The rapid migration from the web and PCs to mobile devices in the last decade surprised everyone. As smartphones rapidly became more advanced, users were soon realizing that their phones could be their primary window to the online world.
People can now be in touch and up to date through their phone, receiving news, keeping up with social media and even watching their favorite shows. Citizens of the world are no longer confined to their desktop.
With mobile becoming more advanced, user behavior is completely changing. An increasing number of emails are opened first on mobile, with 45% of mail being opened on mobile devices compared to just 36% on desktop and 19% in a web based mail client. This shift from desktop to mobile has impacted consumer behavior from the way we communicate to how we shop.
According to Business of Apps, total app revenues grew to $45.37 billion, with brands like Facebook and Twitter deriving over 60% of their revenue from their mobile apps alone. Flurry even reported, “for the first time ever, the time spent inside mobile applications by the average U.S. consumer has now exceeded that of TV.”
The evolution of user behavior and the rapid increase in mobile usage in particular is changing the way businesses are approaching mobile app development and marketing. With such an emphasis on smartphones and their potential capabilities, big companies are looking to move towards the mobile space to keep their businesses relevant.
Life Goes Mobile
With mobile taking over every facet of day to day life, there is a lot more out there than just email clients and chatting apps. The presence of constant online connectivity has changed the way people talk, play, and even shop.
Five years ago, “online shopping” meant using a desktop computer from home or work. No one was carrying around a laptop and browsing on Amazon while shopping in a Best Buy.
Today, our mobile devices are with us everywhere, giving rise to mobile shopping from anywhere including a competitor’s store.
Mobile Shopping Ascension
Shoppers are coming into stores armed with mobile devices containing information and utilities that could make or break a sale. Retailers who utilize mobile as an opportunity to add value to their customers shopping experience are thriving, with in-store engagement increasing for several large retailers. A study from Wefi showed Macy’s mobile app increased monthly store visits by 60% and lengthened each shopper’s store visit by 30%!
In the past few years, the number of apps tied to shopping has grown exponentially — so exponentially in fact that Apple has released a new shopping category in November 2015. This new category now provides more focus on apps that were once included in the less than focused and very crowded Lifestyle category.
The new category creates a space for users to search and discover whatever they would find relevant to their shopping experience. In essence, users are searching for apps that would help them save money and time while they shop. Among the top trending features in the new Shopping category, “shopping list” and “daily deals” are the most searched within the App Store and Play Store according mobile data and ASO analytics company Gummicube. This fact, among others, was revealed in data supplied by Gummicube for Internet Retailer’s 2015 Top 500 report.
Mobile apps from large retailers like Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears, Costco and Walmart have expanded with other features that make the shopping experience more enjoyable. JCPenny’s mobile shopping app has bar code scanning, coupon management and special offers for app users, and recently added SNAP2SHOP, encouraging users to take a photo of an item anywhere and view similar products at JCPenny.
Target developed an app specifically to create a new in-store experience. Target’s Cartwheel app helps customers get the best price by offering exclusive in-store deals, only found within the app. Target created a brand new shopping experience by tailoring Cartwheel to help customers find manufacturer coupons and save money as they shop. By offering exclusive deals, in-store navigation and barcode scanning, shoppers are now spending 30% more at Target.
If you want to see the vast impact of the migration to mobile apps, take a look at what happened during the 2015 holiday season.
In the past entering a credit card number and shipping details on a small mobile keypad made shopping on a mobile device difficult. Today, the checkout experience on smartphones has been vastly simplified with the introduction of Apple Pay and Stripe mobile payments in 2014. In fact, the 2015 holiday season still showed more than 50% of traffic and 30% of online sales coming from mobile devices.
The migration to mobile has surfaced behavioral trends that have created new challenges for servicing potential and existing customers. For retailers, the opportunity is in creating a mobile app or improving an existing offering as more of their customers spend more of their time in mobile apps.
Marketing, sales and customer service departments can win the customer by understanding how big and fast the migration to mobile is, what the top retailers are doing in this space and how much success they are already having. By implementing features that are convenient for consumers, brands will be able to keep the customer on their side for a long time to come.
Understanding that mobile apps are now a shopping companion for end users, retailers have started creating a precedent by developing and marketing mobile apps that synchronize with the needs of shoppers migrating from desktop to mobile.