How to increase speed and stability in mobile shopping apps

In mobile shopping, speed and stability are crucial. Most users will leave a site or an app that takes longer than three seconds to load. Here's how to increase the performance of your app.

When it comes to mobile shopping, speed and stability are crucial: most users will leave a site or an app that takes longer than three seconds to load, and the bounce rate increases even further with loading time.

Mobile commerce is on the rise, but engaging users is a challenge

Christmas Day, typically the biggest mobile shopping day, in 2020, saw 52% of the revenue coming from smartphones – surpassing the halfway point for the first time. After this record breaking holiday season, in 2021, 72.9 percent of all retail e-commerce is expected to be generated via m-commerce, up from 58.9 percent in 2017. Emerging e-commerce markets in mobile-first economies are a large driver of this trend. The primary reasons for shopping on mobile — especially among Millennials — are speed and convenience.

One of the biggest issues for retail and e-commerce companies is that users are much less forgiving when they shop on mobile and tend to drop flaky apps that do not meet their expectations right away. Lengthy load time is similar to waiting in line at a store: if a consumer has to wait around for the app or site to load or process their payment, they will most likely quit before completing the purchase. According to an Online Retail Performance Report, a two-second delay in page load time can increase the bounce rate by more than 100%. Another study on page speed optimization shows that even a one-second delay in loading time costs a huge percentage of conversions. The impact of loading time should not be underestimated: it has a huge impact not only on key metrics, such as retention and conversion rates but also on building engagement in the long run.

Apps convert better than websites, but they are also more fragmented

While discoverability and user acquisition for mobile apps is a continuous challenge, the improvements in speed, stability, and the potential to build long-lasting relationships make it a must for companies that want to compete. Apps outperform mobile sites in key metrics, especially in engagement rates: according to App Annie’s report, App advantages over mobile browsers: The loyalty factor, mobile apps are a powerful driver when it comes to customer loyalty, as smartphone users spend 7x more time in native apps than in browsers. Users tend to purchase more frequently within the apps, as well. Even though mobile apps have a clear advantage when it comes to engaging customers, they also pose challenges due to their incredibly fragmented nature. Each new version ends up on hundreds of different devices, which means that certain features might not work as expected on all supported platforms. The fragmentation of the leading mobile operating systems — especially Android — can be a serious concern for developers.

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Pre-production testing: predict the app's behavior accurately

It cannot be stated enough that user experience is one of the most important factors in today's mobile shopping scene, so avoiding mistakes in shopping apps is critical. Pre-production testing, such as UI, unit, and real device testing can help tackle the challenges of the fragmented production environment. Accurately predicting the app’s behavior on each platform by using simulators and automation can dramatically increase the app’s performance. Instant reports and feedback, as well as regression testing, are crucial parts of mobile app development and enable teams to troubleshoot errors and fix bugs faster.

Monitoring: detect performance issues before your users do

Besides testing, app performance monitoring (APM) should also be integrated into the app’s Mobile DevOps lifecycle. APM solutions help detect and diagnose deep-level application performance problems by monitoring different performance metrics, such as average load times or computational resources like CPU and memory that the app is consuming. These tools help developers know about issues before users report them. Crash reports that group different issues by type and show which versions are affected are a great way to determine the app’s stability level and responsiveness.

Speed, stability, and increased performance

For e-commerce and retail companies, having an app isn't really just an option, but a must. It is only a part of the equation, however: it also has to provide fast, frictionless, and enjoyable experiences for customers that go beyond a single purchase. App performance directly affects user acquisition, conversion, and retention rates, as well as ratings and downloads; and ultimately, revenue. This is true across different sectors, but perhaps even more so in mobile shopping apps. Automated, mobile-specific testing practices help predict the app’s behavior on all supported platforms and fix bugs early on, while app performance monitoring allows developer teams to track how their app performs on the end-users’ devices and as a result, continuously improve their performance.

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