M-Commerce Over E-Commerce: Engaging Shoppers in 2020

M-comm (mobile commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services through wireless handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. Recent data show the current e-comm market is worth 3.46 trillion with an annual growth of 18%, and the m-comm is predicted to dominate online sales by 2021, driving 54% (or $659 billion) in sales, meaning it’s closer and closer to becoming consumers' preferred channel within the next five years.

The e-commerce market is more competitive than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, and mobile services seem to be at the center of it all. Last week Facebook announced Shops which is a new e-comm service that lets small businesses set up free storefronts. Besides that, an increasingly large percentage of Instagram users have been using the mobile shopping feature, which is the start of Facebook’s m-comm ambitions. As we all know, consumers are reliant on digital devices now more than ever. Last year m-comm comprised over a quarter of total e-comm, and broke sales records on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Furthermore, mobile apps have the potential to become a major channel for shopping and to change consumer shopping habits.

Bar graph depicting the growth of mobile commerce from 2017 to 2021
(Source: Bigcommerce)

Why are mobile apps so critical for our e-comm stores? Most consumers prefer mobile applications because of the enhanced UI/UX, usability and easy navigation of a mobile app which lead to high conversion rates and a reduced time of response rate. Even more, an app could easily save users' preferences and skip the information they have filled to allow them to smoothly move through their next checkout. Users can go back to any step in checkout in case they wish to adjust any information or correct a mistake which is far more flexible and effective. Some apps are integrating with Touch ID /Face ID to make the whole process more like a quick, streamlined journey. This will reduce the cart abandonment and help boost the loyalty of the customers.

As a digital product agency, Majestyk heavily emphasizes the importance of mobile apps. For e-commerce, you may start wondering, is there anything only an app could do? The answer is yes, and a lot. Another plus of a mobile application is the engagement of the phone’s in-built features:

  • AR & VR  — Mobile apps with AR & VR features are showing brands’ commitment to innovation and providing unique experiences for modern consumers, while traditional e-com websites couldn't. For example, Warby Parker had an update out last year that let customers virtually try on glasses in the app before they buy them. There are plenty of apps and websites that let you overlay a pair of glasses on your face, but Warby Parker is taking things a step further by actually rendering the glasses in a live, 3D preview on your face with augmented reality, which relies on Apple’s ARKit and True Depth features.
  • GPS  — Many mobile apps use the device's GPS to pinpoint the customers’ location, or more important, the location of the dress you just bought. You can track your online shopping order way more conveniently with the little map that you can zoom in on using your mobile app.
  • Camera & Microphone  — With mobile apps, a lot of processes have been made automatic, especially with checkout and payments. You can simply scan your credit card with your phone’s camera instead of having to key in the numbers. Or you could even use it to scan a QR code to make the payment. All incredibly user friendly features that push a user through the checkout process even faster.
  • Offline— The last and the best thing about mobile apps is that some apps can be used offline. It’s far more convenient this way rather than having to connect to the Internet for everything, especially if you’re in areas with weaker signals or if you’re traveling. This way, you’re never inconvenienced to not be able to access your favorite online shopping app.

Apps make it easier for users to do what they need to do as compared to doing it on a mobile web browser or even on desktop. Apart from that, apps have better navigation experience and are making purchases easier and less clumsier than websites by storing transaction history and delivery addresses. It comes as no shock that almost 50% of traffic comes from mobile apps.

Mobile App Acquisition Strategy

Now the question is: How to optimize the mobile e-commerce business? Like every product out there, apps also need marketing to reach people and make profits. In this section we will talk about the User Acquisition Strategy and how it can help your e-comm app.

  • Invest in SEO and ASO to generate awareness
    SEO is about optimizing your business for search engines, while mobile app ASO applies to an app store for basically the same purpose. They are both the  process of optimizing your app’s presence and should be the foundation of your mobile app promotion strategy. Besides that, using app indexing to direct users who search for shopping related topics to your app store page will also help.
  • Direct Web Visitors to Your App
    Add a CTA button to your e-comm website to encourage existing customers to download your app, offer incentives to download like a discount or rewards points that will only be accessible to app users. 
  •  Make Downloading and Authentication Easy
    If you use both email and phone number verification, with some other security features on top, users might just delete your app. So you need to make it as simple as possible. The best way to make authentication fast and effortless is by implementing social media authentication.
  • Converting Abandoned Cart Users with Reminders
    Take full advantage of the mobile device, such as sending a personalized push notification to the customer with the image of the product that he/she has just abandoned as a friendly reminder that the item is still in their cart. Show alternatives to the abandoned product, giving people more choices and encouraging them to make a purchase.

Mobile App Retention Strategy

What's better than acquiring one new customer?

It sounds like a trick question, but the answer is not "acquiring two customers." It's actually retaining an existing customer. Retention strategy is essential to the success and growth of the m-comm business.


  • Acquiring a new customer is five times as expensive as retaining an existing one.
  • Data shows that repeat purchases make up only 8% of customers, however, they contribute up to 40% of all sales.
  • 86% of shopping apps get uninstalled in the first 4 weeks of app install.
  • A small improvement in retention rate results in
Chart tracking changes in retention.
(Source: Shopify)

So the problem is, how do you make sure your user is interested in returning to your app after their first purchase?


  • Leverage Personalization
    Always personalizing your message is the key to better user engagement and retention. Customers today expect brands to proactively deliver a personalized shopping experience. Based on their past behavior, you can segment your customers and gather more detailed data to help you engage them. The e-comm consumers not only expect personalization in terms of marketing communication, but also their experiences within the app. Especially for people who have placed the order for the first time and haven’t placed the order in the next month, you could try to use in-app notifications or emails to suggest relevant products based on their previous order.
  • Customer Feedback Loop
    How do you know if your app is working well and providing benefits to the users if you have no idea how your customers feel about it? Don't be afraid when you receive negative reviews on the App Store, each one could be a chance to create a better app. Especially for e-comm business, product problems are complex, so ask users directly in order to learn about and solve product problems quickest.

    That’s why a customer feedback loop is so helpful to address any negative reviews and enhance customer experience. Not only can you collect the feedback, but you can find a way to analyze the data and tailor your business to your customers’ unique needs.
  • Offer Loyalty and Referral Programs
    Customer loyalty is important, as it offers a way of measuring your customer retention rate and customer lifetime value. Recent data shows that the top 10% of your customers spend three times more than the rest of your customer base, so you'll want to make sure these shoppers are more than satisfied.

    Offer loyalty & referral programs to help engage and retain customers for the long term and efficiently drive repeat purchases, turning one-time shoppers into frequent shoppers. The more they shop and interact with your business, the more they're rewarded. With most brands and retailers offering loyalty rewards, it is important to differentiate your program from that of your competitors, which helps customers form a relationship with your brand.

As we know, the mobile ecommerce market is highly dynamic nowadays. Online shopping experience and consumers' preference evolve constantly. User engagement is the foundation on which you can convert a casual window shopper into a buyer, and eventually a loyalist. You can only stay on top of the game if you know how to retain them and constantly engage with them. Convincing users to download and use your app is not easy, the key is to show them some love in a personalized, contextual, and timely manner.

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