Commentary

Mobile Plus Apps Equals Retail Engagement

More than 60% of U.S. consumers’ time spent online with retailers takes place on a mobile device, according to comScore, and that translates into huge growth potential for progressive retailers. The Internet Retailer Mobile 500 reports that mobile sales by the world’s 500 leading retailers in mobile commerce should reach $84 billion in 2014, up 80% from $47 billion in 2013.

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In summarizing App Engagement, Bill Siwicki, Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce, says that it’s now an old story, and by no means confined to retail. Many apps wind up downloaded, used once and forgotten — or worse, deleted. When it comes to mobile commerce apps, retailers need to keep shoppers engaged with their apps so they keep coming back for more.

And, Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor Corp, quoted in Internet Retailer content, says that  “… all of us in e-retail have been surprised at how fast mobile has ascended… two years ago… we envisioned a multi-device world where people would discover on the smartphone, browse on the tablet, and land back on the desktop to buy… we were wrong about multi-device usage… largest growth area in shopping and on the web is mobile-only consumers…

Mobile app analytics vendor, Mobidia Inc., exclusively measured app engagement levels of the 262 merchants offering apps in the Mobile 500. Mobidia used its panels of mobile app users, 250,000 consumers in the U.S. and 2 million worldwide. Engagement is expressed by the percentage of monthly active users (users who shop an app at least once a month) who shop an app at least once a week.

Mobile 500 Retail Apps With The Highest Engagement Levels

  • Neiman Marcus (64.3%)
  • Kohl’s (63.6%)
  • Victoria’s Secret (61.7%)
  • H&M (56.6%)
  • Groupon (47.8%)

Chris Hill, vice president of marketing at Mobidia, points out that  Kohl’s, for example, does a great job of including features and offers in its app that keep customers coming back for more, highlighting discounts, coupons and deals of the day.

Belk Inc., a mass merchant retail chain that’s No. 171 in the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500, uses it’s in-store app that includes easy bar code scanning, coupon integration, Apple’s Passbook wallet, a Belk store finder, and integration of e-mail and social sharing. 32.4% of the Belk shopping app’s monthly active users use the app at least once a week

And to optimize in-store shopping, Belk is examining Apple’s iBeacon technology for potential future integration into its app. Beacons are small pieces of hardware that retailers place throughout a store that communicate with apps on mobile devices via Bluetooth Low Energy wireless networking technology.

Ivy Chin, senior vice president of e-commerce and omnichannel digital at Belk, says “…  mobile apps are becoming much more important as digital commerce evolves… shopper often uses… mobile device to complement in-store experience… we developed the Belk app to support that…”

For example, a beacon can sense that a shopper with the Belk app on her smartphone just entered a particular department and transmit to her smartphone, via app push notification, a coupon for 20% off any purchase in that department.

The app does not need to be open to receive the message, which triggers an alert tone. An app user would, however, need to have approved the use of push notifications, as well as have her Bluetooth on, which is quite common with the advent of the low-energy version of Bluetooth.

Chin concludes by noting that “… location awareness has to be meaningful for customers… the right information and the right messages… involves understanding how your customers engage with brand… (and if) they are in-store, online or on a mobile device… “

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1 comment about "Mobile Plus Apps Equals Retail Engagement".
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  1. Stan Weitzman from mADtivity, September 3, 2014 at 6:53 p.m.

    Very good article. The closer to the point of sale a mobile advertiser can engage, the better. Majority of buying decisions are made within one hour of purchase. if your store is not one of the key destination stores, then you need a technology which will redirect the mobile user to your establishment. This the key part of our mobile ad technology at mADtivity.

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