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Retail apps gain traction, but are still only used by a minority of shoppers
If you have ever used an app while shopping in a store, you know that they can be a highly valuable tool if used properly. However, the unfortunate reality is that most apps have limited functionality when compared to the full eCommerce website, and therefore makes them less appealing to holiday shoppers.
In our Third Annual Holiday Survey of 1,000 holiday shoppers, we found that less than a quarter (23%) of all shoppers made at least one purchase on a retailer’s app from either a smartphone or tablet. There was a notable breakdown in terms of age; while 32% of younger shoppers aged 18 to 44 used an app to make a purchase, only 14% of shoppers aged 45 and older did the same.
So, what functionality is useful in a retail app? Things like price checking, store locators, store hours and coupons or offers are much more effective on a smartphone. While retail apps are gaining some traction with consumers, monitor the time and resources you’re spending to build one to make sure you have positive ROI. In other words, “app-ly” your budget cautiously. With only 1 in 4 shoppers using apps across the board, they appear to be useful only with consumers who are true brand enthusiasts and want your brand’s logo next to their functional and simple Pandora, Facebook and Pinterest apps.
Sometimes it’s more effective to explain what something is NOT and this one of those times. Have you ever researched a product and later visited a web store looking for that product only to get frustrated with the website? Why did that store fail in what was ostensibly its sole purpose? E commerce optimization would have enabled them to know what you were shopping for before you ever viewed their webpage. They would also suggest other products that people similar to you usually purchase. So when you hit one of those frustrating ecommerce interactions, you know they are not optimizing for you.