There’s been a monumental shift in the way people shop. Just like physical stores have been neglected in favor of online shopping, now desktop browsing is being overtaken by mobile.
There are 3.5 billion smartphone owners around the world, and 62% of users say that they’ve made a purchase on that device. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that website owners (particularly those in the eCommerce sector) get on board with the trend towards mobile. After all, it shows no sign of slowing down.
So how do you jump on board? A good way is to integrate your WordPress or Magento site with an app. By integrating your website with a mobile app, you’ll be able to reach new audiences, and if you’re in the eCommerce business, you’ll likely see an increase in customers.
If you’ve never ventured into the world of apps, the thought of taking your website mobile might be daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this blog, to help you get to know the basics and the benefits a little better.
Here we’ll explain what we mean when we talk about integrating your website with an app, give you the low down on the benefits of integration, and run through some of the things that you need to consider before taking the first steps.
What is App Integration?
First things first, it’s important to understand what exactly app integration is.
Simply put, app integration is the process of bringing data from one application to another. In this case, we’re talking about integrating your WordPress or Magento site with a mobile app – taking what’s on your website and having it in mobile format for easier browsing and accessibility.
The Benefits of Integrating Your eCommerce Store
As customers increasingly move to mobile browsing, having an app in your arsenal has a number of key benefits for your eCommerce business:
1. Improve Accessibility
As mentioned earlier, having a mobile app integrated with your website can improve accessibility for users.
There’s no getting around it, mobile is fast becoming the number one way that shoppers browse. More than half of all internet shoppers browse using a mobile device.
This means that having an app is vitally important. It puts you where you need to be, which is right in the hands of your customers. Having an app can increase your customer base threefold, so the importance of integrating your website with an app can’t be understated.
2. Enhance User Experience
The customer is king, and an excellent user experience is the best gift you can bestow.
Now more than ever, customers expect retailers to offer an app that they can browse at their leisure via mobile. Having this plays a huge role in ensuring that positive customer experience.
Fitted with the right capabilities apps can enable your customers to browse offline; you can send push notifications right to their phones; and offer round the clock support directly through the app.
3. Encourage Customer Loyalty
Another great plus point of having an app integrated with your website is the opportunity to foster customer loyalty.
There is not a shopper on the planet who doesn’t love a good deal. Apps present a new way to offer exclusive discounts and promotions, helping to encourage customer loyalty and keep shoppers coming back to you.
What to Do Before Integrating
Before you embark on your mobile app project, there are a couple of things that you need to consider. Laying the foundation for the app ensures that you won’t come across any stumbling blocks later on.
Make Sure Your Servers are API Ready
If you’re wondering what an API is, it stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a toolkit used by developers and programmers to carry out tasks. It’s a premade set of code that allows apps to be programmed in a certain way.
Think, for example, of an automatic door. The API for those doors is the programming that dictates that when a person walks up to the door it must open. It’s then up to the owner of the doors to decide how fast and wide they open.
The good news is that if your website was built using Magento or WordPress, your servers are already “API ready” – which makes the process of integrating your site with an app far smoother.
Decide on Your Primary Device
When integrating your Magento or WordPress website with an app, it’s important to consider how the two devices (that’s mobile and desktop) will work together. Will one be the primary platform over the other, or will both work totally independently of each other?
An interesting example of how primary and secondary devices interact comes in the form of private messaging platform WhatsApp. WhatsApp can be used on both desktop and mobile. However, you need the primary device (mobile) to access the secondary version (desktop). Your mobile is needed to scan a QR code for login.
The approach you take will likely depend on the function of your website, and the services and products that you offer.
Getting Started with WordPress and Magento App Integration
When it comes to integrating your website with an app, there are three main routes you can take.
The first is the DIY approach, where you work on the project by yourself, learning on the job. However, if you have no previous experience with coding or app development this could prove challenging and time consuming.
The second option is to make use of tools that help with the process. These tools, made by professional developers, make the process easier. They include MobiLoud for WordPress. While they help to streamline the process, there might not be the scope for individuality and tailoring to specific needs.
Thirdly, you can reach out directly to professional developers to work with them on your project.
At CreativeMinds, we’re offering a range of consultation and project services for website owners looking to undertake a mobile development project. You can find out more on our website.