Everyone needs an iPhone app it seems, even e-commerce sites. But most shopping sites don’t want to bother with creating their own custom mobile app. So now we are starting to see white-label mobile e-commerce apps. Today, Magento Commerce, which raised $22 million in March for its open-source e-commerce platform, is getting into the mobile game with white-label apps for existing customers who use its e-commerce backend. With 70,000 customers, that a lot of built-in sales leads. Already, 8,000 of them are privately beta testing the mobile product (meaning they may not be in the app store yet), including The North Face, the Miami Dolphins, and Flowe(Red).
Magento Mobile is launching today supporting the iPhone, but will soon add the iPad and Android as well. It essentially translates an existing e-commerce site into a mobile app that fits each device, complete with a full catalog, product search, a shopping cart, ratings, and reviews. The iPhone app can be skinned any way the retailer likes, and supports PayPal integration. The product roadmap for later this year includes the addition of barcode scanning, private sales, A/B testing, and analytics. Magento charges an $800 set-up fee and then a $700 annual fee, which is much cheaper than it would cost for an online store to create its own app and integrate it with its back-end systems.
You’ve got to be a really loyal customer to download a North Face or Miami Dolphins shopping app, but for those die-hard customers why not give them a better touchscreen shopping experience? If anything, these apps will serve as good marketing for Magento itself. You can no longer call yourself a full turnkey e-commerce platform if you don’t support mobile apps. And when we get to bigger touchscreens, custom mobile apps become more compelling. Here’s a sneak peak screenshot of what the upcoming iPad app will look like.