Mobile-First Strategy Should Put Customer Experience First

Implementing a mobile app strategy.

Mobile-first is not just a buzzword, it’s a key business strategy that could help retailers gain an edge over competitors. Consumers are increasingly relying on mobile devices over desktop computers for retail transactions. By 2025, mobile ecommerce sales are expected to account for 44% of all ecommerce sales in the U.S., putting pressure on brands to provide seamless digital experiences across devices.

Ninety percent of mobile internet time is spent in apps. To successfully compete in the mobile-first landscape, businesses must develop a high-performing app that prioritizes customer experience.

Businesses invest heavily in their mobile apps, which means it’s important not to waste resources by misunderstanding requirements. By considering and implementing the following recommendations, business leaders can build a mobile app that boosts conversion rates and enhances customer loyalty. 

Choose the Right Approach 

Not all app types are created equal. Before launching into app design, brands must explore mobile strategies and identify which will best help them achieve their goals. Options include  native mobile apps, hybrid mobile apps, and progressive web apps, each with differing core purposes. 

No matter which option is selected, business leaders must also study device compatibility, mobile network connections, and the different requirements for international markets.

Keep the Design Simple and Intentional 

A retailer’s mobile app can’t simply mirror their website. Developers and designers must determine which features and functions fit better in the app than the website and vice versa, designing specifically for the mobile experience. 

Optimized app design requires brands to understand user needs, simplifying the design and striking a delicate balance between content, navigation, and decision-making. If too much is crammed into the app, it will confuse customers and prompt abandonment — less than 10% of users will stay in a mobile app if it doesn't immediately meet their needs. 

[Read more: Sephora CTO Sree Sreedhararaj Reveals the Beauty Retailer’s Digital Dominance Journey]

Speed and performance should always be prioritized over flashy design elements — slow load times and crashes should be minimized at all costs. Thirty percent of users will abandon in-app purchasing if the performance is sluggish. 

Don’t Skip User Testing, Don’t Make Assumptions

At the beginning of the app development process, retailers must carefully research user priorities and know their audience. However, it’s not until the app is in customers’ hands that brands can truly understand behaviors and preferences. Customers are full of surprises.

Before launching the app to a wider audience, businesses should roll out a beta version to smaller groups (under 10,000), closely tracking behaviors, learning from mistakes and successes and optimizing the experience. A/B testing features and content can also aid decision-making and spark discoveries. 

Understand What’s Working, Resolve What Isn’t

After launching the app publicly, technical performance and customer experience must be monitored closely and on an ongoing basis. Digital Experience Intelligence (DXI) platforms are essential tools in maintaining a frictionless mobile experience. Driven by AI, DXI platforms track and analyze millions of customer interactions, immediately alerting IT/development teams to technical glitches and anomalies. 

For example, if a faulty promo code is leading to cart abandonment, or if a broken link is triggering an error message, businesses can quickly resolve the issues before they impact revenue and user experience. 

Additionally, DXI tools analyze real-world user data to identify areas of success and potential growth. For example, if an augmented reality feature in the app is notably increasing conversion rates, the business can actively promote it to more users. 

Cultivate Long-Term Loyalty

If executed correctly, mobile apps can outperform desktop interfaces, boosting customer engagement and driving sales. Over time, a mobile-first strategy will build fierce brand loyalty and help businesses successfully meet ever-evolving consumer demands. 

Asim Zaheer, Chief Marketing Officer, Glassbox

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