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Why brands are losing a ton of revenue with mobile web

Before we tell you why mobile web – a mobile responsive website for your e-commerce store is NOT enough to be able to provide a mobile-friendly shopping experience and boost revenue, why don’t you hear it from the horse’s mouth? Or, the modern customer’s mouth, in this case, unless you really do sell to horses. Either way, horse or not, this is what they say about mobile shopping.

See? Your customers judge you for not having an app and move on to brands who have mobile shopping apps. You’d say, “We already have a world-class, mobile responsive website that works perfectly fine.”

And to that we say, “Good job; that’s necessary, but not enough”.

First off, are you allergic to money? Because if you aren’t, you’re actively keeping it away from your business in the form of upto 10x more conversions that a mobile app guarantees you.

And secondly, do you want your customers to stop bothering you with their purchases? Because the modern customer expects you to provide a seamless & frictionless shopping experience with an app and WILL move to a competitor if your mobile shopping experience is unsatisfactory.

Reason #1 that we mentioned should be reason enough to get an app, but in case research numbers, customer surveys and industry statistics don’t faze you, we’ll tell you real success stories of brands we’ve all heard of, who were saved from losing a ton of revenue because they only relied on mobile web.

Once these brands built native mobile apps and invested in an expert-led mobile app commerce strategy, the results were ✨phenomenal

1. IKEA 

The popular furniture brand knows that its online customers won’t convert unless they know how a piece of furniture will look in their home. So, in a bid to make available a significantly better online shopping experience, it launched a native mobile app which enabled customers to view products available in their space, virtually.

With a mobile app, the brand could take advantage of the AR (Augmented Reality) capabilities of mobile devices and scale furniture based on a room’s dimensions.

IKEA’s mobile shopping app proved to be a hit among customers since they could see the textures of the products and how light and shadows would reflect off or appear on the piece of furniture.

IKEA’s website, in contrast, was ridden with poor layouts, overly busy product pages and content that got lost among all the product categories. This was making it practically impossible for customers to resume searches if they abandon their search for a product on the website and consequently, a large number of conversions were lost regularly. 

2. Steve Madden

Steve Madden is one of the biggest online and offline fashion retailers globally. With a native mobile app, Steve Madden could skyrocket its conversion rate dramatically. The in-app conversion rate touched 10% as compared to a meager 2.5% on mobile web.

3. Starbucks 

The Starbucks app adds to its in-store experience and keeps customers coming back to purchase with a superior shopping experience. The company knows that customers not only want more information about products without having to hold up lines or interact with a barista, but also place their orders fast and pay for them faster. This is exactly what the Starbucks app delivers. Customers browse & order products and pay for their drinks or food with the app, tip the barista, and also identify the songs they’re hearing in the Starbucks store to add to their Spotify playlists. 

Why isn’t mobile web enough for an e-commerce brand?

Okay, in case you DO want to be wowed by numbers too, here’s how mobile web fares as compared to mobile apps – 

Are you too losing out on conversions because you don’t have a mobile app yet?

Shopify’s financial report (2019) shows that by the third quarter of 2019, a staggering 81% of traffic was coming from mobile devices.

When Shopify merchants approach us to get an app built and plan out an app success strategy, their primary concern is often capturing this high volume of traffic and potential leads that  currently don’t translate to conversions and sales.

Today’s website-based buyer journey has too many cracks that purchases can slip through. You see, the modern customer’s buyer journey has a multitude of digital touch points. It is no longer a linear path from discovery to purchase.

Consumers have multiple channels for discovery such as social media, targeted website ads, social proof & word of mouth, and more. There are multiple channels for purchase too, but the most preferred one has been mobile apps for some time now. 57% smartphone users prefer native mobile apps for shopping.

And so, if you’re sticking to just a mobile responsive website, you’re actively choosing NOT to provide an optimal shopping experience.

What does your mobile shopping website lack?

To begin with, it’s the load time. You drop the ball as soon as you make your customer stare at a blank screen for more than 3 seconds.

Imagine this – if you had a storefront on a busy street, and a customer enters your store, would you ignore them for a few seconds and refuse to let them explore your store? Never, right?

This is what waiting for your favorite shopping website to load is like. Your customer base doesn’t have time to spend on mediocre browsing & surfing experiences and suboptimal shopping experiences.

Every second that your Shopify page spends loading, you experience a 7% loss in conversions. On a fundamental level, apps are native and hence faster than mobile web – data transmission is as much as 10x lesser between a server and a mobile app than between a server and a browser, so native apps fetch data much faster than websites.

More importantly, apps offer more mobility, convenience, and allow customers to pick up where they left off, with detailed buyer history and preferences that get saved on a mobile app. Shoppers that use mobile apps browse 286% more products and spend 18x more time in the app.

Are mobile apps really that much better than mobile web?


Hands down. Apps make for better shopping experiences by being fast, data driven, highly engaging, and effective at customer retention.

As a plus, apps also enable customers to take advantage of phone-native features such as GBS-based personalization, AR (Augmented Reality) & VR (Virtual Reality), and live streaming.

Your mobile app keeps shoppers coming back to your brand and drives repeat purchases

Users spent 49% more time on these apps since January 2020, reaching nearly 18 million hours spent weekly in April 2021. One report from research and analytics firm Sensor Tower says that consumer spending on mobile apps and the number of app installs grew significantly during 2020, reaching $50.1 billion globally, across the App Store and Google Play. This number has seen sustained growth as consumers continue to use apps as substitutes for their in-person behaviors even as stores continue to open worldwide.

Here’s why customers want to shop on a mobile app

An app-based shopping experience is more personal, driven by the convenience of format and the sense of touch. Scrolling and tapping have a tactile feel to them, this is as close as it gets to shopping in their favorite mall. It is a relaxing experience, something most modern customers crave when they lay in bed after a long day or are looking for ways to entertain themselves as they wait in the doctor’s office, for instance.

Many online consumers use shopping apps for entertainment, with no intention of purchase. However, 77% of those buyers end up buying in these apps.

Here’s why you want your customers to shop on a mobile app

Shopping on a mobile app armed with push notifications guarantees more engagement The more data you acquire about your customers’ interests and buying intent, the higher the likelihood of purchases, and higher AOVs.

More for you: Why brands like Shein, Nike, and Steve Madden have a mobile app

Here’s why you NEED a mobile app if you don’t want to lose money with just desktop and mobile web

– You’ll drive more conversions

Let’s say Steve from Sacramento is your typical customer. He walks through the maze of products your website is and finally stumbles upon something he likes. He excitedly adds it to the cart and heads over to check out. But, he gets lost in your checkout flow and gets distracted into doing something else. Chances are, he’ll pick up where he left off later if he really wants to, or just look for other more convenient ways of shopping.

Now if this were an app, Steve would have found what he is looking for much easily, added it to his cart and checked out with that product or a couple of more products recommended to him based on a host of in-app interaction and buyer preference data you have on him, in just 5-8 seconds.

If he somehow still gets distracted and abandons his cart, you can still reel him back in and maybe get him to spend some more time and money in your mobile app with highly effective abandoned cart and order tracking push notifications.

If checkout is not straightforward, quick, and painless, you’ll lose out on conversions from loyal customers like Steve.

Your cart abandonment rate will drop drastically

Most Shopify merchants have disappointingly high rates of abandoned carts. The Baymard Institute that studies usability issues, found in a recent study that the average rate of cart abandonment is 69.8%, thanks to convoluted mobile web interfaces.

Abandoned cart push notifications convert 300% higher than abandoned cart email and SMS. Not only abandoned carts, but with a native app, you get insights that enable you to run push notification campaigns for abandoned browsing and abandoned wishlists too.

– You’ll boost retention rates and get those elusive repeat purchases regularly

Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Carl Rivera, Shopify’s VP of Shop stresses that the key for brands to survive in today’s changed economy is lowering customer acquisition costs.

– Carl Rivera, VP of Shop, Shopify on lowering CAC

Increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits up to as much as 95%.

This is where mobile apps come in. Native apps empower you to personalize your communication to an impressive degree. Personalized push notifications help you build segmented journeys for different audiences based on customer behavior. These go a long way in customer retention.

The better, more personalized the shopping experience, the higher the number of lucrative repeat purchases. A testament to the effectiveness of retention-oriented shopping experiences that apps provide is the fact that within just six months, merchants for whom we designed app success journeys saw roughly 30% of total revenue contribution through their app.

You’ll have a high-performing owned sales & marketing channel 

With the growth in mobile commerce, SMS and Push Notifications are the dominant channels for mobile conversions while email remains the preferred channel for desktop. While SMS and email do play a part in acquisition and engagement, their performance has either declined or plateaued over the years.

Push notifications outperform email and SMS among a brand’s owned marketing channels with significantly higher click and conversion rates.   

Read More: Email vs SMS vs Mobile App Push Notifications – what’s better for e-commerce brands?

Personalized push notifications help you build segmented journeys for different audiences based on customer behavior.

An app’s engagement rate is 88% higher with push notifications. A native mobile app contributes to an average of 30% of a brand’s total revenue at a considerably low cost, thus becoming an owned channel with the highest ROI.

We’ve seen 3x – 20x  higher conversion on mobile apps compared to mobile web. Don’t you want to be a part of such a success story too? 

Read More: How Goose Creek Multiplied Its Conversion Rates by 14x With a Native Mobile App

Ready to experience the power of a native mobile app yourself?

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