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Mobile Apps – ‘An Essential Cog in the Retail Wheel’

The use of mobile applications among consumers is rising by the day. Retailers all around the globe are now recognizing the importance of having their own app for increased revenue generation and for good reason. The following statistics perfectly validates this statement.


  • According to a study, the typical app visitor spends around 201.8 minutes a month with regards to retail apps in comparison to 10.9 minutes on the site by the typical mobile site visitor (ClearBridge)


  • Mobile apps accounts for a staggering 44% of the total digital time that is spent in the retail sector by consumers in the U.S.


  • In April 2016, 23% of smartphone owners had mobile retail apps on their devices in comparison to 21% in October 2015. (eMarketer). The following data provides an indication.


  • 40.4% of people who downloaded a retailer app admitted to having bought more of the brand's products and services as a result. While 45.9% of them stated that as a result of the apps they visited the store more often. (ABI Research)


  • The following graph estimates that US retail m-commerce sales will reach US $123.13 billion IN 2016, which is a 39.1% increase from the year 2015. It is estimated to go up to US $242.08 billion by 2020. (eMarketer)



  • According to ARC analysis, the following figures ranks 43 retailers on the basis of weighted average of Android and iOS mobile user sentiment scores depicting the most mobile app sales.


Now that we know the overwhelming facts and results mobile application is bringing to retailers today, let's see how retailers can make the best use of mobile apps with regards to their business and customers.


Personalized Marketing (Push Notifications)


Specific marketing messages can be targeted towards customers through the help of push notifications. Apps are a favourable way of disseminating personalized content by referring to purchase history and other information like user behavior, etc. Proximity marketing campaigns with the help of location based techniques can prompt customers to walk into a particular store when around and also helps in pushing through specific offers while the customer is in store. This enhances the chances of sale.


Enhanced Speed & Convenience


Driving revenue through applications is a favourable option as it scores over the aspect of mobile web in terms of speed of operation and convenience in the overall shopping experience. A survey by (RetailMeNot) stated the major reasons why customers preferred to use apps over mobile web.


  • 63% of the people said that apps are more convenient

  • 57% said that apps are much faster

  • Around 40% stated that User Settings are stored

  • 31% said that they used apps because of the benefits or rewards they reaped out of it

Thus, retailers should understand the importance of designing the app in the most convenient way possible for the customers. Speed and convenience is a big part of enhancing the overall customer shopping experience.


Generating 'Loyalty' from customers


Many a time, customers who are willing to be loyal to a particular brand or company, in anticipation of rewards and benefits in return, cut down on associations with the brand on not receiving any kind of favours or reciprocation from them. Mobile apps now give the retailers the liberty to enhance their loyalty programmes for their customers and as a result encourage repeat purchase and drive engagement for retailers. After all, the customers should also have a proper incentive for staying loyal. Purchase history of customers can easily denote which are the most loyal customers and targeted offers and promotions can be pushed towards them depending on the levels of loyalty.


Inventory Tracking & Enhancing in-store experience


Business from in-store retail is still of significant measure today. Customers use mobile apps mainly for redeeming in-store coupons and collection of offers. Apart from this, researching and finding in-store product information is what customers use the apps for. Another way that apps are very useful to shoppers is that it allows them to easily track and find inventory to find out what is available in the store and what isn't. The unavailable items can be ordered straight away from the app. This entire aspect is proving to be more than just valuable. The retailers however, can use mobile apps for enhancing the in-store experience of the customer in the following ways.


  • The effective elimination of common friction points

  • good in-store synchronization among sales associates and other staff members

  • Proper internal management leading to increased operational efficiencies.

About Shakuntala Sarkar

Shakuntala is a marketer with 15 years of experience in Marketing Strategies & Operations, Brand Communications, Customer Relationship Management and Corporate Communications. An economics graduate from St Xavier’s college, Kolkata and a IIMC she, has worked across different industries like IT & Retail, with consumer marketing in both B2B and B2C segments. Before joining Tickto, she was the Head of Customer Relationship Management at Spencer’s Retail. Prior to that, she has been a part of the Global Marketing & Communications team of Satyam Computer Services.

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