App usage grew 76% in 2014, with shopping apps leading the way, according to a report by Flurry.

In 2014, 68% of time spent on Target mobile properties was in-app versus that on the web, up from 21% in 2013, according to Comscore.

One is a trend report and the other a brand report--both highlighting the growing popularity and usage of apps for shopping.

Do you have an eCommerce web store and are looking to build an associated app or are you planning to launch your eCommerce storefront as a mobile-first startup?

Either way, you'd need to be mindful of the following things if you want to be successful with your eCommerce mobile app.

1. Offer something unique

Are you retailing what's already available across other stores or do you offer something unique to your customers? An extremely important question to answer.

If a product is available across storefronts, you simply end up in a price war, which means you'd spend more to acquire the user than earn from them for that one single transaction. And the other flipside to that is that you'd not be able to build loyalties, thus restricting the opportunity to earn more from the same customer--or have an increased Customer Lifetime Value.

You can see the trend of building apps for a mass audience, but that's what everybody else is doing, ignoring the niche segments--those that have the potential to spend far more on their habit.

Niche segments are more passionate and tend to be loyal with brands. If you're able to offer something unique to a mass audience or cater to a niche segment with an unexplored offering, your margins are bound to be much higher than most eCommerce storefronts that rely on volumes.

2. Think about engagement

What are the chances that your customer would be a repeat buyer, reaching out to your app for a second time? The category of product you sell will determine whether your app has a higher earning potential from the same customer.

If not, you'd have to continuously look for new customers to stay in business.

Give your customers the means to stay further engaged in your mobile app beyond what they just purchased. It could be a cross-sell or an up-sell of other/associated products or information about the niche product (such as what Watchville offers).

Think creatively on how you can increase the Customer Lifetime Value.

3. Leverage deep linking

An unexplored or uncharted feature of building apps is deep linking. This is going to be an integral part of the future of eCommerce apps and you might want to leverage when there isn't much competition already.

A deep link is a link that takes you to a specific part of an app from an external link--what has been common across websites.

Deep links are used in engagement campaigns because this allows ecommerce apps to advertise an actual item instead of only the ecommerce app itself.

So, if you're selling artisanal candy-flavored cheese from your estate through a mobile app, you can now advertise or promote the link to a specific type of cheese available in your app. The customer clicks the link and is directed to that cheese within your app. As opposed to earlier directing the user to download the app and then look for that specific item.

Your campaigns and conversions are more targeting with the use of deep linking.

Published on: Sep 8, 2015