The short answer? As soon as possible
According to Digital Commerce 360, mobile retail traffic has surpassed desktop retail traffic since 2014. Adapting to changes in the market is key to keeping up with competition in the e-commerce world and falling behind can often mean it’s nearly impossible to catch up.
The last thing you want to have is a business selling similar products to yours come out of the woodwork with a seamless mobile app that reverses all your web success in a matter of months.
When you need quick and easy customer transactions
There is no longer a fear of making purchases online – it's safer and more secure than ever. With e-commerce apps, personal information and data are auto-filled, adding to the customer’s peace of mind as well as being more efficient. Apps are faster, simpler, more convenient and have a whole host of other benefits that are certain to increase conversion and enhance brand loyalty with your customers.
When you’re responding to your customers’ needs
Analytics are your new best friend. Once you see that you have grown a large customer base on your website and the majority of your web traffic is coming from mobile, it’s time to get the ball rolling on your e-commerce app. Your customers are telling you that mobile retail is their preferred way of shopping. Providing them with an app will make their experience more intuitive and beneficial which, in the long run, increases your business profits. It's a win-win situation.
When you want increased brand loyalty
Your customers have already proved that they love your mobile-optimised website, but keeping up that rapport is essential when you shift platforms. Long term capitalisation on mobile traffic with push notifications and targeted promotions and advertisements are the key ingredients to e-commerce business success, as it creates brand loyalty for your customers.
An app platform is the perfect place to introduce a rewards program or a loyalty scheme for regular customers, offering them exclusive deals and offers or complimentary items when they shop, building up points every time they make a purchase.
With just a website, your best option is to cookie visitors and retarget them with browser and social media advertisements in the hope that the customer clicks on them. And, even then, retargeted cookie adverts are being limited by Apple’s Safari so you only have roughly 24 hours to capture the attention of iPhone users until you disappear from their radar. So, push notifications through an e-commerce app really is the most sustainable option when it comes to creating brand loyalty. Oh, and did we mention it’s so much cheaper than sending traditional SMS messages, emails or running a retargeting campaign? You really can’t go wrong.
As soon as you have a loyal and extensive customer base with most of your traffic coming from your mobile-optimised site, you have the resources to build, and you have a strong desire to gain more customers, then it’s time to bite the bullet and launch your e-commerce mobile application. Trust us, you won’t regret it.