Here’s some advice on how best to take advantage of the latest consumer data around app usage.

Ecommerce apps sometimes get a rough press, but it’s more to do with the retailers that provide an app instead of offering a decent mobile optimised web experience.

It’s annoying when you want to visit a retailer on your mobile and you’re either redirected immediately to an app download, or are provided a non-mobile optimised experience.

It’s inconvenient, wastes the consumer’s time and will only encourage them to take their business elsewhere.

However if you can provide a perfectly optimised mobile experience alongside a brilliant functional app, then you’ll have all bases covered. Some consumers prefer apps, some people prefer the mobile web. It’s all down to context, behaviour and location.

The value of having an app

Mobile apps achieve many positive things for retailers. It is often the regular users of apps who are a retailer’s most loyal brand advocates. They encourage repeat visits and purchases while driving customer loyalty. Users can use an app to save favourite items and payment details, adding to the convenience.

Just having the retailer icon there on a mobile is a good way to remain at the forefront of a consumer’s mind and is also easy to access at any time. Push notifications can be sent every so often to highlight special offers or new products that are relevant to the user’s interests.

Apps are also an effective way to operate a loyalty card or scheme. However loyalty schemes aren’t the only way apps can be used to tie-up the instore experience.

Beacons in high street branches can send notifications to the user when they approach or enter the store. Unique, personalised special offers or discounts can be delivered via the app, instore maps or inventories can be accessed, shopping lists or wish lists can be integrated. All this data can also be used by the retailer to properly measure attribution and further improve the customer experience.

Consumer behaviour

Now we get into the nitty-gritty. A new study by Poq Studio App, Commerce Report Q1 2015 (registration required), has revealed some interesting findings regarding customer behaviour on apps.

It was found that only 19% of the UK’s top 50 retailers offer a shopping app, but those that do report an increasing proportion of online revenue, with some retailers suggesting their apps generate over 10% of their online revenue.

Within this proportion it was found that:

The Sunday contradiction

Retail apps receive the highest average traffic per day on Sundays, but also show the lowest conversion rates. Sundays were also found to be the days of the week where the ‘add to wishlist’ function was used the most. It seems like Sundays are perfect for window shopping. 

This also highlights the need for retailers to have a wishlist function in their apps.

iOS users convert the most on Fridays, Android users on Saturdays

For iOS apps the highest conversion rates are on Fridays, followed by Tuesdays, and Mondays. Android apps, on the other hand, show the highest conversion rates on Saturdays,

Fridays, and Mondays. iOS app conversion rates are generally 1.2 times higher on Fridays, and Android app conversion rates are generally 1.2 times higher on Saturdays, than they are on the average day.

Therefore if you’re going to run any kind of promotion, especially if it’s for less-popular items, these are the best days for this. Perhaps consider app-exclusive promotions or opportunities for cross or upselling.

Most app transactions are made after 7pm

Even though UK consumers provide the most traffic during their lunch hours, spiking at noon and dropping off at 1pm, more conversions occur between 8pm and 10pm.

So lunchtimes are best for new content and evenings are best for sending push notifications.

For advice on how to get your app seen on the app store, read: App store optimisation (ASO) for Google Play and Apple App Store.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 13 May, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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