In an era where consumers are forsaking the lines in stores for stores online, mobile apps have emerged as an important tool for retailers to engage with shoppers on a one-to-one-level.
In fact, a recent SundaySky survey confirms the mobile preferences and behaviors of the modern shopper, with all 226 participants listing at least one retail mobile app downloaded. Of those consumers, half have one or two retail apps on their phone, while the rest have three or more retail apps. Additionally, app usage is consistently high, with 52 percent of respondents using retail apps weekly, 27 percent using them daily, and all respondents using at least one retail app at any time.
The study reveals the growing importance of millennial consumers — digital natives who are among the most proficient users and purchasers of retail mobile apps such as Amazon.com. Just over 60 percent of millennial respondents in the survey identified themselves as mobile savvy, more than three times the amount of respondents from previous generations. So, what’s this all mean?
Brands must focus on mobile-first strategies in order to keep up with the modern consumer. Shoppers not only make time and space on their mobile phones for the apps of their favorite retailers, but also regularly interact and engage with these apps. Therefore, retailers that aren’t making their mobile app experience a priority are missing out on an opportunity to personalize content for the mobile shopper.
Emotions of consumers are the gateway to personalization. Respondents said they're most comfortable with a mobile app that allows them to take control of their shopping experience. Current in-app behaviors of respondents include browsing and buying items, viewing and redeeming offers and rewards, tracking orders, and finding store locations. However, when asked to request future features, participants suggested a stronger degree of personalization. Some of the requested in-app behaviors address their individual purchasing habits and desires, like targeted, relevant products; notifications for price changes and offers; better order tracking; and virtual fitting rooms.
In seeking a connection to consumers’ needs and desires, retailers that personalize the mobile app experience are one step closer to inspiring lifelong customer loyalty. A total of 42 percent of shoppers said they would “love” personalized content in a retail mobile app, while only 18 percent said they would not like it. Although these numbers leave 40 percent of shoppers as indifferent, when combined with the percentage of enthusiastic respondents, an astounding 82 percent of the mobile retail audience falls into the zone of possibility for personalized content.
The results of the survey prove that the retail industry must make more of a commitment to personalization in mobile apps if brands want to establish and maintain relationships with on-the-go consumers. Retail is a vertical ripe for in-app personalized video, but the technology must be introduced gradually. While younger consumers are more readily amenable to some degree of personalization, older generations aren't necessarily against it. Irrespective of age, the trend for mobile shoppers is toward innovative, personalized retail experiences on their phones that seamlessly mimic the act of physically shopping in-store.
Although many brands are still learning how to embrace mobile apps and connect with consumers, it’s essential for them to get personal or risk getting ignored in an increasingly competitive and fragmented retail marketplace.
Jim Dicso is CEO of SundaySky, a provider of personalized video solutions that combine the emotion of sight, sound and motion for storytelling in the digital age.
Jim Dicso is CEO of SundaySky, a provider of personalized video solutions that combine the emotion of sight, sound and motion for storytelling in the digital age. He has more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions within the SaaS industry. Prior to SundaySky, Jim was executive vice president of sales and services at LivePerson. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University.