Nowadays retail competition is taking over old stores, pushing them to make their shutters down one by one. Walmart is taking interest in online more, whereas Amazon is spreading its wings offline as well via stores and buying whole foods. The retail dollars are in a heavy war-zone where customers will soon get the whole battlefield amidst their fists with the advent of Smartphone apps.
This is not the picture with just mega-retailers, movie chains. Pet supply stores are also stepping in the scenario by connecting with more customers with their personal branded apps. Specific clothing brands in the U.S. like Zumiez are developing apps along with their several on-ground stores. Also, coffee brands like Scooter’s Coffee from Omaha and pizza stores from New York are getting into this bigger picture.
Gradually mobile apps are becoming the prior instrument of communication and interaction between brands and their consumers. According to some research analysis of data from a classified big U.S. retailer of video games and electronics, mobile apps can also affect the offline buying habits of consumers.
Mobile Gaming App: Changing the Old Market
The gaming industry isn’t also lagging far behind. Nowadays online casinos have become immensely popular, taking over the traditional casinos. Gamers find its more fun with fewer restrictions to play online than in some old shop. Online games also provide all the benefits of extra bonuses, welcome offers and easy deposit terms along with simple cashing out. Several popular casinos therefore now have launched their own apps to attract gamers from worldwide. One can easily download these gaming apps from online sites or play stores and play their favorite games anytime and anywhere. You can easily play Baccarat online if you have gaming app loaded on your Smartphone. No need to wait anymore in line! Games like roulette, blackjack, poker and several slot games are right there in Smartphone now with mobile apps.
Growth in Usage & Spending
Millions of people from all across the world are now having the option of using mobile apps. According to surveys, over 70% population of the world will have a Smartphone by 2020 and they will indulge over 80% of their on-phone time in using task-specific apps.
It’s undoubtedly a great business opportunity if brands allow customers to learn details about the products, know deals, trace nearby stores and also offer to place orders in advance. For example, many brands allow their customers to order and pay on their go via their personal branded app. Buyers can just come to the store and get their parcel immediately – no need to wait in long lines anymore for ordering. In this way, they have been able to get 20% of its sales via online transactions.
Some research also shows that people tend to buy more things online via mobile apps than they might in stores. When buyers started to buy from eBay via their mobile app, eBay’s sales increased from their website. Again, customers spend about US$923.5 million more each year as they started to buy from the tablet app of Alibaba, a large Chinese e-retailer. A large part of this increased spending is due to impulsive marketing of the shoppers. Sometimes they make one-off purchases of items that they are interested in and also sometimes they add more items to make larger orders.
App Users Frequently Return Products
As the buyers do more shopping with mobile apps than in shops, it has been also noticed that they are also more prone to return their purchased products in the same way. Particularly buyers who do shopping with mobile apps tend to return products often when they have bought those kinds of stuff on discount and within seven days of the main purchase. Apps drive customers to do impulsive marketing. But many times they regret buying the things when received and hence return the products.
But putting into account the rate of returns too, it is established that app users spend more while buying online than in stores. It only works when the apps work as the customers want them to.
App Failures & Consequences
The apps that take a longer time to load or often tend to crash, not only lessen online purchasing but also affect the in-person spending amount. According to surveys, 60% of the users expect their apps to load within 4 seconds. Also as per some ongoing research, half of the users tend to dump the apps that often freeze or crash.
The slowdown of the apps can cost their brands dearly. According to an estimate, Amazon will have approx. $1.6 billion sales a year if its webpage takes just 1 second longer to load. For smaller retailers too, a similar drop of 2-3% can cost them significantly though the price amount in dollars would be smaller.
As per specific ongoing research, poor app performances reduce users’ in-store spending as well. It has also been studied how users react when they can’t get access to an app for 5-6 hours due to server errors. According to the primary results of that research, users spent 3-4% less in stores than general in the following couple of weeks. Less-frequent customers spent even lesser than the company’s regular customers.
However, customers who face app failures though spend less in stores, but their spending amounts on the Internet remain the same. A deeper analysis suggests that when a retailer’s app fails, buyers go to their website directly to complete their necessary transactions often. But the app failure leaves a negative impression on their mind that discourages them to buy more from the retailer’s store.
The research, therefore, shows that in some ways or another, mobile apps can be a double-edged sword for both retailers and customers. Shoppers can enjoy the benefits of using apps to learn more about prospective purchases, get inspired on the run and also save time at the cash register. However, when the app fails, they get discouraged and get frustrated about buying at physical stores too. Retailers can enjoy higher sales, faster transactions and making more money – but also get prepared to handle more returns.