Tuning your WooCommerce store into a mobile app will help you reach more customers, get your existing customers to buy more, and ultimately provide a huge boost in revenue. And it’s much easier to convert a WooCommerce store into an app than many people think.
If you’re looking for the next step to take your business, this is it. Even if your store is still in its early stages, it’s worth considering this as a way to connect with today’s mobile-centric consumers.
Keep reading to learn how to position your brand alongside big players like Amazon, Walmart, and Nike, with your own WooCommerce mobile app.
Table of Contents
- Can You Build Mobile Apps with WooCommerce?
- How to Convert Your WooCommerce Store to an App
- Why You Should Create a WooCommerce Mobile App
- Benefits of Using a WooCommerce App Builder like MobiLoud
- Alternative WooCommerce to App Options
- Start Building Your WooCommerce Mobile App Today
Can You Build Mobile Apps with WooCommerce?
You can’t build mobile apps with WooCommerce, unfortunately.
WooCommerce comes with a huge ecosystem of plugins and themes. You can extensively customize your site. And it’s easy to build a responsive, mobile-optimized site, in line with today’s standards.
But all this only extends to browser-based websites. If you want to convert your store to an app, you’ll need to use a third-party WooCommerce mobile app builder.
Luckily for you, these tools do a great job of converting your website to a professional mobile app. The process is extremely simple, as we’re going to show you, using the most powerful WooCommerce app builder on the market, MobiLoud.
Related: learn how to build Shopify mobile apps with MobiLoud.
How to Convert Your WooCommerce Store to an App
Converting your WooCommerce store to an app should not take a ton of work. All the important parts are there. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to make a few tweaks to allow people to download your website as an app and use it outside the browser.
That’s what MobiLoud does. Our team has been responsible for over 1200 mobile apps, including many high-traffic shopping apps.
Read first-hand accounts of successful MobiLoud users here.
We’ll get into the benefits of using MobiLoud to build your app a little later, as well as the benefits of creating WooCommerce apps (over just your WooCommerce website). First, here’s a step-by-step walk through how to convert your WooCommerce site to an app.
1. Optimize Your Site for Mobile
When you convert your site to an app, you’re essentially going to use your mobile website, displayed inside of your app.
So before you do anything, make sure your website looks and works great on mobile.
Most site owners today can skip this step. Mobile optimization has become a “must have”, rather than a “nice to have”, with roughly 60% of internet users preferring to use mobile over desktop.
Make sure you’re happy with your mobile website, then move on to the next step.
2. Sign Up for MobiLoud and Start Configuring Your App
Now it’s time to get into the MobiLoud builder.
To start with, sign up for a MobiLoud plan. This plan allows you access to the app builder, and fast, knowledgeable support from our team to help put your app together (as well as maintaining it post-launch).
If you want to see the platform and how everything works first, click here to get a free, personalized demo tailored to your site.
Once you’re in, all you need is your website URL to start building your app. You’ll be able to configure the mobile-specific parts of your app, and see a live preview of how it will look.
3. Customize Your Mobile UI
Now we move on to how to configure your app in the MobiLoud dashboard.
The first step is your mobile app UI. Remember, most of it is already there, via your website. You just need to customize a few things, such as the native tab menu:
Navigation (animations, back bar, loading spinners):
And your color scheme:
A few small changes and your WooCommerce store will start to look more like a professionally-built shopping app.
4. Push Notification Settings
Now set up a few things to do with how push notifications will work in your app.
Push notifications are one of the most powerful mobile app features – especially for e-commerce apps. They’re an incredible communication tool to let you reach your customers wherever they are, with order updates, special offers and more.
In your MobiLoud dashboard, set up tags for users to identify what kind of notifications they’re interested in.
Using this information, you’ll be able to send push notifications from OneSignal, or directly from your WordPress dashboard, once your app is live.
5. Configure Your Login Pages
If users create an account and log in on your site, you can configure your login page here. Specify which page users log in on, along with a signup page for new users.
You can also choose whether to prompt people to log in as soon as they open the app.
6. Preview Your App, and Pass It To Our Team
You’ll be able to test a live preview of your app within the MobiLoud dashboard. Play around with this to get a feel for how your app is going to turn out.
You can also set up some little extras, such as automatic ratings prompts, or add custom code modifications via the advanced configuration screen.
When you’re happy, pass it on to our team, and we’ll build the actual Android and iOS apps. There’s no need for you to touch a line of code – we do all that heavy lifting for you.
7. Test Your Apps and Publish
In a short time (~2 weeks), your apps should be ready for testing.
Download them onto your own devices, test, and come back to us with any change requests or questions.
If you’re happy, we’ll go ahead and ship the final versions of your app.
We’ll even handle publishing to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for you, taking a notoriously painful task off your plate.
Why You Should Create a WooCommerce Mobile App
I can hear you saying “OK, so what? My WooCommerce store works fine on mobile!”
That may be true. And like we said a little earlier, optimizing your site for mobile is compulsory for website owners today.
But there are limits to the user experience you can provide to mobile users with a mobile website. There are some painful things that you simply can’t get around.
There are a number of phenomenal benefits that mobile apps offer your store. Let’s expand on those now.
E-Commerce Apps & Loyalty
One of the great things about building apps is the loyalty factor.
Apps not only foster loyalty through a better user experience and better communication through push notifications, but they self-select your most loyal customers.
When someone downloads your mobile app, it’s a sign that they feel positively about your brand. These app users become your top customers, and biggest fans.
An app allows you to better connect with these users, and foster a deeper relationship with your loyal customers.
E-Commerce Apps Drive up Lifetime Value, Repeat Purchases and Retention
It’s not just about how many new customers you can attract. You’ll find there’s more value in getting each of your customers to purchase more often and spend more money long-term.
E-Commerce apps are perfect for this. Data shows that app users are twice as likely to return to a shopping app within 30 days, compared to mobile website users. Average order value is 130-140% higher on apps, and customers spend 3-4 times longer in apps.
There are multiple reasons for these impressive statistics. Apps offer a more comfortable user experience, without the distractions of the browser. They perform better on mobile devices and touchscreens. And they also give the user an icon on their home screen, which is a constant reminder of your brand.
WooCommerce Apps Provide a More Engaging, Less Distracting UX
Today, users expect an “app-like” experience when they go online on their phone. They want to be able to get in with just one tap, right from their home screen. They want an “enclosed” experience.
According to eMarketer principle analyst Catherine Boyle:
“Native apps can deliver more immersive shopping experiences, give brands access to smartphones’ location services to trigger geotargeted offers and create a permanent brand presence on the phone, which boosts awareness”
Pulling up a mobile browser, entering a URL, logging in, waiting for everything to load then navigating to find what you want is simply not an ideal experience. In contrast, think about how your mobile UX will improve when you convert your WooCommerce site to a mobile app.
Just one tap and they’re in. There are no other browser tabs to consume their attention. No frustrating loading times or typing. The native navigation is smooth and intuitive. The app also keeps the user logged in, which not only reduces frustration but also friction around checkouts and payments.
This is a big reason why carts are only abandoned 20% of the time in apps compared to 80% of the time on mobile sites.
Make customers feel comfortable when shopping and they’ll spend longer in your store and be more likely to buy something.
Together, the native tab bar, navigation, superior speed, reduced friction and enclosed experience make a far more convenient UX responsible for much of the success of e-commerce apps.
A Powerful Communication Channel: Push Notifications
There’s no better way to reach your customers, wherever they are, than with mobile push notifications.
You probably use email to communicate with your customers. But push notifications are much better.
|Industry||Open Rate (Email)||Open Rate (Push)|
|Food & Beverages||1.0%||28%|
|Health & Beauty||4.5%||21%|
And their click-through rates:
|Industry||Click-through Rate (Email)||Click-through Rate (Push)|
|Food & Beverages||1.2%||28%|
|Health & Beauty||0.7%||31%|
Push notifications have an average open rate of 20% vs 2.1% for email, and an average click-through rate of 28% vs 1.0% for email.
The difference is staggering.
Your customers are far less likely to miss push notifications – they are highly visible on the lock screen. Even if they don’t open it right away, each notification is stored in the app’s message center.
Push notifications are particularly valuable for e-commerce apps. With more visibility for your marketing communications, more engagement with those communications, and people coming back into your app more frequently, you’re going to see more purchases and higher sales.
This is probably why they’re e-commerce is the top industry for push notification usage, per Avada:
You can send notifications to alert users to new offers, new products, and to keep them up to date with the delivery process. You can also deliver special app-only coupon codes to users that function as a little bribe to get more downloads.
A high-quality WooCommerce mobile app builder like MobiLoud gives your users push preferences and a message center to improve their experience and boost the effectiveness of your messages.
Push is an incredibly powerful marketing channel, and you won’t be able to harness that full power unless you have a mobile app.
Get More Visibility and Make a Great First Impression
A huge number of people use the iOS and Android app stores to search for solutions to their problems. That’s why apps allow you to pick up new customers as well as pleasing existing ones.
If you optimize well for App Store SEO, users will find you by searching for keywords related to your products. This opens up a whole new user acquisition channel and allows you to get in front of more people, away from crowded mobile web and online marketplaces.
E-Commerce brands with iOS and Android mobile apps appear more serious, professional and established. Just look at all the huge brands like H&M, Asos, Sephora, Nike and Amazon that have made apps a keypart of their strategy.
Mobile apps are a mark of quality and make you look good in the eyes of potential customers, partners and investors.
Benefits of Using a WooCommerce App Builder like MobiLoud
We’ve seen the benefits of building a mobile app for your WooCommerce website. Now let’s see the benefits of choosing MobiLoud to do it.
Cheaper and Faster Than Native Mobile Apps
You might think you need to hire mobile developers to code a fully native WooCommerce app.
That’s one way. But there are a couple of big problems. It’s insanely expensive to build native apps, and it takes a long time.
Expect it to take 6-9 months and anywhere from $20,000 to $150,000.
In comparison, MobiLoud is something that any business owner can afford, with just a small upfront cost and a manageable ongoing cost.
Even better, you can be up and running in less than a month, instead of waiting over half a year to finally see what your WooCommerce store can look like as an app.
No Coding Necessary
You’re an online store owner. You’re not a software company. Chances are, you’re not a coder, and you probably don’t have a deep development team on staff.
With MobiLoud, you don’t need to write a single line of code. All the technical stuff behind the scenes is done by our team. While you can add code customizations if that’s something you want to (and can) do, MobiLoud requires zero knowledge of coding to convert your WooCommerce website to an app.
After you’ve built iOS and Android apps with our WooCommerce app builder – managing them is simple.
The apps will sync 100% with your WooCommerce website. Your existing catalog will be available immediately in the mobile app, and any changes you make on the web will be reflected instantly – in both the iOS app and the Android app.
You’ll use a simple plugin that sits right next to WooCommerce in your WordPress admin panel to send push notifications and manage all aspects of your site. There’s no duplication of effort, and nothing to add to your existing workflow.
There are some moving parts to developing and maintaining apps – but our team is always on hand to help. We don’t just sell you a WooCommerce app builder – we partner with you to help you succeed in mobile e-commerce.
We take a hands-on approach to customer support through the configuration process – and handle the fiddly job of submission to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store 100%, guaranteeing approval and a successful launch.
What’s more, we handle all ongoing updates and maintenance of the apps, saving you thousands every year. Our service is personalized. We don’t leave you hanging with a ticket – we’re a call or an email away and you’ll know us by name.
No other WooCommerce app builder comes close to our level of service.
Deep Feature Set
MobiLoud is simple, but don’t confuse that with lacking in features. We offer everything professional e-commerce brands need, such as the following features:
- Custom design and white label
- Rich media content including image galleries and video/audio players
- Full integration for WooCommerce payment gateways
- Product recommendations
- E-Commerce analytics
- Unlimited push notifications
- Native search
- Native sharing
This is just a summary of the features your WooCommerce mobile application can have. Check out the main page for more.
Alternative WooCommerce to App Options
MobiLoud is not the only way you can convert WooCommerce to app.
You can use any one of the hundreds of template-based no-code app builders that have sprung up in recent years. Or you can go all out and build a fully native app.
Here’s a brief look at both options, and why they are not optimal.
Native App Development
Building a native app gives you full control over your app, and the ability to customize every pixel for app users.
But is this really necessary? Your website already works great. You don’t need to start again from scratch.
Native development has a few big downsides:
- Time: expect 6-9 months for just a first version of your WooCommerce app.
- Cost: you can read more about the cost of building an app here. The short version: you’re looking at a very bare minimum of $20,000 to convert your store to an app. More likely, you’ll be in the $50,000-$100,000 range, considering you need to build the iOS app and Android app separately.
- Extra effort to manage separate platforms. Updating and maintaining your apps, alongside your website, adds significantly to your workflow.
- Recreating your website UX: it can be difficult to recreate everything that makes your website great, like plugins or custom-built features. MobiLoud lets you keep all of this and translate it to your app.
MobiLoud gives you 90% of what a native app does, for about 2% of the cost, time and effort.
Template-Based App Builders
You could also go with simple, template-based app builders, which let you customize your app UI (to a degree) with a visual drag-and-drop builder.
These options are cheaper, and appear to give you more control over your app.
But realistically, you’re stuck in a limiting template that makes your app look like thousands of others.
Any plugins or features that are important to your site will probably not work in the app. And you can forget about any meaningful support from these tools – you’re essentially on your own when building, updating and maintaining your app.
It’s not a good idea to cheap out when you’re talking about a potential revenue-driver, like your WooCommerce app should be.
Start Building Your WooCommerce Mobile App Today
MobiLoud is the ideal blend of power, simplicity, usability and affordability, out of all the options to convert your WooCommerce site to an app.
Getting started is easy. Just schedule a demo with one of our app experts.
You can be up and running, published in the app stores, and making sales within a month. All for a fraction of what it usually costs to build an app.
There’s zero risk. You can cancel and get a full refund for any reason within 60 days, and we don’t tie you up with long term contracts.
Let’s get your brand to where it should be – in the app stores. Get started with a free demo today!