The e-commerce systems, created in responsive web design, are standard today. Online store with matching layout to mobile devices is a kind of must have in online sales. However, modern customer is demanding and needs more and more efficient forms of online shopping. A mobile app, integrated with online store of the brand, meets the demands of today’s consumers.
Previously, problems with updates were a nuisance for the companies, which made mobile apps available for their customers. Therefore, very often application did not show the actual state, it was not integrated with e-commerce system, so it became outdated. In the case of mobile app, created by i-systems, all the information is collected au courant form the online store of the brand, hence inventory or discount data are always valid.
The advantage of the mobile app over RWD
First of all, mobile application is an additional sales channel, which increases the number of mobile customers, thanks to the possibility of efficient and convenient shopping. In comparison to the online store, adjusted to mobile devices, mobile application has a lot of advantages. There is no need for the users to login to the online store each time, and thanks to push notifications he or she receives information about the latest discounts through the application. Research shows that up to 58% of mobile customers would prefer to use mobile app if there was such a possibility, generating at the same time 3.7 times higher conversion rates.
Meeting business needs
While creating a mobile app, dedicated to a particular brand, it is important to become familiar with the objects and business processes, which will allow to adapt the application to the needs of consumers. Department of analysis at i-systems prepared thorough workbook that describes the particular elements of the mobile application.
Workbook indicates business actors – logged in and logged out customers and the store’s admin, who manages settings in mobile app. It also indicates 5 key business processes. The main processes include: account registration, login, account management, product search and order registration. Characteristics of business processes has been developed on the basis of prepared SIPOC diagrams, which are a tools for description of suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers.
For each process the main goal and specific scenarios have been described. Example: account registration of the retail customer is a basic scenario, whereas the possibility of introducing corporate data for business customer is a detailed scenario. In each process business objects were created – 18 for the current version of the mobile application. Each business object has a name, a special designation, type – that is the division into a standard object, which is in each version of the application, or special one. For business objects a brief description was created, as well as attributes, meaning the scope of information which are possible to assign to the given object, such as: name, surname, e-mail, phone number, password, shipping address, invoice data etc.
Building mobile app
Performing an accurate description of the processes and business objects occurring in the mobile application is the first step of its creation. If a company, which already has the e-commerce system, is interested in mobile application, it places an order and i-systems employees begin work on recognizing business needs and fitting actors, objects and processes to them.
Mobile app, built by i-systems, is available for iOS and Android. Two versions of the mobile app have to be prepared for those systems. In addition, each company selling online, wants the application to be consistent with the visual identity of the online store, which is why it has to be personalized each time, so as the template, colors and icons harmonized with online store of the brand. Functions are matched to the individual needs of the company. Next the application is integrated with e-commerce system, and payments are configured from online store level. After building the mobile app, based on business needs of the company and adapted to its e-commerce system, i-systems team submits the application to the App Store and Google Play. Therefore i-systems customers can have their own dedicated applications, ready to be shared with their target customers.
The information about the mobile app can be published on the online store. After clicking the icon, App Store or Google Play is displayed, where the user can download the app.
The main functionalities of the mobile app
There are several ways of logging in to the mobile app built by i-systems. It can be done in a traditional way – by entering e-mail address and the password obtained while placing an order in online store. While entering data, one obtains a token, so that later the user could log in the application, without the need to re-enter personal details. Another form is log in by individual Facebook profile.
After starting the mobile app, a potential customer will see two banners, showing new and recommended products. Next version will be extended, so as the admin of the store could create the home page by his own by choosing the categories he would like to place there. There would be also more than two categories to be chosen.
Application integrated with e-commerce system does not have to be manually updated along with every change in the online store. Updating e-commerce system does not mean having new version of mobile app. Moreover, building application by the same company that implemented e-commerce system, allows to develop and modernize application, so as it was always updated and met customers’ needs.
The customer can also sort products according to the newest, cheapest or the most expensive. He or she can also add product to favourites, in order to get back to them in time. While opening the product sheet, the user will see exactly the same information as in online store of the brand. Also, below product data, recommended products can be found.
An interesting feature of the mobile application are filters, built automatically for the category and the flag. The mobile application has exactly the same filters as e-commerce system. Filters are built dynamically, so if something changes in the online store will also be updated in the application. There is no need to enter new data manually and submit an app to the App Store or Google Play once again.
Shopping by mobile app is exactly the same process as in the case of online store. There is a possibility to find product by using the search engine based on SOLR, add product to cart, use a discount coupon, modify delivery data and select the payment method. Each purchase is shown in the „orders” tab.
Prospects for development of mobile application
Mobile application, built by i-systems, is most of all a new sales channel, allowing more efficient and safer shopping. Application integrated with online store will be developed and updated according to individual needs of the brand. Currently, it is adapted to the latest version of e-commerce system.
In the nearest future, it will be possible to login with touch ID, as well as pay by credit card. The development also covers work on implementation of push notifications, which are alerts about discounts and sales. The administrator of the store will be able to create discount offer in e-commerce system, and the user will receive it directly on mobile app. It is extremely interesting form of reaching the customer, because only 10% of customers open e-mails, while 90% of them open push notifications. Beacons will be another novelty. They will allow to strengthen omnichannel actions, connected with the use of mobile app. Beacons are devices which allow communication with smartphones or tablets. The customer while walking past brick and mortar sales point of the given brand, in which the beacon has been mounted, will receive notification about discounts or interesting offers of the store.
There are not many e-commerce companies which build mobile apps, as the separate mobile department has to be created. If the company does not have such a department, it has to subcontract building an app to other company. In such cases it is very common that problems with integration arise and application cannot be updated. There is a risk that the product range would not be actual, and the product purchased via mobile app would not be available. Beside the problems with data exchange, there is also an issue of costs, which are much higher than in the case of building mobile app by the company which implements e-commerce systems.
The online store, created by i-systems, which is integrated with ERP system and mobile app is a efficient and safe sales model.