The lack of guidelines or general wisdom as to which retailers should actually have a mobile app and which shouldn’t can be confusing.
In this post I’m going to start writing those guidelines myself, if you’ll stick with me.
There is definitely a burgeoning anti-app movement, fuelled in part by the move to adaptive or responsive websites. On top of this, the growth in app downloads is in sharp decline and we seem to be reaching market maturation for apps, in those countries that have highest smartphone adoption.
But what should retailers do? Should some still be entertaining the idea of a new app? There are certainly some great success stories out there.
Some feel that the consumer has no interest in using many different retail apps, whereas others think the goal of consolidation is often unrealistic, with consumers happier using a range of options.
Where should apps lie in a priority list of ecommerce to-dos? Which apps are succeeding and which aren’t? How do customer base, product range, internationalisation and other factors affect the decision whether to build an app?
Well, these are the questions I’ve been attempting to answer. Read on to see what I dug up. If you make it to the end of my investigation, you’ll find my own criteria for apps in retail.
There’s no arguing that Cyber Monday is now integral to the domestic shopping calendar. The 2013 renewal of the ecommerce bonanza was in retail terms a success, especially if you happen to own a fashion website.
That’s because fashion websites saw a 25% year-on-year increase in visits on what is now known as Cyber Monday, an uplift that appears to have been driven by the growth of mobile and tablet shopping.
A quarter of marketers are yet to execute campaigns across multiple screens, with tracking apparently the main issue that’s holding people back.
New research from Undertone found that 59% of marketers and 68% of agencies say that difficulty tracking people across devices is the main barrier to implementing a multiscreen campaign.
A lack of common performance metrics is also cited as a key barrier to deployment by 59% of marketers and agencies.
Responsive design is a potential remedy to this problem, however the research suggests that knowledge of the technology is still quite limited.
Lumped under the collective heading of 'mobile', a lot of marketers think that smartphones and tablets are the same thing when it comes to mobile marketing.
The truth is, people use tablets in a completely different way than they do their smartphones, and your marketing should reflect that.
Here are five reasons why tablets are different than smartphones, and why they should be treated as such by marketers.
While the iPhone which provides half of Apple's revenue is its foundation, the iPad is its bellwether for growth.
Gartner has upwardly revised its growth projections for tables to a whopping 54% this year, against an 11% drop in PC sales. This makes it no surprise that Apple has set its course in this direction.
As Willie Sutton answered when he was asked why he robbed banks, the answer is obvious, its where the money is.
But it goes further than retail. The iPad is a gateway to incremental media, software sales and services purchases. There are 170m of them in circulation, and Apple is moving to gain new users and upgrade its installed base.
And along the way gain increased wallet and mindshare while depositioning its rivals.
When I was a kid, riding trolleys down supermarket aisles and giving my twin brother beats in public were the symptoms of my boredom at the local Tesco or Asda.
That was before ‘retail-tainment’ involved the smartphone or tablet.
The supermarket is the perfect crucible for 'retail-tainment'. Outside of big cities, supermarkets are captive markets, often entailing a long visit with the family, and competing with rival stores on a weekly basis.
Winning the battle to keep kids obedient or event interested in store would be a boon for any supermarket chain.
At the moment, there are supermarkets such as Asda that are synonymous with family, but none that have mastered retailtainment. More apps and in-store challenges with rewards will provide an effective antidote to the rogue use of toys by children that then abandon them in the bakery aisle.
Asda is using Zappar to offer kids the chance to be greeted by Sir Spook in 400 of its stores. Combined with some physical events, pumpkin carving and the like, they're aiming to be the family supermarket at Halloween.
This week's stats are mobile-heavy. The standout piece of data surely being the astonishing revelation that 24% of us believe losing our phone would be detrimental to our mental health.
Keep a tight hold on that device, and read on. If you're interested in more on mobile, check out our Mobile Commerce Compendium.
A recent study by Fast Web Media has yielded some interesting insights into multi-screening trends in the UK.
The report looks at 50 different UK brands and analyses their most recent 2013 TV adverts to see who is encouraging multi-screening. One ad per brand was watched and inclusions of URLs and/or any reference to social networks was recorded.
What is multi-screening? You can be said to be multi-screening when you are using more than one device (screen) at the same time.
For example, if you're watching a live sports event on TV and you're checking Twitter at the same time (like I was last weekend) then you are multi-screening.
We’ve pretty much reached the stage where tablets and smartphones are no longer lumped together under the mobile umbrella, as each device encourages entirely different user behaviours and outcomes for brands.
For example, we’ve seen a huge amount of evidence which shows that tablets drive more traffic and higher conversions that smartphones.
And just to drive the point home, a new report from Adfonic again underlines the fact that tablets outperform smartphones by almost any advertising measure.
Throughout 2012 Adfonic tracked a steady increase in the number of ad impressions viewed on tablets, rising from 9% in Q2 to 14% in Q4.
The importance of tablets to ecommerce is well-documented, with research consistently showing that the devices convert at a much higher rate than smartphones.
And new data from Adobe shows global websites are now getting more traffic from tablets than smartphones, at 8% and 7% of monthly page views respectively.
This is particularly impressive considering that the device only came to market three years ago, and it’s also good news for ecommerce sites.
In December we reported that conversion rates from tablets were four times higher than on smartphones, and actually peaked above desktop on Cyber Monday.