The state of retail mobile apps in 5 charts
Retailers are facing a challenge when it comes to mastering mobile commerce. Consumers are spending more time on their smartphones and companies are seeing more mobile traffic than ever before, but people just aren’t downloading and using retail mobile apps.
“We found that while everyone is seeing way more overall traffic via mobile, retailers are having trouble getting traction with their own mobile initiatives,” said RetailMeNot svp of retailer and brand solutions Michael Jones.
To test this hypothesis, RetailMeNot, a hub for digital coupons, commissioned a Forrester study to look at how smartphone users are engaging with retailers on their mobile devices.
Forrester, which gathered data from 511 smartphone owners who had used their phones for at least one retail-related purpose in the last three months, reported that 85 percent of time on smartphones is spent in apps; of that time, only 5 percent is spent in retailer apps.
The study looked at how many retail apps consumers had downloaded to their phones, and it found that 60 percent had only two or fewer; 3 percent had more than 10.
Jones said that, right now, it’s only the most loyal customers who are actively using retail apps, something supported by a study conducted by mobile data analytics company Wefi. The study examined Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Walmart, Costco, Sears and Kohl’s locations in the Greater Los Angeles area over a five-month period to see how mobile apps were affecting in-store traffic.
Overall, every store but Nordstrom saw that customers who had the mobile apps visited stores more frequently each month than those without the apps. Yearly, Wefi found that mobile app users visited retail stores 12 more times than those who didn’t use the apps.
But once downloaded, retail apps still aren’t getting that much regular use. Forrester found that only 8 percent of smartphone owners with at least one retail app used them daily, while 13 percent said they never used the retail apps they downloaded. Two percent answered that they use a retail app multiple times a day.
According to Forrester, what’s holding retail apps back from being useful is that many customers aren’t willing to disclose the information needed for retailers to personalize and ultimately enhance the mobile experience. Personalized content, like purchasing histories, location services and stored credit card or loyalty information, drives usage and engagement, but Forrester found that due to privacy concerns and wariness of how the data will be used, app users aren’t giving that information up.
While customers aren’t engaging with mobile apps as readily as retailers would like, companies are still pumping resources into improving their mobile presences. A Forrester report conducted in partnership with Shop.org in February reported that online sales coming from mobile increased to 12 percent in 2014 from 8 percent in 2013. The study also found that retailers were putting an increased emphasis on “omnichannel efforts,” which included endeavors like in-store online pickup, while mobile was listed as the top priority for a growing number of retailers.
Forrester principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali said in the report that while mobile is going to remain an important sector for retailers to crack, standalone apps might not be the answer.
“Apps are simply too expensive to build and maintain for most retailers, begging the question – what’s after apps?” she said.
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: As Apple and Google privacy updates near, marketers, media buyers see ‘adverse impact on advertisers’
Marketers and media buyers will need to rethink their relationship with data as a result to avoid becoming too dependent on walled gardens.
‘Consumers expect brands to act’: Why defining voice and values has become crucial for marketers amid crises
Instead of hoping that a brand won't be pulled into a crisis, marketers and agency execs need a clear idea of a brand's position on key issues.
Why more brands are looking to augmented reality product try ons to drive sales
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the expansion of augmented reality into brand e-commerce strategies.
SponsoredWhat a content hub can do for marketing teams
In a truly effective marketing team, each team member is aligned, using shared tools and processes to efficiently create, collaborate and connect with their customers. With a content hub, marketers can break down the silos that have traditionally held them back, increasing collaboration in the crucial planning and workflow stages. Implementing this technology will make […]
‘Pouring gasoline where it needs to be poured’: Why a DTC seafood company is rethinking its ad spend
One DTC company is moving away from Facebook and Instagram as the need to diversify media plans continues to heat up.
U.S. retail and fashion brands are cautiously optimistic about Biden’s ‘Buy American’ plan
President Biden's plan, as proposed in July, would set aside $400 billion for government purchases of American-made goods.