Commentary

The Mobile Elite in the World of Apps

As more retail shopping efforts target smartphone owners who lean toward using mobile websites over apps, what happens to the heavy apps user?

I’m referring to the mobile elite here, the power users who can’t even count how many apps they’ve installed over time or the number they currently have on their phone, there are so many.

And those apps don’t just sit there; they’re used all the time.

You or someone you know likely falls into this category.  

Their first (and sometimes only) instinct while shopping is to use an app.

During a shopping trip, it could be the retailer’s app, a competing merchant’s app or one from a third party that aggregates useful information.

For example, any of the independent price checking apps (RedLaser, ShopSavvy. PriceCheck, etc.) or deals apps (Campus Special, Rue La La, Groupon, etc.) may supplement daily use of offerings from retailers.

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But a lot of resource is going into the targeting of mobile Web shoppers, since their numbers are so large, some announced and some still coming.

The recent joint announcement by mobile facilitators Xtify and Usablenet to create push notifications into mobile websites while consumers shop is yet one indication of the innovation in reaching mobile Web shoppers, as I wrote about last week.

Retailers obviously are not going to abandon apps, since a portion of their customer set uses them, even if a large majority doesn’t.

The question over time, though, is what happens to the mobile elite?

Will more people join their ranks and utilize the increasing power and utility built into mobile devices? Or will they remain a minority, feeling content that they have an advantage over less-savvy mobile shoppers?

Does just thinking about this make you want to go download some more apps?

If so, you just may be part of the mobile elite. How do you see their ranks increasing or decreasing over time?

2 comments about "The Mobile Elite in the World of Apps".
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  1. Jeremy Geiger from Retailigence, July 30, 2013 at 12:18 a.m.

    It all comes down to value to consumers. As I recently said during the panel discussion at OMMA mCommerce, the first generation of shopping apps were barcode scanning apps because 3rd party app developers could create them easily using standard SDKs and APIs and retailers didn't yet have their own offerings. Retailers have since caught up and started to add new features and functions that are useful to shoppers and hence they are gaining in popularity. If 3rd party app developers continue to drive innovation with features and functions that are useful, shoppers will continue to use them. And with more and more useful SDKs and APIs available, it is easier and easier for these 3rd party app developers to make strong, useful apps that are appealing to shoppers.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, July 30, 2013 at 10 a.m.

    Well put, Jeremy. Innovation likely will continue to come from third-party developers, since they can stay laser focused only on the specific value/expertise they seek to provide.

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