The future of mobile shopping apps: 12 key trends to stay ahead in a world of Super Apps

Despite the prevalence of Super Apps, staying competitive is still possible. By understanding and adapting to the latest trends in e-commerce and m-commerce, you can ensure that your shopping app stays ahead of the game in a competitive market.

Although lockdown restrictions have eased and physical shopping is back, online shopping still remains popular among consumers due to its convenience and expanded product offerings. Research on US shoppers shows that while 54% of consumers still prefer brick-and-mortar to any other channel, a significant number of respondents (39%) said they “couldn’t live without online shopping.”

Shopping on mobile can happen in two ways: on mobile websites or in mobile apps. But when it comes to converting consumers, shopping apps are a powerful driver

  • Smartphone users spend 7x more time on native apps compared to browsers and also make purchases more often.
  • Convenience and speed. Mobile apps load up to six times faster than webshops. 
  • Mobile apps offer a personalized, richer customer experience. 

The shift in consumer behavior has led to the emergence of Super Apps that have become an integral part of digital life due to their all-encompassing convenience and ability to quickly adapt to user needs by offering relevant services and experiences all in one place. Prominent Super Apps — such as Amazon, WeChat, and Revolut — offer a wide array of services, including social media, payments, ride-hailing, delivery, and more.

According to research done by PayPal and PYMNTS, one in every three individuals globally uses Super Apps.

Although offering everything in a single platform is impressive, there are several drawbacks to providing this level of convenience: high operating costs due to technical complexity, balancing user demands with business goals, dependence on third-party services, and user privacy concerns. In one recent survey, 45% of 9,904 respondents were very concerned about being hacked when using a Super App.

To compete against these super app giants, you first have to understand what the future bodes for e-commerce and m-commerce markets. In this article, we dive into 12 online shopping trends to watch in 2023 and how leveraging them can help you to develop and improve your shopping app.

12 online shopping trends to watch in 2023

M-commerce

M-commerce, or mobile commerce, has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the widespread use of mobile devices. 

Sources in appendix.

US consumers already shop more on mobile and that’s predicted to rise even further. M-commerce sales make up a larger share of total e-commerce sales and a staggering 68% of US consumers have switched to mobile shopping in the last two years. The global mobile payment market is showing no signs of slowing down, and more people are using mobile apps to shop. Shoppers often use mobile devices to compare prices in-store (77%), and most people search for products online before buying (87%).

Top tip: Catering to this growing demand requires releasing new features at a much faster rate. By prioritizing Mobile DevOps, retail app development teams can continuously deliver consistent quality even under the highest market pressure.

Cross-platform app development

Cross-platform app development involves creating a shopping app that can be used on multiple operating systems — such as iOS and Android — to reach a larger audience. 

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards cross-platform development due to the cost-effectiveness and audience reach it offers. The following Google Trends chart demonstrates how interest in cross-platform app development has consistently increased in the last two decades.

Top tip: Before launching an app or feature, it’s crucial to test on various operating systems to ensure seamless performance across platforms. Popular cross-platform mobile app development frameworks include:

Bitrise helps by offering hundreds of integrations for native and cross-platform development and automating repetitive manual tasks. This ensures consistent results while freeing up engineering resources to focus on creating significant business value. 

Automating mobile checkout 

Retailers are always striving to improve customer experience, keep up with the latest technology and trends, and optimize their checkout process, which ultimately increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. A long or complicated checkout process can be frustrating for customers and may result in abandoned shopping carts or lost sales.

Source: “Friction-Filled Online Checkouts Cause Shopping Cart Abandonment”. Forter. https://www.forter.com/blog/infographic-customers-wont-tolerate-friction-filled-checkout/

To enhance the shopping journey, retailers are integrating technology that automates the checkout process and eliminates the need for customers to wait in line or manually input their payment information. This includes the option to save payment information, access purchase history, and receive targeted promotions and discounts through push notifications.

Top tip: Providing a seamless shopping experience is critical to ensuring customer satisfaction, especially during peak shopping periods. By streamlining the mobile development process, companies can minimize hurdles, speed up the checkout process, and guarantee that customers complete their transactions.

AR and VR 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technologies that are transforming the way consumers shop by bringing products to life in new and innovative ways. 

With AR and VR, customers can visualize and interact with products in a way that was previously not possible. They can see how a product would look in their home or on their body, and get a better sense of its size, color, and overall design to make informed purchasing decisions.

Sources in appendix.

Top tip: AR technology when done right can be highly successful but it also poses a big risk. It requires ongoing updates from the development team and users are likely to abandon the app if it fails to meet their expectations. Bitrise addresses this by releasing updated XCode versions with each iOS release, allowing for faster testing and deployment of new AR SDK features that can help build a better AR user experience.

Customer service bots 

The use of customer service bots helps to increase the chances of converting abandoned carts into completed sales by offering reminders and incentives to complete the purchase. 

It’s a fact that direct, in-app messages get read 12x more than email and they have higher conversion rates. This technology also enables retailers to automate the most common questions and responses to help their customers find the right information, which in turn elevates the user experience and simplifies the buying process. 

Cloud infrastructure 

The use of cloud infrastructure has become increasingly important to businesses as it allows them to scale and grow their operations by accessing the resources they need on demand without having to invest in expensive physical hardware. In retail, this can include hosting m-commerce websites and applications, storing and processing customer data, and handling payments and financial transactions.

Top tip: For businesses relying on cloud infrastructure, optimizing their mobile app development and delivery process is crucial. To achieve this, they need a dependable and efficient solution that is tailored to meet the requirements of large-scale organizations. Such a solution should include features such as secure access control, team management, and scalable infrastructure. It should also seamlessly integrate with a range of tools and services, providing a comprehensive approach to managing the mobile app development process. Check out Bitrise’s transparent pricing: cloud infrastructure included.

The M1 environment maintained and managed 24/7 for you, in the cloud. 

Bitrise's virtualized M1 CI/CD environment is the first of it’s kind that enables developers to test their applications on the M1 chip without requiring physical access to a Mac: exclusively to Bitrise. This tool is especially beneficial for remote teams or developers who need to test their apps on different operating systems.

In addition, Bitrise offers M1 Max Studio, a powerful tool designed for complex memory-heavy builds. This solution delivers high-performance and scalable solutions for developers on Apple Silicon Macs, providing access to a wide range of advanced features. With M1 Max Studio, developers can use Bitrise's speed and reliability for all their build needs.

AI and ML 

The use of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve mobile shopping involves collecting and analyzing customer feedback through channels like reviews and surveys. By combining ML algorithms to understand customer sentiment and AI-powered chatbots for personalized customer service, businesses can gain valuable insights and drive growth while creating a better shopping experience for customers.

By incorporating AI technology, Zalando has successfully reduced returns caused by sizing issues by 10% which is a significant reduction as the average return rate for the company sits at 50%. 

Similar to Zalando, Vestiaire Collective is also continuously enhancing the customer experience through the use of AI. They are utilizing AI to efficiently upload thousands of products offered by sellers to the platform daily and personalizing recommendations for buyers.

Discover how Vestiaire Collective managed to decrease their pipeline times by 50% using Bitrise’s Gen2 machines. 

Security, data protection, and DevSecOps 

With the rise of mobile shopping, it's essential that businesses take the necessary steps to ensure their customers' personal and financial information is secure. By investing in robust security measures, businesses can reduce the risk of security breaches and build customer trust in the safety of their transactions. 

Top tip: As security becomes increasingly crucial, it is essential to incorporate security testing into CI/CD pipelines. This is where the concept of DevSecOps works best as it injects security into the Mobile CI/CD pipelines at the early stages of the development process rather than waiting until it’s too late. It also establishes security as a shared responsibility throughout the entire Mobile DevOps lifecycle.

Automated fraud detection 

Fraud detection represents a critical challenge for many businesses, as traditional methods such as manual analysis and rule-based systems are becoming increasingly ineffective. This concern has left many big players such as Shopify and Amazon on constant alert for impending threats. Since ML algorithms are designed to identify patterns and anomalies in large amounts of data, this method is ideal for detecting fraudulent activities. The main benefits include:

  • Increased accuracy: By analyzing large amounts of data, automated systems can provide more accurate results compared to manual methods.
  • Real-time detection: Automated systems can detect and respond to potential fraudulent activities in real-time, reducing the impact of fraud on businesses.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Compared to traditional methods, automated systems require fewer resources and staff to operate.

Source: “Fraud Detection with Machine Learning & AI”. SEON. https://seon.io/resources/fraud-detection-with-machine-learning/

Omnichannel payments 

As more consumers become accustomed to a combination of physical, digital, and virtual channels when shopping, they expect a seamless experience that integrates technology to keep up with their omnichannel habits.

For this reason, businesses have integrated mobile into all channels like Apple Pay at physical tills and using their own mobile apps to allow users to pay with mobile wallets, mobile payments, and loyalty rewards. This seamless payment experience across all channels creates ease of use, faster transactions, and enhanced security for all customers. 

Geo-targeted campaigns 

The integration of physical and digital retail experiences, also known as "phygital," is being driven by the popularity of shopping apps. Retailers can use various methods to communicate with customers' mobile devices to provide them with personalized and location-based experiences.

When a customer enters a physical store for example, retailers can use beacon technology and geofencing to deliver targeted advertisements and offers, as well as in-store navigation and product information. Geo-targeting takes this approach further by considering shopper behavior, demographics, interests, and location to make the experience even more relevant and personalized.

Sources in appendix.

Localization and accessibility 

The benefits of incorporating localization and accessibility in shopping app development can have a significant impact on the overall user experience, customer satisfaction, and market reach.

Localization is a crucial aspect of mobile app development, especially for apps that target a worldwide audience with varying cultural idiosyncrasies. Here are some examples of how localization can be implemented in mobile app development:

  • Translating app content into multiple languages.
  • Displaying prices and currencies in the local currency of the user's region.
  • Displaying dates and times in the local format.
  • Adapting content and features to suit local cultural norms and preferences.
  • Adapting to local legal requirements and regulations.

Accessibility refers to making the app usable for people with disabilities, such as those who are visually or hearing impaired. This involves implementing features such as high-contrast mode, text-to-speech, and alternative navigation methods to make the app accessible to a wider audience. 

Top tip: Our "Localazy" integration tool helps retail app development teams manage their app's language translations and reach out to a global audience. Localazy automates the translation process, making it easier for developers to add new languages and update existing translations. With this integration, developers can easily manage their translations and maintain their app's language quality, helping to increase user engagement and drive growth in different regions.

Conclusion

The mobile app world is ever evolving and there’s no doubt that Super Apps will evolve too, but one thing is clear: smaller shopping apps are still dominating the shopping landscape due to their ability to be agile to consumer trends and create an exceptional user experience all whilst being much more cost-effective than Super Apps. We’re in the era of mobile and by following Mobile DevOps processes, smaller apps can provide remarkable experiences to customers and stand out in a crowded market.

Appendix

M-commerce image

  1. “Mobile shopping on the rise: Over 73% of US shoppers will embrace virtual cards for online purchases in the future”. Klarna. https://www.klarna.com/international/press/mobile-shopping-on-the-rise-over-73-of-us-shoppers-will-embrace-virtual-cards-for-online-purchases-in-the-future/
  2. “Rise of Mcommerce: Mobile Ecommerce Shopping Stats & Trends in 2023”. Insider Intelligence.  https://www.insiderintelligence.com/insights/mobile-commerce-shopping-trends-stats/
  3. “Meeting Today’s Customer Expectations in Retail”. Honeywell. https://sps.honeywell.com/us/en/support/blog/productivity/meeting-customer-expectations-in-retail
  4. “Mobile Payment Market Outlook - 2027”. Allied Market Research. https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/mobile-payments-market 
  5. “87% of shoppers now begin product searches online”. Retail Dive. https://www.retaildive.com/news/87-of-shoppers-now-begin-product-searches-online/530139/ 
  6. “Online Shopping Statistics You Need to Know in 2023”. OptinMonster. https://optinmonster.com/online-shopping-statistics/

AR and VR image

  1. “IKEA: One small step for augmented reality, one giant leap for online retailing”. Rofi Labs. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ikea-one-small-step-augmented-reality-giant-leap-online-retailing-/?trk=pulse-article_more-articles_related-content-card 
  2. “Augmented Reality Boosts Online Shopping Sales Up To 200%”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2021/09/28/augmented-reality-boosts-online-shopping-sales-up-to-200/?sh=2e0b4d7f7b26
  3. “ASOS trials ‘See My Fit’ Augmented Reality tool”. ASOS. https://www.asosplc.com/news/asos-trials-see-my-fit-augmented-reality-tool/

Geo-targeted campaigns image

  1. “2018 Personalization Pulse Check”. Accenture Interactive. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-77/accenture-pulse-survey.pdf  
  2. “The Ultimate Guide to Geotargeting in Retail”. Shopify. https://www.shopify.com/retail/geotargeting-retail  
  3. “Location-Based Marketing on the Rise”. Porch Group Media. https://v12data.com/blog/location-based-marketing-on-the-rise/

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