Even though the B2C market remains diverse and staggered globally, there are a few interesting trends and patterns that holds true irrespective of the geography. One of these trends is the massive influx of mobile in making purchase decisions. Reports indicate that more than 10% of the total sales in US will happen online. This online retail domain is poised to grow to $435 billion by 2018. Of this, as much as 1/4th of the total e-commerce sale will be driven by mobile.

These statistics are compelling enough to make B2C enterprises work towards providing a mobile centric retail experience. Some of the ways in which mobile can be transformed to make an effective sales channel to increase revenue include –

  • Increasing coverage on the mobile ecosystem to improve reach
  • Use advertising and digital marketing campaigns focusing on mobile
  • Leverage the key shopping events and days to increase mobile shopping footfalls

Why mobile for e-commerce

Globally mobile usage has been increasing at a dramatic rate.  The segment is just too big to ignore for serious players. Consider some of the statistics –

  • 79% Use Smartphone to help with Shopping
  • 59% purchase on smartphones
  • 71% is the conversion rate for mobile searches

These factors are adequate to depict the tremendous sway the mobile user segment holds over B2C e-commerce. If your ecommerce business wants to stay competitive and sustainable, it will make perfect sense to have a ‘mobile-first’ strategy.

Right approach to mobile e-commerce development

There are 4 popular ways to develop an e-commerce store

  • Responsive design – The sites created can be easily viewed and accessed using both – traditional desktops as well as mobile. It offers easy reading and navigation across different screen sizes, form factors and operating systems.
  • Mobile web – The sites are created specifically for the limited screen size of a mobile browser. It can be accessed by any browser installed within the smartphone.
  • Native app – Is an application designed specifically for the mobile. It needs to be downloaded first from app store and can be used on smartphones only.
  • Hybrid app – This is a blend of the best of mobile web + native app. It helps handle features of web along with native mobile capabilities (camera, phone contacts etc.).

Cross platform vs. native apps

From a development perspective, there are some key difference between cross platform apps and native apps. While cross platform apps support HTML, CSS and Java Script, native apps provide limited support to these languages. Cross platform is less complex to develop and deploy than native app. However when it comes to UI/UX, scalability and performance, native apps score way ahead of cross platform apps.

PhoneGap - An Open Source Framework for Enterprise Mobile Apps
PhoneGap helps to wrap your web application and prepare it for the smartphone across multiple mobile OS. The framework has been downloaded more than 1 million times and is used to great effect by over 400,000 developers across the globe. The open source framework offers a host of benefits for developers, business owners and users –

  • Supports native, hybrid and web mobile across multiple platforms
  • Allows integration of cross channel marketing
  • Facilitates smooth mobile application management
  • Provides enterprise grade support and training

Let’s now look at the requisite features of an e-commerce store and if PhoneGap can add value here.

E-commerce store ecosystem
For a successful e-commerce store that promotes rich user experience, the following components are needed based on the type of user

  • B2C customer – Omni channel presence is mandatory for better engagement. They need to have access to easily navigable product catalog discovered using powerful search functionality. Their order management needs to provide real time update about shipping status and let them track their orders though PoD or other tracking mechanisms 
  •  Internal users – Need to manage CRM, backend catalog and collaboration systems with ease. The system also needs to provide quick time insights through interactive reports and dashboards

In addition a future ready store needs to provide the below features

  • Scalability
  • Product catalog
  • Business user control
  • Search
  • Agility
  • Reporting & Analysis
  • Adherence to standards
  • Seamless transition across devices and platforms

How integrating Magento and PhoneGap can help

Magento provides some unique e-commerce experience such as –

  • Seamless Responsive Design
  • Rich CMS
  • Deep personalisation of portal
  • End to end merchandizing capabilities

Using these advantages with PhoneGap’s native capabilities (accelerometer, camera, compass, contact, notification, GPS etc.), you can create an entirely new and delightful experience exclusively for the mobile user who wishes to make purchasing decisions using the smartphone.

CIGNEX Datamatics’ experience with this type of B2C retail channel has been amazing. Its recent project for e-retail store of 5000+ products across 100+ categories. It integrated vital elements such as Accounts, Payment Gateway, CRM, SMS Gateway, multi-currency and multi country support, Warehouse Management & Rewards System. The outcome saw an average of 100 orders daily leading to a turnover of almost $75,000 across 3152 items sold. Check out more about our B2C e-commerce capabilities here.