Mobile Commerce

Survey Finds Majority Of Shoppers Browse Via App Before Buying

A majority of shoppers browse through retail apps before actually venturing to a store to make the leap into buying a product, a recent survey says.

According to Apptentive, which conducted research involving 350 consumers last month, would-be buyers use apps in a way that aids the shopping experience, and the data skews heavily toward the retail experience itself. As Apptentive found, as much as 88 percent of those surveyed used retailer apps, with 61 percent stating that they used the apps at least once per month. A smaller subset, or 26 percent of the total, used their retailer apps on a far more frequent basis, with at least seven or more uses per month.

In general, users employed the apps to help plan their shopping trips before ever arriving at the store. The research firm found that, through a process it coined “app-rooming,” 71 percent use online apps to browse through product specifications before moving on to the bricks-and-mortar experience, and this occurred at least once a month. Within the store environment, slightly more than half of those surveyed used apps while actually in the store.

In an article Tuesday (Aug. 11) by Marketing Land, the site posited that while some retailers judge the effectiveness of their apps by sales generated, they should instead look at how the apps themselves engender customer loyalty and help convert browsers into buyers. As Apptentive noted, benchmarks should extend to include “positive ratings and reviews, healthy retention rate and increasing number of monthly active users.” Yet, running counter to these recommendations are actual business practices. Marketing Land said that a February 2015 survey by Forrester showed that retailers were actually “deemphasizing” apps due in part to high development costs. In that survey, as many as 56 percent of retailers said that apps did not represent a “key component” of mobile strategy.

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