There’s no doubt that consumers are using their mobile phones to buy more and more frequently on their mobile phones. Anything up to around 20% of eBay UK transactions take place on a mobile (the last reported figure was 10%, but eBay Inc report expecting $10bn in mobile payments this year – that’s a 150% increase on last year). The question is should you rely on a mobile optimised website, or should you be considering a mobile app?
The answer appears to be that users will probably uninstall your app than will use it. Currently the only two prevalent retail mobile apps are Amazon and eBay, according a Mobile Shopping Behaviour Report by Webcredible. Other apps used regularly are vouches/discount sites, journey planning, and booking apps. Smartphone users are likely to find their way with Google Maps, check train times on their mobiles and read the news. They’re not likely to download multiple apps from multiple retailers so if you want to attract their spending money you want to be on eBay and/or Amazon.
Barcode readers and QR scanners are surprisingly underused. One participant in the Webcredible study pointed out it was just too time consuming to go through the cupboard scanning tins when ordering their weekly groceries (Plus do they barcode bananas yet?). Comparison shopping in-store also has a relatively uptake as consumers simply forget they can and make the purchase on the spot.
Smartphone users typically make the most of their phones when commuting and at home relaxing where it’s often quicker and easier to use a mobile than to boot up a computer.
Both eBay and Amazon apps were rated as “brilliant”, Amazon because it simplifies the buying process and eBay for it’s monitoring and alerts. However those two aside smartphone users are more likely to use the browser on their phone and Google what they were looking for, and then access retailers’ mobile optimised sites.
Other apps such as the PayPal Pizza Express mobile app were panned, what’s the point of being able to pay on your mobile if you still have to wait for a waiter to bring you your bill? These days with wireless credit card terminals you don’t have to leave your seat to pay the traditional way and it’s the wait that’s the issue, not the ease of payment.
It would appear that most smartphone users only regularly use a handful of apps plus Google search. They’re unlikely to use a retailers app and if they do try it it’s likely to be soon discarded. Strangely it seems better not to waste your money on a retail mobile app, or possibly not even a retail mobile website, but instead to spend your marketing dollars on more profitable ways to attract custom.