Is That A Store In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See What You Want To Buy?

Is mobile the new retail? That seems increasingly to be the case, according to findings of a new research conducted by Kantar for Google.

The study, which draws on a combination of app user and retail marketer surveys conducted globally, finds that nearly four out of five (78%) consumers now use one or more retailer apps to shop, including 30% who use them while in the retailer's store.

Not surprisingly, the biggest reasons that  for using retailer apps are to get good deals (discounts and promotions) or to check on inventory/product availability.

Of greater consequence for brand marketers selling at retail is the fact that the No. 3 reason consumers use retailer apps is to read product reviews in real time while shopping.

While none of these findings are shocking or surprising, they do signal a shift toward app-based retail shopping experiences.

Interestingly, the report only focuses on in-store vs. not-in-store use of retailer apps. But what I really want to understand isn't how people are using them now, but how they will use them in the not-so-distant future, especially vis a vis the metaverse, VR and definitely AR applications. You know -- how consumers will "shop at retail" when they're neither in a store, nor in a conventional ecommerce purchasing environment (sitting in front of a computer or phone screen to buy something online).

We've all seen examples of the new mixed-reality applications. Remember the Cannes Lion-winning app developed by South Korea's Cheil agency for retailer Tesco that enabled commuters to buy products on their way home using an augmented-reality app that transformed the train station platform into virtual retail shelves? That was 11 years ago. Why hasn't the retail industry accelerated this kind of experience to create even more frictionless, in-the-moment, on-the-go shopping experiences?

It's an important question, especially when you consider the other part of the Kantar research conducted for Google -- the B2B part.

The No. 1 app development priority among retailers -- cited by 67% of them -- is improving their customers' experiences. No. 2 (53%) is to add new features and functionality.

Citing a recent report from eMarketer, the study acknowledged that consumers “now expect fast, easy, and frictionless omnichannel interactions with retailers,” and that “four of the five most-valued app features connect the physical and digital shopping experience.”

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