This month in the world of app commerce – April 2019

From predicting the behaviour of app users to the future of the tech we’ll be shopping on, we cover the latest news from the industry looking to impact the way we shop.

Are app users ‘fickle’?

Our platform stats tend to suggest otherwise

Some of the latest Comscore Inc. data seems to suggest that monthly active users on apps tend to vary month-to-month for some major retail apps, including the likes of eBay, Nordstrom and Macy’s who have seen fluctuations in app visitor volumes. This could be due to a multitude of reasons, from seasonality to marketing tactics, but it’s certainly not the picture we’ve seen across the variety of client apps on the Poq platform. In fact, in our latest platform stats, for the same retailers across Q1 2018 and Q1 2019, we saw an average 20.9% increase in monthly active users.

Interestingly, Comscore Inc. also found that mobile web continued to be a successful channel for acquisition, seeing higher unique users, despite this, app shoppers continue to generate a large share of time spent with a retailer. This demonstrates how mobile web should be utilised to capture new customers and convert them to the app users, where retailers can utilise apps’ superior ability to engage shoppers and keep a retailer at the top of mind.

Discover more detail on how and why shoppers spent more time in apps over the holiday season in our latest guide.

Shoppers spending more time in apps is pretty consistent across retail’s tycoons including; Amazon, that sees 42% of mobile visits through the app compared to 58% on mobile web, those 42% make up 85% of time spent on Amazon’s mobile shopping channels.

And it doesn’t stop there, app shoppers haven’t been phased by Apple’s introduction of the ability to quieten push notifications in iOS 12, Airship found that there was no change in notification behaviour after the implementation of greater notification control. Meaning that shoppers were happy to continue to receive push notifications (a powerful marketing tool for retail apps), suggesting they find them valuable and relevant.

Experiential or experimental

Retailers are upping their game

With the dubbed ‘retail apocalypse’ casting a gloomy shadow across shopping malls and highstreets globally, we’re seeing the focus of the physical store shift from a purely transactional purpose to a place that engages shoppers and drives brand affinity through experiences. Retailers are taking their laser focus on experiential retail beyond the physical experience and experiential retail is going digital.

Urban Outfitters is the latest in a line of retailer’s to take an experiential and experimental approach to the shopping experience. This month, they piloted live shopping parties on social shopping app, Dote, which has been dubbed as “Twitch for shopping”. This innovative customer experience-driven thinking is empowering retailers to reach a greater market.

Nike have established themselves as a pioneer in omnichannel bridging the digital gap with their app in-store. By being a Nike+ member, shoppers can unlock unique in-store capabilities such as requesting a fitting room or shoe size and even checkout in the app, avoiding the queue. Their secret ingredient to building up a successful digital and direct-to-consumer experience has been the implementation of simultaneous and complimentary app and store strategies.

Content drives purchases

Content marketing transcends digital

Shopping is a visually driven behaviour, we like to see products before we purchase them and it’s widely accepted that content marketing works for retail. It works on social networks through the likes of Instagram, and it works on mobile apps; Missguided have seen success by utilising content driven features like Swipe-to-Hype and App Stories. Now content marketing has transcended digital channels and is featuring in the store. Primark, a well known British fashion retailer, has recently launched its biggest ever store in Birmingham with a strong focus on digital content being displayed throughout the store.

Find out how Missguided created their award winning app on the Poq platform:

Read the Missguided case study

The emphasis on omnichannel is becoming apparent. Not only are retailers innovating in how they connect their physical and digital channels but shoppers are driving this preference. Latest research from Marketingsignals.com suggests that 94% of shoppers prefer to research a product online before buying in-store and 78% like to go to a store to get an idea of the look and feel of a product before making the purchase online later.

Furthermore, a new study suggests that over 60% of consumers across the UK, U.S. and Germany all say they shop equally in-store and online. Smartphones are even predicted to account for a third of ecommerce (online) sales in 2019 according to eMarketer. With stats like these, it’s no surprise that retailers are constantly improving their shopping app experiences.

Tech

PR disaster or tech pioneers?

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was destined to go one of two ways. We were hoping to see a technological butterfly emerge from Samsung’s latest endeavours to advance smartphone hardware. However, recent news suggests that after their attempt to elevate us from the stale state of smartphone hardware development, those with early access to the Galaxy Fold have experienced a myriad of issues for a $2,000 phone, including; flickering screens, distortion, a persistent screen crease and faulty hinges.

In what turns out to be more of a crash and burn scenario, we can at least give Samsung kudos for trying to pushing the limits of how we perceive and use our mobile phones. Samsung has decided to play its cards close to its chest and hasn’t ‘folded’ just yet as they postpone the release of the Galaxy Fold, meaning we’ll have to wait a little longer before we can browse shopping apps with a bigger smartphone screen just yet.

It’s not all doom and gloom!

That fabled 5G, superfast internet we’ve been promised is finally here. Both Samsung and Huawei have announced their 5G ready devices and tests across both the US and South Korea suggest that 5G connections are consistently faster than 4G (although reports of the speeds achieved do vary a bit).

Unfortunately, Apple lags behind with no announcements for the adoption of 5G into Apple devices over the next 2 years. iOS’ lead in the Android/iOS divide when it comes to shopping experiences could narrow, as those with 5G enabled Android devices are able to experience a smoother shopping journey and Android’s next system update (Android Q) is set to introduce Apple’s 3D touch gestures. Retailer’s are anticipated to utilise 5G networks to close the gap between digital and physical experiences through the likes of Augmented Reality (AR).

Reported by Samantha Rigg

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