WooCommerce is essentially a WordPress-based solution that allows you to create and manage an online store. It is packaged in the form of a plugin and available for free in the WordPress plugin library.
As online commerce becomes more prevalent, businesses are turning to out-of-the-box solutions like WooCommerce. In the WordPress community, WooCommerce is synonymous with ecommerce website development.
While WooCommerce is a great solution for online shopping, the world of ecommerce is moving towards apps. A few years ago, an eConsultancy report showed that 85% of consumers prefer mobile apps for shopping over mobile websites.
Even though WooCommerce is highly mobile responsive, making a dent in a smartphone-driven market requires something more.
Are apps the answer? It is not easy to create an app from scratch. App development is expensive and complicated, at least in its traditional form. We discuss various reasons you should consider the possibility of starting an ecommerce app for your WooCommerce store.
#1: Instant accessibility
How do people buy products online? There is no established user cycle that’s consistent with every segment of online shoppers. Some customers are impulsive buyers, others do their due diligence and research.
A better question to consider is how people discover products. Generally, a user will refer to an online store they can access instantly on their smartphone. If a customer has a shopping app installed on their smartphone, they will refer to it before making a purchase.
Accessibility is thus a huge factor. Any customer will logically browse the online store available instantly on their device before looking anywhere else.
If you don’t have a mobile app, you face a challenge here. Customers will browse through instantly available mobile apps before referring to your WooCommerce store. If they find the product they’re looking for, you lose potential sales and revenue.
Starting an app means you can offer instant access to your users. This will allow you to establish a closer connection with your customers and become the first point of reference.
#2: Strides in no-code app development
One of the big reasons not to make an app was the cost of app development.
As a WooCommerce store owner, you might have been turned off by the large investment needed to create an app from scratch. Neither choosing a development agency nor hiring a team of app developers is an affordable prospect by any means.
In the last few years, however, app development has changed completely. With software like DIY app maker solutions like AppMySite, you can easily make native apps that do not require any coding.
These tools are furthermore easy to use and affordable. You do not need to make a long-standing commitment of thousands of dollars just to get an app for your store.
Some of these no-code platforms sync your WooCommerce store data directly with the app. This has many advantages:
- You don’t need to separately upload product data to your app. All the data is synced directly from your WooCommerce store to the app. This is generally done through WooCommerce REST APIs.
- Any update on your store like the addition of a new product or category will be synced to the app instantly.
- When customers purchase something on the app, the order is reflected on your WooCommerce website’s admin panel.
- Additionally, users who log in to the app can also sign in to the website with the same credentials and vice versa. This happens because user data, like product information, is also synced between the app and website.
This level of synchronicity between your WooCommerce store and the app makes the prospect of launching an app attractive. And don’t forget, you don’t need any technical expertise to use no-code platforms.
#3: Performance of mobile websites compared to apps
As a WooCommerce site owner, you might ask why is there a need to build an app when your mobile website is seamless and responsive.
What is qualitatively better about mobile apps?
Let’s talk about performance. Mobile websites can perform at a fairly high level if they’re optimized to do the same. With a decent website host and efficient management of site resources, you can get your mobile website to perform at a high level.
Even an optimized and fast mobile website is essentially built to perform on a web browser. An app is coded to perform in the OS environment of a mobile app.
An Android app for example is designed to perform in an Android environment. The same is true for iOS apps. This is why apps can leverage mobile hardware options like camera, microphone, storage, and more with relative ease.
Mobile websites are not specifically built for a specific mobile OS or hardware functionality. As mentioned earlier, a website is built to run in the rendering engine of a browser. They cannot access the hardware of a smartphone, thus limiting their level of functionality.
Apps are thus much better at delivering a holistic mobile experience.
#4: Regular engagement with customers
Reaching out to website customers is generally done through third-party channels like email, social media, and search engines. Marketing your products on these platforms can take a toll. You’ll need a marketing team to effectively promote your website on these platforms.
Apps are better at maintaining regular customer engagement with channels like push notifications. Reacting to a push notification is much easier than responding to an email marketing mailer.
With powerful deep linking and interactive notifications, customer engagement is much more potent with mobile apps. You can further segment your user base and customize your notifications for specific audiences through platforms like Firebase.
Compared to the cost of marketing your website on search engines and social media, notifications are much smarter. Leveraging mobile sales and marketing reduces the strain on your website marketing team to deliver on every channel.
You can also take a measured approach to social media ads and other forms of outbound marketing.
#5: Apps are great for your brand
You would find it difficult these days to find a business without a website. CMS platforms have lowered the entry barrier to get started with website development. With WordPress, Wix, Weebly, or any other CMS, you can set up a website in minutes.
The next step in the hierarchy is launching an app. Not all website owners can publish an app to the app stores. The reasons for this can vary.
Most notably, companies avoid app development because of the complexity and cost involved. We’ve already covered how powerful app makers make development both easy and affordable.
Offering new users a chance to download your app also elevates the value of your brand. Companies that have a live app are valued highly and are better synced with the prevailing undercurrent towards mobile-optimized applications.
Website owners and niche brands are still playing catch up with app development. This is a good time to launch an app and give your brand a differentiating attribute in a competitive market. If you keep improving your app and add powerful features over time, your app will have its following.
How often do you use your smartphone for shopping? Apps are the most accessible medium for shoppers to place orders on their smartphones. This article covers five reasons you should start an ecommerce app for your WooCommerce store. The reasons here, based on the prevailing trends in the online retail space, should help you consider the possibility of creating an app for your business.