Turning Your Shopify Store into an App

Small side hustles have a lot more in common with mega-brands like Red Bull, Budweiser, and Tesla Motors then you might think. The common denominator here is that they all manage their content with Shopify.

Shopify has done an amazing job at leveling the playing field and offering enterprise level tools for a small monthly fee. With the existing landscape, these established brands have had to come up with new ways to stand out (queue the intro music for mobile apps). They’ve used mobile apps to create sleeker shopping experiences for their customers and distribute more engaging content.

The problem smaller retailers traditionally had was that they couldn’t justify the cost of building iPhone and Android apps – it was just too far out of reach. In the same way, Shopify leveled the playing field for organizing inventory and SKUs, Sandbox Commerce can turn your existing Shopify store into an app with 3 easy steps.

  1. Login and Connect your Shopify Store: as soon as you connect your store, we’ll import all of your inventory, items, and collections. We’ll also track them in real-time – no extra hurdles.
  2. Design Your App: Upload logos and match your branding guidelines with our intuitive app builder. You can easily drag-and-drop to customize your home page and show off your seasonal products
  3. Publish: As soon as you finish customizing your app, you can hit publish! From there, our team of internal testers will run through a quality assurance test and make sure your app is up to our standards. From there it’s ready to submit to Apple and Android marketplaces.

Just like Shopify, we only collect a monthly fee to maintain and deploy updates to your app. There are no setup fees and we’re constantly adding new features. Design your own app with a 7-day free trial!