Retails apps are winning at mobile-commerce

In the world of e-commerce, the need for mobile apps is becoming increasingly more important for retailers wanting to stay ahead of the game.
2 April 2018

Mobile apps now account for 44 percent of e-commerce transactions in North America. Source: Pixabay

Whether you’re a downtown dress boutique, a shoe shop situated in a bustling city, or an appliance shop in the suburbs, your main goal is for your customers to fall in love with your brand.

Even with a gleaming product or a well sought-after service, something may be missing. The consumers of today are demanding an easy and efficient way to access your retail store from the tips of their fingers, whenever and wherever they please.

Those retailers who have mobile websites – and even better, apps- are reaping in selling-success. According to Criteo’s recently released Global Commerce Review for Q4 2017, retailers in North America who have both a mobile website and a mobile app generated 67 percent of their sales from mobile devices.

But more than this, the review found that apps were much more effective at converting meer browsers into paying consumers. According to Criteo, mobile apps converted at three times the clip of mobile websites and were responsible for well over half (66 percent) of all sales derived from mobile devices.

The study revealed that mobile apps now account for 44 percent of e-commerce transactions in North America in comparison to 33 percent for desktop, and 23 percent for mobile websites.

Furthermore, year-on-year, mobile apps have witnessed their share of transactions grow by almost 50 percent.

It is reasonable to assume then, that retailers that do not yet have a mobile app are at a growing disadvantage. Though, it should be noted that perhaps a mobile app is needed more for certain retail subcategories more than others. For instance, those in the sporting goods, fashion, and health and beauty retail sectors have been shown to have much higher shares of mobile sales.

Fashion retail brands have found particular success with mobile apps. Source: Shutterstock

Furthermore, Criteo found that those retail companies with low mobile sales obtain more of their sales from cross-device transactions, which led the internet advertising company to suggests that “combining cross-device data helps make up for a low below-average share on mobile.”

But even with this in mind, if the trends that Criteo has identified continues to rise then avoiding the development of a mobile app will become increasingly difficult.

What are the challenges with mobile apps?

Even if you go ahead and decide to build a mobile app, this doesn’t mean people are going to use it. Even if you can get users to install the app, retention can be a challenging exercise.

Therefore, if you’re thinking about launching a mobile app, it is important that you can deliver a super user experience and be smart with how you engage mobile users.

For example, research has shown that mobile app users who make a purchase within seven weeks of downloading the app have twice the retention rate. With this in mind, retailers would do well to consider employing special incentives – such as discount codes and free delivery- to help engage new users to their app.

Apps are just one piece of the puzzle

While there is no doubt that mobile apps are becoming increasingly important in today’s digital age, it is vital to remember that they are just one piece of the puzzle.

What’s more important is providing consumers with an omnichannel experience. Criteo found that 26 percent of all desktop transactions are first preceded by browsing on a mobile device.

Omnichannel retailers provide shoppers a unified experience across online and offline channels. Source: Shutterstock

Furthermore, according to Criteo, omnichannel retailers that combine their offline and online consumer data can apply four times as much sales data to optimize their marketing efforts.

So, simply put- yes, mobile apps are becoming an important trend in the e-commerce industry, but other channels still play a key roll.