Why should every online store owner drop everything and learn about SWIFT?
by Ruslan Botnar
If you do not have a touch-tone phone, then you probably wanted to create your mobile application at least once. Or to implement a long-standing idea, like that application for finding movies by clicking on an emoji. Or come up with something fun like a finger treadmill or ultrasound to repel mosquitoes. Better yet, create an app that will become a symbol of the era, such as Instagram.
And if you have a store, then thoughts of online presence and getting an application should've become obsessive log ago. The share of the existence of mobile gadgets in the structure of web traffic continues to grow steadily. In 2020 alone, the increase was about 37% (according to the We Are Social analytical agency). At the same time, the share of desktop traffic decreased by 8% over the same period. The numbers clearly state that ignoring mobile traffic is tantamount to voluntary surrender. This is especially true for business, in particular online trade.
The value of mobile apps for increasing sales, improving customer interactions, and growing brand awareness became an indisputable truth a decade ago. However, the developers warn that without understanding the goals, objectives, and a well-thought-out strategy, the application may turn out to be a useless investment that will never pay off.
What tasks does the mobile application solve?
The mobile application is very functional. It simultaneously solves several tasks besides providing you and your business with hefty sales growth. According to the French retargeting company Criteo (focused on online retailers), in 2020, the conversion rate in mobile shopping apps in the European Union is more than three times higher than in mobile browsers. The study was conducted on more than 5,000 web retailers in 80 countries of the world. The analytical department of Criteo concluded that mobile applications today generate about half of all sales (from 49 to 52%).
- Increase in average check and increase in customer loyalty: As practice shows, most authorized users form orders through the application (at least 87%). This allows the seller to make personalized offers, offer additional bonuses, and implement individualized discount programs, increasing the average bill by at least 30% (cross-device data). High speed of loading catalogs, comfortable usability, additional functionality (recommendation system, the ability to compare product items, wishlist) positively affect customer loyalty.
- Encouraging repeat purchases: Push notifications are a powerful tool that helps buyers learn about discounts, promotions, and other loyalty programs. Using them competently, you can artificially increase the buyer's interest in your products, forcing him to return to the online store again. Hootsuite experts note the effectiveness of the recommendation system (based on already selected items or related products) in the context of upsells. This feature is most relevant for clothing stores when targeted discounts are visible only to target customers. According to Gray Advertising experts, improving customer experience pushes notifications to have 74% higher conversion rates than email and SMS notifications. The manager also benefits from this communication method because he has all the necessary information about the authorized client, including the history of commercial interaction with the online store.
- Reducing costs: A well-developed application costs at least 450,000 rubles, but in the medium term, it has a pronounced economic effect. With its help, you can significantly reduce the expenditure side of the advertising budget. Savings on advertising can reach 75 and even 100% (minimizing costs for retargeting campaigns, reducing mailings, etc.).
Possible use cases
As versatile software, a mobile application can be used for a variety of purposes. Namely:
- Mobile point of sale. The application is a showcase and an online checkout one. According to statistics for the first half of 2020, over 90% of large Russian online retail sites have mobile applications. In the West, in the online retail segment, this figure is close to 100%.
- Channel of effective communication. Today, there's no more effective way to convey the information to your audience, get feedback, and conduct a comprehensive analysis of buying activity.
- Loyalty programs. Online stores that are just starting their commercial development and have a limited budget can order an application with limited functionality. It will act as an informer, informing you about current promotions and discounts, and act as a loyalty card, allowing you to receive and accumulate bonuses.
- Competitive advantage. Suppose you keep your finger on the pulse of your own business, then for sure. In that case, you are analyzing the activities of competitors. If they have an application, it's time to order their development, thinking about making it better and more valuable. In the absence of such, it is necessary to understand in more detail the reasons, and perhaps his order is not economically justified.
Depending on the online store's specifics, these scenarios can be implemented both at a time and simultaneously. If the customer wishes, developers can add online fitting rooms with artificial intelligence, custom cross-selling blocks and make the application truly useful and comfortable to use.
Mobile apps provide higher conversion and sales volumes than websites, but this does not mean that every online store needs them. Before starting the development, we advise conducting market research. It will determine the optimal channels of interaction with the audience and show whether the platform needs an application or can get by with a more convenient mobile version of the site.
What does Swift have got to do with all of it?
Swift is the native language for Apple ecosystem apps: iOS, iPad, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS. With its help, mobile applications and desktop programs are written. Swift's ancestor, Objective-C, is already losing ground and losing speed. Plus, Swift code is much better readable and easy to learn, even for beginners. Benefits of Swift include:
- Modern syntactic constructions: closures, generics, tuples;
- Safety: overflow protection, optional's, which allow you to no longer be afraid of null;
- Excellent readability of the code.
Swift is the only modern language for mobile app development in the Apple ecosystem. As well as XCode, it is the only official IDE for this. That, on the one hand, limits the choice. On the other hand, you have a specialized tool for work. Games and 3D graphics are made using the Metal API (the official library from Apple). And the ARKit library allows you to create augmented reality (AR) applications.
Another of the primary purposes of the language is desktop applications for macOS. Development is also done in Xcode using many native code and UI libraries. Besides, Visual Studio 2019 allows you to write in Swift on Windows.
This language allows that too. For example, Vapor is a web framework that is written in Swift. Vapor enables you to write web applications, sites, APIs using HTTP or WebSockets. Also, Vapor is significantly faster than many frameworks. And it is convenient to use the same language on the client and the server.
So, why every store owner should’ve learned about Swift by now?
Reason #1: Being on the front lines of leveraging technologies (and help clients solve problems)
Today, mobile devices are powered by desktop processors, so mobile developers can use the most advanced and hardcore technologies to create applications and be the first to solve problems, making the lives of millions of people around the world convenient. For example, thanks to computer vision technologies, applications can recognize text on any objects in the surrounding world and, among other things, help visually impaired people live more fulfilling lives. More and more often, neural networks are used to recognize text on images.
With displays and sensors getting better and cheaper, mobile developers are among the first to experiment with augmented reality (AR) technologies. For example, in the Lamoda and Gucci apps, you can virtually try on sneakers, and the Airbus ifly A380 service makes it easier to find a seat on the plane or see where the liner is currently flying. Mobile developers are the first to experiment with voice assistants, navigation, NFC, built-in cameras and sensors, biometrics, Bluetooth-connected equipment, and much more. So, we recently talked about how our recognizer started upon a micro-computer like the Raspberry Pi. And you can not only watch the broadcast presentations of new products in iOS and Android development at the iconic WWDC and Google I / O conferences but also go there and see them with your own eyes.
Reason 2: Domination of “mobile reality” is inevitable
As of 2020, here is the global breakdown of internet traffic:
- 50.88% mobile
- 46.39% desktop
- 2.74% tablet
Today's users spend about 44% of their time on the Internet. 84% of Americans prefer shopping online. If we take a look at the annual reports of Mary Meeker, we can learn that user spends about 3.6 hours a day on a smartphone in the US alone. And the analysts consider it to be “the point of no return”. Another funny slide came across recently in an article on the methodology for making decisions in Spotify. More and more streaming service users prefer to listen to music on their mobiles, but the company itself mainly employs web developers. Spotify analyzed this situation and decided to hire more mobile developers and retrain the web for a new direction:
Reason #3 is Swift 5.2
The Swift update was released last March. According to the development team, in version 5.2, they paid attention to simplifying the work with the language from the programmer's point of view: improved diagnostics in the compiler, code completion, debugging reliability, dependency handling, and tooling. Swift developer John Sundell writes: "The total number of new language features in Swift 5.2 is relatively small, but the update includes two new features that could significantly affect Swift as a functional programming language in general."
In previous versions, the compiler tried to guess the errors' exact location by breaking expressions and looking for problems separately in each section. In some cases, this gave good results, but many errors could not be detected in this way. Code completion improvements include faster guessing by eliminating unnecessary type checking, the ability to substitute implied member names for incomplete dictionary literals and incomplete ternary expressions, and better type mapping.
Build algorithms are also improved in this release. The compiler supports two modes of operation - full-module and incremental - which enhances the work with incremental assemblies: the compiler can use centralized logic for caching, deferred computation, and tracking dependencies between requests. "In Swift 5.2, the internal representation of declarations in the compiler is immutable, and at the stage of code generation in the compiler, deferred evaluation of queries can be called, the results of which are cached. Queries are more granular than the old validation step, so unnecessary work is eliminated, which improves performance. It also enhances correctness by eliminating many problems when the type checker did not anticipate the need to check what was later required to generate the code.
Improvements in the debugger include increased versatility of LLDB when recovering type information from debug data. The development team claims that this will give the debugger the ability to use more information about Swift types. Other tooling improvements include Swift Package Manager, SwiftSyntax, and Language Server Protocol updates. In addition to the improvements for developers mentioned above, several new features open up new ways to create clean and user-friendly APIs.
The final reason is getting rich before everyone else does.
In general, the time to dive into mobile development is right now. And to provide an opportunity for an easy start, we are ready to facilitate your start and do everything for you - it remains only to determine what exactly you need and why. If you have already thought more than once that your store needs an online presence and a mobile application, contact our experts for a free consultation right now!
Get down to finally creating that app for your business – get a consult with our expert today!