Do You Really Need a Mobile Ecommerce App?

Greg Wise
Greg Wise



Now that the shine is worn off of mobile commerce, we’re starting to see that some of the technology we got so excited about isn’t as useful as originally thought. If you’re considering a mobile app for your ecommerce business, you may want to take a look at some of the latest statistics. Better to know whether your new app will make you money before you invest everything, right?

When Consumers Use Apps

A study by RetailMeNot asked mobile shoppers how often they shop on their phones and tablets through apps. The results may surprise you. While many do use retail apps on their mobile devices, they do so very infrequently. Over half, at 57%, use their apps once per month or less. Only 10% say they use their apps once per day or more.

Those who do use their apps on a daily basis might encourage you to continue developing your ecommerce app. We’re all for it, if you’re sure your app is one consumers would actually download and use.

How Many Use Apps

A very small amount of users keep more than two retail-based apps on their phones and tablets at any given time. In fact, only 39% have one or two, and 39% say they have more. A discouraging 21% of consumers say they don’t have any commerce apps on their phones at all.

Before you develop and launch your app, you have to be sure that your customers will find your app important enough to download and use above all other ecommerce and commerce-based applications. After all, there is only so much memory on mobile devices, and many retail apps are deleted in favor of entertainment.

Back to the Web

There are some encouraging numbers here, even with the distinctly discouraging statistics. Quite a few consumers do actually download and use retail apps, even if only sporadically. The rest of your customers still interact by mobile device; they just do so by visiting your mobile site.

In fact, the study shows people are much more likely to visit your website for almost any online shopping activity, except for redeeming gift cards and loyalty program points. When checking store hours or locations, 66% will visit your website as compared to 45% using your app. To check reviews, 50% visit your website and 31% use your app. If they want to use their gift card or loyalty points, however, 19% will use their app, while only 12% visit your site. If you plan to use app-based loyalty programs and stored-value cards, then you could very well find that developing your app is worth the trouble and cost.

What This Means

We know apps once seemed like a must-have, but maybe you should focus attention and funds elsewhere. In fact, a great mobile site could do anything your app might do, and consumers are more likely to use that than to download your app. As long as you’ve put significant work into developing a mobile friendly website, your customers should be able to shop, redeem, visit, search, browse, and otherwise enjoy your ecommerce company without the need for an app.

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Topics: Mobile Apps

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