Shopping on smartphones is becoming easier and the experience is getting better, drawing in all kinds of consumers who want to shop on the move, compare in-store prices, or check out the product and then shop on their phone while standing in the aisles. The phone is becoming the default device for lots of people even within their own home.
But for all its broad appeal the smartphone is perhaps most importantly the best route to reach, engage and sell to younger demographics such as in-demand millennials. Their phone is where they connect with friends, listen to music, play games and – increasingly – where they shop.
As such retailers need to ensure two things: a great mobile-optimised online shopping website and a brilliant app. Some consumers prefer to use a mobile website, others prefer an app. Many may use them interchangeably and all will expect to have the luxury of choice – particularly younger audiences who feel less loyalty towards particular brands and are more willing to take their custom elsewhere in the face of experiences that don’t live up to their high expectations.
The relative newness of apps and the fact that many succeed or fail based on the user-ratings they receive in app stores mean many companies are still learning lessons the hard way about their app strategy.
However, there are some guiding principles which retailers would be wise to consider, especially given the role of their app in engaging the next generation of shoppers: