March 24, 2014

E-Commerce Mobile Apps: 4 Companies That Do It Right

Posted by Janna Leyde Category IconConversions & UX Category IconTechnology

Statistics show that people consume at least seven hours of media every day. Of those seven hours, 108 minutes are spent on a mobile device. In fact, mobile commerce (or m-commerce) drove over $200 million in sales during 2013. Yet, only 7 percent of brands offer a mobile app. What, only 7 percent? For businesses ready to amp up their e-commerce presence, it’s time to amp up m-commerce and enjoy all that apps have to offer.

Here are four companies doing m-commerce right: they’re using mobile apps to connect to customers, provide an innovative experience, and make purchasing easier than ever before.

The App That Rewards:  Starbucks

The Starbucks mobile app is the most-used digital payment app in America, bringing in about 5 million mobile coffee buys a week. Exchanging the card swipe for a phone tap is a given to Starbucks, a mere technological advancement. The ingenuity of this app is its rewards program. Customers can collect digital stars, earn free drinks, re-fill their loyalty accounts, and more—it’s like Starbucks airline miles. Plus, every time a customer checks his or her inbox, the company can deliver anything from direct marketing to free-iTunes downloads. “It’s a completely different dimension,” says Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ Chief Digital Officer in a recent Forbes articles.

And here’s what Starbucks is doing for its employees: the app that lets you tip your barista.

The App that Satisfies:  McDonald’s Sverige (Sweden)

At a Swedish McDonald’s (sorry folks, Sweden is ahead of the curve here), customers can scan a QR and enter a personal PIN to pay for that “Chicago Star” meal at the register by using the SEQR Wallet. McDonald’s Sweden had been working with online delivery service Seamless over the last year, and has successfully offered mobile payments in select locations. Adding this option to the mobile app was simply the next best step, according to Kajsa Dahlberg, head of digital engagement at McDonald’s Sweden.

Here’s where McDonald’s is headed next: a mobile app currently being tested in the US.

The App that Doesn’t Need a Device:  Square Wallet

First there was Square, the app that comes with the nifty little white device that plugs into a smartphone and makes taking in-person credit card payments a breeze. Now there’s Square Wallet, where payment is as simple as saying your own name. It works like this: Download Square Wallet, link a credit card, and upload a selfie. Walk into your favorite ice cream shop — without a phone — and say your name to the cashier in exchange for that double scoop of fair-trade chocolate peanut butter.
Here’s why Square Wallet is secure — credit card info is stored on Square server, not the user’s device.

The App That Won the Award for Best App:  REI

REI, the retailer famous for its outdoor clothing and gear, took home a big win for its app innovations this past year at the Digiday Mobi Awards by snagging the “Best Mobile App for E-commerce/Retail.” The company’s Shopping and Snow Report apps showcased overall excellence in e-commerce, innovation and advances in mobile media and marketing. The shopping app provides a robust digital storefront with specs and customer reviews in addition to customer service contact (among other features). The Snow Report app keeps REI customers up-to-date with weather conditions and shares ski resort information on Facebook and Twitter. And here’s how REI is staying on top of m-commerce: the REI Visa App.