Supply Chain Commentary: Prepare for Mobile Commerce

E-commerce, m-commerce, and now app-commerce.

Mobile commerce is expected to become a $250-billion market by 2020, with an increasing number of sales being done via smartphone apps.

According to the 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, shoppers make 25 percent of online purchases with apps, a number expected to spike quickly in coming years.

Apps are considered superior to websites because of speed, user experience, and accessibility. It’s insightful that four-in-five smartphone users have accessed a retailer using a smartphone app instead of a web browser.

However, it’s the one-in-three smartphone users who often/always use these apps that should pique the attention of retailers who may be on the fence about the role apps can play in bolstering business.

What’s more, this isn’t a millennial-only trend: While 92 percent of millennials shop using retailer apps, so do 82 percent of Generation X, 66 percent of Baby Boomers, and 47 percent of seniors, representing a large swath of diverse demographics.

When retailers think about what to include, survey respondents listed the top requested features as: high-quality product images; mobile coupons; product reviews; product search providing relevant results, and access to loyalty points/status.

Retailers should also note that smartphone app users value saving money and gravitate to apps offering rewards such as free shipping and product discounts, the survey found.

Almost half of smartphone users who do not use retailer apps say they simply prefer using websites, and 37 percent cite security concerns, an increase of six points from the previous year.

As a result, savvy retailers should emphasize that apps are safe and secure. Meanwhile, 17 percent of survey responders reported that they don’t want to download separate apps for multiple retailers, showing there’s potential for companies with more than one brand to combine apps.

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