Small businesses face many challenges like streamlining supply chain, operations and sales.

Amidst operational activities, businesses are often torn away from the important task of focussing effort and money on attracting and retaining customers.

With many activities like production and operations taking priority in day-to-day business, sales and marketing often take a back seat.

However, with little or no sales and marketing effort, business fails to attract and retain customers. And with no customer base expansion, businesses stagnate or come to a halt.

Therefore, small businesses need to find innovative, automated and cost-effective ways to reach a large audience to acquire customers and retain acquired customers.

Retaining existing customers helps small businesses expand their loyal customer base which makes their businesses’ foundation strong. Also, retaining customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.

Besides this, small businesses need to find a way to market the right things at the right time to the right customers, so that they can gain maximum benefits from low marketing investments.

To achieve all this, businesses can start with creating an app that aligns with their business objectives and can be used effectively and easily by customers to achieve their purchase objectives.

In this article, we will cover points on how to create an app using an online app maker to help businesses sell and grow. We will talk about shopping app features that help businesses achieve their revenue objectives. Lastly, we talk about ways to promote a good shopping app to gain customer attention and action.

How to create a shopping app that helps sell

Choose the right platform

Before making an app, decide on the platform you should build the app for. Most of the businesses build apps for Apple and Android, as they are the most popular platforms and have high market penetration. Choose the right platform, so that you can get maximum returns on your investment.

Do not aim to build apps for all the platforms possible, as that may waste your resources and dilute your focus. Choose one or two platforms and create efficient native apps for them to get maximum benefits.

Plan functionalities as per customer requirement

After you have decided the platform, decide the functions you want in your app. You can develop a web API-based app. Such dynamic apps work in sync with your existing e-commerce platform. Content of such apps updates automatically as you update your website.

How your app functions—independently or in sync with your web platform—should be decided as per the objectives you wish to achieve from both the platforms—web and mobile.

Design intuitive UI

Design of your app is an important factor to engage users and get them to undertake desired actions. The design should be intuitive and easy to use. Customers should smoothly be directed to buy more and complete their purchases.

Create a plan for how a user’s experience will be while using the app. Their experience should be satisfactory, smooth and conducive to your business’ goals.

Create easy search features

Make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for. Add filters, categories, tags, etc., which enable shoppers to easily find their preferred products and purchase them easily. Search features should be intuitive and be updated to match users’ behaviour and preferences.

Use popular terms to name categories and avoid using jargon. Study if your customers are reaching their desired products with the current categories on your app. Optimize categories to enable maximum sales.

Build an intuitive selling cart

The selling cart in your app should leave room for making more purchases. It should not be a dead-end cart. There should be options to continue shopping more products, purchasing higher quantities of existing products in the cart, and exploring details of products added to the cart, etc.

A cart should be well-designed, offer a satisfactory user experience and be tested well in advance to ensure that customers purchase what they intend to and more.

Include payment gateway

Integrate a good payment gateway to your app to ensure that customers adding products to carts can easily make payments to complete their orders. Many shopping apps allow users to pay through mobile wallets, credit & debit cards, cash on delivery, net banking, etc.

Test your payment gateway to ensure that the payment process is smooth. Create meaningful error messages to inform your users about successful payments and causes of failed payments, so that they feel confident about making payment through your app.

How apps help sell and market to grow

Allow easy access for repeat users

Mobile apps are used by businesses to tap customers who’d like to be connected with their business often and for a long time or to achieve an objective that will require your users to re-visit your online platform frequently.

For example, it makes sense for educational businesses to have apps, as their users like to visit their educational products often or regularly to complete their learning objectives.

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Offer step-by-step purchase path

Apps allow businesses to break the selling or content/service consumption activity for users in bite-sized steps, so that the success and conversion rate is higher. This also increases businesses’ return on selling cost.

For example, food outlets break the ordering process in steps like add pin code and address, choose order items, review cart, make payment, and track delivery.

Make purchase process intuitive

You can use an online app maker to make an intuitive app with relevant filters and sorting options. Your users should be able to browse through the app easily and be able to find and purchase preferred products quickly.

The taps required to find products and make purchases should be minimal. Update filters regularly, keeping user preference in mind.

Reach customers’ pockets

With a mobile app for your commerce activities, you can reach the pockets of your customers. Customers who download your app on their mobile phones give you easy access to them. Through apps, you can achieve a lot of sales and marketing objectives.

You can easily gain access to location and contact data of users and tap that information to send marketing messages to market and re-market.

Engage customers effectively

With an app, businesses can engage customers better, as they have more opportunities to know their customers’ behaviour. You can use an online app creator to make an app that requests for access to your users’ phones’ data like location, contacts, health activity, and mobile wallet.

This information can help you offer the right content and products to the right segment of users at the right time. It helps makes your marketing effort relevant and engaging.

Market cost-effectively

With apps, you can send marketing messages to customers without spending a lot of effort and money. As the apps are already on your users’ mobile phones, all you have to do is set up push-notifications, in-app pop-ups and in-app Ads.

You can even send notifications and messages to users when their preferred or bookmarked items are in stock or on discount. You can create seasonal lookbooks to attract customers.

Retain customers

With apps, it’s easy to retain customers, as customers download the direct gateway to your offerings on their mobile devices. Since they commit to downloading your app, they are bound to return to you for repeat purchase or usage of your products and services.

You can even offer loyalty rewards to your customers on every purchase they make. You can allow them to redeem rewards while making purchases, motivating them to return to buy more.

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Up-sell

Apps, when well designed, make it easy for you to up-sell and increase users’ average basket size.  You can offer smart recommendations to customers based on the data collected regarding their browsing behaviour and preferences.

You can offer recommendations to customers at the right time for the right products at the right price, so that they are encouraged to purchase more often and larger baskets.

Sell cost-effectively

Start-ups have to spend extensively to create brand awareness and build trust in the market. The cost of acquiring customers can be very high, but the golden rule to steadily increase revenue over time is to increase the base of loyal customers and motivating them to purchase often and more.

With apps promoted among existing and new customers, small businesses create an opportunity to sell to users for a long time, increasing lifetime value of customers acquired and reducing cost to sell.

Help complete orders

Through apps, you can offer various features to ensure that your users complete their orders. Once users have added products to carts, enable them to make easy payments to complete orders. In case users abandon or exit their carts, send them notifications at appropriate times to revisit the app to finish payments.

Also, offer rewards and discounts to users to motivate them to complete their orders in case they abandon their carts for long.

Cost-effective methods to promote your new app

Once you have created a selling app using an online app creator, you need to market your app in a way that existing and new customers are encouraged to download and use it.

Incentivize your customers to download app

Give incentives to your existing and new customers to download your mobile apps. You can offer introductory reward points, discounts, cash backs, etc. to encourage customers to use your app. Once they download it and see value in using it, they continue using the app to become valuable to you in the long run.

Incentives given to customers are part of your initial marketing cost. The return on this investment comes in the form of repeat purchases made by customers through your app.

Create a referral program

Also encourage existing customers to refer new users to your app. You can offer rewards to existing customers to refer new users to the app. Referral rewards on users acquired can be very effective to gain more customers. This is also a very cost-effective method to gain customers.

New referrals are more likely to purchase with you, as they receive your recommendation from a person they know, which helps build trust easily.

Build user community

Build a sense of community around your brand. When customers are attached to your business because of the affiliation they feel to the brand and the community around it, it is easier to promote your app and products among them, as they already believe in the value you are capable of delivering.

You can even attach yourself to a relevant social cause to gain loyalty of customers who support that cause. There are many other elements that help customers come together.

Leverage viral marketing and social media

You can use cheap marketing tools that help reach a wide audience. Some of these marketing tools are viral video and gif marketing and marketing through social media platforms like facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Create a hit viral Ad and distribute it on social media to gain attention.

Research essential elements of a viral Ad and create a video, radio Ad, meme, or Gif Ad that helps put the word out to a large audience.

Using the above methods, small businesses create a selling platform that helps them sell and market cost-effectively. Besides selling, it helps acquire and retain customers, which is essential for businesses to grow.

Apps also help run referral programs that work well to gain new customers, if designed well. Once you have created an app that helps you sell and grow, create a meaningful marketing campaign that helps promote the mobile selling platform among potential users.

If you already have a Woocommerce website or web app, then you can easily convert your Woocommerce website to mobile app using an online app creator like AppMySite.

Apps can be very pivotal to create an environment of growth for businesses. Mobile selling platforms are revolutionary for businesses to gain regular access to their customers, influence & mould their behaviour, and achieve business marketing and revenue objectives.