Does your small business need a mobile app? If you’re a retailer or etailer, maybe so. A new study from Flurry measured the time consumers spent using more than 1,800 iOS and Android shopping apps between December 2011 and December 2012.
The study divided apps into five categories:
- Retailer Apps (such as Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Saks 5th Avenue)
- Price Comparison Apps (such as RedLaser and Grocery iQ)
- Purchase Assistant Apps (such as ShopSavvy and ShopAdvisor)
- Online Marketplace Apps (such as eBay and Amazon)
- Daily Deals Apps (such as Groupon and Living Social)
Time spent on all five types of apps grew quite a bit, but time spent with retailer apps skyrocketed the most (by 525 percent). That percentage far outstrips the overall growth in the use of both shopping apps (274 percent) and apps as a whole (132 percent).
The time consumers spent with Price Comparison and Purchase Assistant apps also grew significantly, by 247 percent and 228 percent, respectively. Even Online Marketplace and Daily Deals apps grew, though at 178 percent and 126 percent, respectively, the growth rate was far less.
The big winner in the growth of app use is retailers. Overall, in 2012 consumers spent 27 percent of app use time on retail apps (up from 15 percent in 2011). By contrast, the share of time spent on Daily Deals shrank from 20% in 2011 to 13% in 2012, and the share of time spent on Online Marketplace apps decreased from 25% in 2011 to 20% in 2012.
Flurry concludes that smart retailers will begin examining their customer relationships through the “mobile-first” lens. The rise in mobile app use—and especially in retail app use—shows that it’s more important than ever to extend your customer relationships to a variety of channels.
Instead of focusing solely on getting customers into your store—or even onto your website—you need to also focus on attracting them via their mobile devices. “In the new mobile app economy, devices are always with you, always on and always connected,” Flurry writes. Yes, 95 percent of sales still occur in physical stores, but mobile allows you to intercept customers in store aisles and affect their purchasing decisions before they ever reach the cash register. Consider tapping into apps that let customers save their credit card info, apps that let them ship an item to their homes, or apps that let them scan an item with their phones to place an order.
How are you using mobile apps to enhance your customers’ retail and e-tail experience?
Image by Flickr user Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale (Creative Commons)