Retail Apps: Can Businesses Afford It?

Retail Apps: Can Businesses Afford It?

January 21, 2016

Mobile commerce is growing. People are getting more confident in using their mobile devices for shopping. And now customers not only want a mobile site but they also want mobile apps of the stores. Is it necessary to have an app? Or would it be a waste of resource?

Your potential customer is sitting on his couch, watching TV at night, and suddenly he realizes that he wants to buy a pair of sunglasses. He saw some nice ones on TV, then thought “The pair I own is pretty old. I should check some new styles online.” He starts browsing the web on his phone since he can’t be bothered to get his laptop which is in some other room of the house. He finds a nice mobile site to shop from. He sees on the top that there’s an app for the shop. He downloads the app and checks the sunglasses. He likes some of them. Maybe he buys one pair.

Then the next week he realizes he needs to buy a shirt. Well, he had downloaded a shop’s app just last week. And he was getting notifications of promotions. Without having to mess about on the internet looking for shirts and cheap prices, he knows this shop offers promotions and he already has easy access to it. So for him, it would be easier to check the app instead of finding another shop that sells what he is looking for at prices he can afford, and downloading their app if they have it. If you were offering a bug-free, seamless experience on your app here’s your frequent visitor!

This example is not necessarily valid for that specific person. Many people are looking for easier ways to find products that they like for cheap prices and within easy reach. And they don’t want to search for cheap and easy-to-use websites while they are trying to enjoy their limited free time.

The research in the UK shows that 85% of smartphone users use retail apps. And 49% of them like that they are informed of the offers and promotions. And 45% of them said they loved the loyalty scheme.

Just like the guy in our example, 65% of UK uses these apps at home. And they are more willing to download the app if

  • It is free (74%)
  • It enables them to browse and buy products quickly and easily (43%)
  • It complements the offline and online shopping experience (41%)
  • It gives promotion on the product the customer wants to buy (40%)

Smartphone use is growing everywhere. December 2015 research shows that 17.9% of internet users in Japan have been using their mobile devices to shop online instead of using their computers. And now only 44% of the population is using smartphones. This rate is expected to grow every year which creates a need for more mobile-friendly shops or retail apps for that region.

Let’s go to Brazil from Japan. Online shoppers in Brazil are using smartphones and tablets more than PCs as the report shows. Mobile device usage grows very fast, and the need for apps and mobile websites is increasing much faster. So ecommercers must see this need and work on their mobile commerce strategies.

Alright, apps are great for customers. But will they always use the app you’ve worked (paid) so much on? How Mobile Apps Stack Up article says Against Mobile Browsers 23.1% of mobile device users use mobile apps over websites. But in the end, as users, we don’t want to waste our phones’ memory space. 19.6% of the users said that they would prefer mobile websites over apps. The number seems small but 32.5% of the users use both website and the app at different times.

Besides the memory concerns, there is a bigger issue in the mind of customers. It’s the a security problem.

When a user learns about a security problem related to the retail app, 52% of them tend to delete the app, and 38% of them tend to stop using the app. 21% of the users also would leave negative comments and warn friends to not to use the app.

In short, customers want you to

  • Have a
    • Secure,
    • Bug free, and
    • Free of charge app
  • That provides
    • Joint offline and online shopping experience
    • Personal deals for the customer
    • Quick and easy access to your products

So if you want to keep up with the trends that customers want from stores, and increase your traffic as well as your conversion rate it might be a good idea to start thinking of having a retail app.


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