Black Friday 2017: The Biggest Mobile Shopping Day Ever

The Holiday Season is rapidly approaching, which means it’s time for the US to kick it into high gear and do what we do best: shop! With the gross sales and number of Black Friday shoppers increasing steadily every year, we are poised to have one of the biggest Black Fridays on record. The holiday promotions continue to start earlier and earlier each year, which means retailers need to do everything possible to stay ahead of the competition and make the most of this season.

Recent data has shown that the steady shift in shopping habits from brick and mortar to online and mobile has reached a new height: while Black Friday 2016 was the first $1 billion mobile shopping day in the US, Black Friday 2017 is set to top this, making it the biggest mobile shopping day ever recorded. According to data gathered by App Annie, this year during the week of Black Friday the US is expected to spend nearly 45 million hours in shopping apps on Android phones alone, which is over a 45% increase in the past two years.

For retailers this is great news. More time spent in apps means more purchases are made, which increases revenue and creates more loyal customers.

To break this data down further, we anticipate that in the US on Black Friday well over 6 million hours will be spent on Android phones alone in the top five Digital-First apps, which include retail apps with little to no brick and mortar presence. This shows a 40% increase from last year’s Black Friday. The top five retail apps that also have a prominent brick and mortar presence aren’t expected to have quite the same level of time spent in-app, but the data shows that they should see 30% growth in time spent from last year.

This rise in mobile commerce use also means that mobile retailers have a greater opportunity to reach overseas markets. In Japan, it’s expected that there will be a 65% increase from two years ago in time spent in shopping apps, and about a 45% increase in the UK.

In light of this data, it’s more and more apparent that retailers (whether digital-first or traditional) need to prioritize mobile, especially during this holiday season. By optimizing mobile traffic and user acquisition during Black Friday when consumers are the most active and willing to make purchases, retailers can set a trajectory for continued growth and engagement that could last far beyond the promotional period itself. Retailers should prioritize user acquisition and engagement over all else, and here are a few things to focus on:

  1. App Store Optimization (ASO): Retailers should give the most people the highest chance possible of finding and downloading their app, and this comes down to ASO. Check out our article on how to improve ASO for the full run down on how to do this.
  2. User Engagement: App-exclusive deals, promotions and rewards are the key to upping user engagement. For retailers with a brick and mortar store as well as mobile, leveraging the physical store to complement and promote the app can be a very effective strategy as well.
  3. Marketing: The weeks leading up to Black Friday is the time when retailers can get the most bang for their buck in terms of ads and marketing. Our article on how to drive traffic to your e-commerce app is a helpful asset to learn more about how to optimize marketing at this critical time.

Overall, it is expected that retailers will buckle down on their mobile strategy this Black Friday, and ignoring the data could be very detrimental to a retail business. Sandbox Commerce is the number one provider of native apps for e-commerce, and we are highly experienced in creating seamless customer journeys that include native apps, automated push notifications, and email marketing integration. During this time when mobile commerce is on the rise with no end in sight, it is vital that retailers create high quality mobile apps that will optimize their business. Contact us to improve or create you mobile commerce app today!

7 Common Problems Brands and Retailers Face When Building a Mobile App

Let’s face it — Building a mobile app to showcase your product’s and engage with your customer’s is incredibly risky! On average it takes a retailer 6 months and costs $120K per app store to go to market. So before you go off trying to build a Mobile App or Progressive Web App (PWA) on your own, I’ve saved you the headache by outlining the top 7 issues you might face as a retailer: 

1. Learning the Languages, or Hiring a Developer who Knows what they’re DoingMobile and Progressive Web App (PWA) development is ever-evolving. Hiring skilled developers with a proven track record of delivery is risky at best and outsourcing development overseas is pretty much out of the question. Your already have a team of rockstar’s that have helped you build your brand but even your website designer’s don’t have the time to learn how to build a Mobile App or PWA from the ground up! 

2.  Should I build a Hybrid App or go fully Native — What does ‘fully Native’ even mean??Shopify or BigCommerce? MailChimp or Klaviyo? Tomayto or Tomahto? You’re constantly faced with decisions about where to devote your companies resources. You’ve considered building a mobile app and believe that IF it were to accurately represent the uniqueness of your brand to your discerning customer, it may serve as an effective marketing channel. But is a responsive website enough anymore? Should you build a hybrid app or a native app? What happens if you make the wrong decision? Continue reading..

3. Mobile App vs Response Website: Analysis Paralysis
Because of the issue’s you might face when building a Mobile App from scratch, you should probably just stick with your responsive website, right?? Wrong. 

Native apps and PWA’s allow your customer’s to engage with your brand without a persistent internet connection, provide a superior user experience, allow your shoppers to receive push notifications and use their phone’s camera. In addition mobile apps out-perform responsive websites by 225%.

4. It’s Only a Foundation for Content
The process of designing and building an app is expensive and challenging enough. The reality is that your consumer’s don’t care about your backend. What drives adoption and conversion is the content that you use to populate your app and the customer journey you provide. You will see a much better return on your investment if you focus less on the infrastructure and more time on providing your shoppers with premium content that sets your brand apart.

5. Low Quality Product
If you attempt to save money by outsourcing to a freelance developer, it’s more likely than not that you’ll end up with a users experience that is significantly lower in quality than what you’d have otherwise. So you’ll add a mobile developer to your team, or repurpose your  front-end website developer who has little to no mobile app development experience and even less time.  While that might seem like the safer bet, you likely won’t receive the same quality app you would from a dedicated team that specializes in building apps for brands and retailers – but they’re unicorns. Very expensive unicorns!

6. Wait Until Next Year
“We could always wait until next year, right? That’s the safe bet.” – Walmart

7. Your Customer Data Can Die in a Silo
Many brands and retailers build and treat their mobile applications as a stand alone channel and revenue stream. They don’t integrate mobile shopping data into the rest of their organization, for maximum financial benefit and the best possible user experience. Once your mobile application is integrated to the rest of your business (inventory levels, email marketing, CRM, et cetera) you can begin delivering a seamless user experience that shoppers expect, selling more, using behavioral and demographic data. This increased customer satisfaction is proven to drive loyalty, net promoter scores, average order value and session visits, WAY UP.

When you incorporate your Google analytics credentials into your mobile app,  you’re ready to analyze and optimize the experience directly alongside your web-based eCommerce traffic.

Conclusion
Building Mobile Apps and PWA’s used to be risky, expensive and time consuming. Not anymore. SandBox Commerce is the most experienced vendor in creating seamless customer journeys, incorporating Native Apps, automated Push Notifications, Email Marketing Integration and Google’s new Progressive Web App best practices.

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