We have all heard about great evolutionary theories. Our earliest ancestors first walked on four limbs. We then progressed to walking on two feet. Soon enough we were traveling in vehicles and aircrafts… Evolution never stopped. We keep evolving as human beings, social beings and sentient beings. What we don’t realize is how, along with habits and looks, our priorities changed as well.
A sizeable number of people today don’t even have enough time enough to shop. What was once considered a remedy for various stress-related problems is now a problem in itself. People are so busy making a living that they don’t have time to go to a mall and wait in queues – parking queue, lift queue, trial room queue, billing queue – it’s never ending. In this scenario, the most convenient option is to shop online. If the marketing folks are not available on this worldwide web of miracles, they’re out of league.
There is a lot of evolution happening on the technology front as well. Back in the day, mobile phones were just a medium of wireless communication through signals that allowed voice conversations and text messages – more like an updated model of the almost-extinct pager. However, today mobiles phones are a need – whereas, they were just a luxury in the past.
An extremely tight work schedule and a busy routine doesn’t allow us the time to stand in lines contemplating which outfit would look better or which gadget would be the next addition to our personal collection. As important as these needs may be, one only gets time enough to scroll past a few links and pages thanks to smartphones. Therefore, failing to provide a mobile-friendly shopping experience would mean losing out on revenue from the mobile frontier. This yearning of not missing out on revenue in this competitive world has made it imperative for developers to cut out the clutter and whet their app-etite.
To be able to make the most of mobile, marketers have to look at developing apps that are compatible with iOS and Android phones. Just like websites actively use cloud services to record and link personal log, online catalogs, product lists and shopping carts; mobile applications are quickly following suit.
According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, the usage of shopping apps grew faster than any other category of apps. Sessions on shopping apps on iOS and Android devices increased by 174 percent year-over-year, of which 220 percent were from Android devices. That’s up by 77 percent from the last recorded statistic in 2014. Moreover, 3,00,000 apps are being launched from 1,00,000 developers worldwide on over one billion devices.
Brand reputation, secure and convenient payment facilities and timely delivery are essential to keep online shoppers coming back for more. For brand building related to usage of apps, social media and print media are the best outlets; the former for advertising the app and the latter for directing users towards it with QR codes.
Other than just shopping for lifestyle products, apps are used in the utilities and productivity sector, followed by social messaging, health and fitness, travel, news, entertainment and games.
Recently, newspapers in the UAE claimed that His Highness has ordered government departments to go live for the convenience of the people. If I have envisioned this correctly, soon you will be sitting in your comfortable couch completing government formalities online – sounds better than shopping, doesn’t it?
If you’re a small-business owner, there are mobile apps that let you create and send estimates and project expenses, which can then be turned into invoices that can be sent straight from your smartphone. No matter how small or big you are, the key is to constantly look out for advancements that are being adapted by your competitors, better still would be to surprise them; the new-age app-etite is surely contagious, but being a carrier is far better than catching it from another.
As marketers, it is important to keep the innovation going and to keep rectifying the earlier versions of applications with the feedback received. Our world is being driven by a never-ending quest for the latest technology that increases convenience, making life simpler. Now that we know shopaholics are looking at shopping online rather than waiting in queues, we should ensure we’re on track with what the rest of the world is offering. Ultimately, staying out of trend is only acceptable if you’re in the making of a new one.