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Consumers used shopping apps for 18 billion hours globally in 2018, up 45% from 2016, according to a report from App Annie. The number of sessions in shopping apps jumped 70% in the US over that span, and countries from all around the world also saw significant increases.
This makes mobile apps incredibly valuable for retailers, especially considering that overall mobile commerce (m-commerce) is projected to account for almost 75% of all e-commerce sales as soon as 2021.
Digital native retailers collect the large majority of shopping app downloads, making it easier for them to reap m-commerce’s benefits. Among the top 50 shopping apps, a whopping 69% of downloads were of “Digital-First” apps in 2018.
This dwarfs the 24% share held by peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces, as well as the 5% made up by “Bricks-and-Clicks” apps, which belong to retailers with a physical presence, and the 3% that went to coupon and third-party loyalty apps.
Digital companies may have this advantage since they offer better experiences given their e-commerce expertise, because consumers associate them with shopping online, or for another reason. Regardless, winning more app downloads allows these e-tailers to better reach consumers by having a presence on their devices, potentially leading to sales due to convenience as well as tactics that can drive sales like push notifications.
But brick-and-mortar retailers with apps have the opportunity to gain more downloads by imbuing their apps with more in-store value. Sixty-three percent of consumers use their phones in-store to conduct tasks like comparing prices, searching for coupons, and checking inventory, according to a report from BRP Consulting.
Retailers that give their apps these features, along with other in-store value, have the chance to get consumers to download their apps while shopping in-store. And because these tasks are so popular among shoppers, adding them may better an app’s chance of remaining downloaded, potentially leading to e-commerce purchases in the future.
Many retailers need to improve their mobile features, and in-store personalization should be a focus.The mobile service that the most retailers have implemented is the ability to view prior purchases. However, although 67% of retailers enable the feature, nearly half of that group (30%) believe their service needs to be improved.
Similarly, 59% of retailers provide personalized recommendations, but 34% said their feature needs to be better. Retailers should consider the in-store opportunities for these features as they work to improve them. Being able to view prior in-store and online purchases can help consumers make new buying decisions — whether they’re making a repeat purchase or buying a related product — while building a fuller profile for retailers to base recommendations on.
And serving those recommendations in-store through an app gives retailers new ability to drive sales and create an in-store shopping experience that’s more comparable with e-commerce.
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