Customers today, especially the coveted millennials, want everything fast. In addition to speed and convenience, the mobile apps that are most successful make the mobile-purchase process simpler, including the use of deep linking directly to products that customers want to review and purchase quickly.

Gary Burtka, vice president of U.S. operations, RTB House

Gary Burtka, vice president of U.S. operations, RTB House

It’s been nearly three years since we hit a historic inflection point when online shopping on phones and computers either equaled or surpassed in-store buying across key product categories. Consumers are now more comfortable with mobile commerce than ever before, especially millennials who now shop nearly half the time on their smartphones, per Nielsen.

Yet, as mobile shopping has taken off, many brands still don’t invest the resources to ensure an enjoyable, streamlined user experience.

For brands building a mobile app to make money and create ongoing user engagement, the top two requirements are a focus on convenience and speed.

When brands don’t deep link to product ads, returning shoppers are directed to the home screen. From there, they’re forced to search around to find the shopping cart or re-discover products. It’s a bad experience; one that brands should deliver only if they don’t want to make money.

This, for instance, is an example of deep linking to a specific product on Jet.com. This, directing the user to the home screen, is not. Companies like Branch specialize in supercharging mobile growth through a better experience.

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With the number of global mobile users poised to surpass five billion this year, and the average U.S. user that now spends about five hours a day on a mobile device, it’s crazy that more brands aren’t more vested in getting the mobile user experience right to boost online shopping sales.

Cookie killers

With the advent of ITP [Intelligent Tracking Prevention] for the iPhone platform as of iOS 11 that AdAge called a “cookie killer” back in 2017, smart marketers have gone in-app to reach Apple users. For the overall market, it’s still about 50/50 mobile apps vs. mobile websites when it comes to how shoppers are buying—but it’s starting to lean more towards in-app.

When it comes to personalization and a good user experience, Amazon is top-of-mind, no matter what format: desktop, mobile app or mobile web. However, there are mobile apps that “have completely nailed personalization” and provide a positive experience that keeps people coming back instead of abandoning them. Last year, UX Planet called out mobile apps from Starbucks, Nike+ Run Club and Airbnb as among its short list of top-five mobile app experiences.

Given how costly it is to acquire users or re-engage them, and how difficult it is to get mobile-app users into the habit of picking brands’ apps, with about 21 percent of people abandoning apps after one use, many brands need to up their game when it comes to mobile experience.

For brands building a mobile app to make money and create ongoing user engagement, the top two requirements are a focus on convenience and speed. Customers today, especially the coveted millennials, want everything fast. In addition to speed and convenience, the mobile apps that are most successful make the mobile-purchase process simpler, including the use of deep linking directly to products that customers want to review and purchase quickly.

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Another mind-boggling issue that needs to be addressed, and an ongoing pain point for CMOs, is the delivery of an omnichannel experience. Today’s tech-savvy customers are spoiled. They expect to be catered to and understood by brands. They want a personal-shopper experience. So brands that make shoppers re-enter credit card information across platforms or don’t know what products, colors or other preferences they desire and will spend money on based on past purchase behaviors are the losers in terms of lost customers and business revenues.

With about 90 percent of people’s time on mobile devices spent in apps, and U.S. retail m-commerce sales forecast to reach $268.78 billion this year, up nearly 30 percent from 2018, it’s quite a costly mistake for brands not to focus budget and resources on a better experience.

RTB House is a global company that provides retargeting technology for brands worldwide. Based in Poland, the company set up its U.S. operation in April 2018.

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