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App reliability on Halloween could influence Cyber Monday sales: report

Web performance has been an issues on retailers’ radars for a while but, as shoppers get more comfortable shopping via mobile applications, it is becoming imperative for retailers to insure a good user experience here as well. Key findings in the Halloween Retail Readiness Index include that 80 percent of parents of children under 18 say app reliability is important as well as 87 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34.

“The majority of Americans – 62 percet – say that app reliability is of paramount importance to them – and that is not surprising,” said Peter Galvin, senior vice president of marketing at SOASTA. “With so much competition in the app store, if an app doesn’t work perfectly the first time, the user may decide to never try the app again and instead turn to the competition.

“In fact, our research shows that 91 percent of smartphone owners are likely to delete or uninstall their paid mobile apps if an app doesn’t work,” he said. “Retailers need to realize that thoroughly testing an app before it hits the market should be top of their agenda because they often only get one shot at an app launch to drive loyal customers.”

Holiday shopping
The findings from the report also point to the importance of holiday shopping experiences for mobile users, with 66 percent of Americans increasingly using Web sites or mobile apps to make purchases during the holidays.

The report found that 40 percent of Americans would avoid a store during Cyber Monday if they had a bad Web site or app experience during Halloween while 29 percent said a bad Web or app performance would remove a retailer from the top of their list for Cyber Monday shopping .

Only 11 percent  would wait to see what their friends would say about a retailer’s site or app before using it for Cyber Monday if there were problems during Halloween.

Overall, 62 percent of Americans say app reliability is important to them. Specifically, shoppers are looking for apps or sites that load quickly, do not crash, repond to clicks, swipes, taps and zooms and that are instantly responsive with no lag.

Of the Americans using Web sites and apps to shop during the holidays, Christmas ranked first with 59 percent, followed by Valentine’s Day with 9 percent, Halloween with 7 percent, Thanksgiving also with seven percent, New Year’s Eve with 4 percent and July 4with 3 percent.

Scaring up sales
The report also found that apps are playing a bigger role in Halloween, with 8 percent planning to use an app to track their children during trick-or-treating, 5 percent to find the best neighborhood to trick-or-treat and 15 percent using a Web site or app itself as inspiration for a  costume and dressing up as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Plants vs. Zombies.

The Halloween Retail Readiness Index survey was conducted online by the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of Soasta from Oct. 9-13 among 2,026 adults, ages 18 and older.

“Fifteen percent of Americans say they plan to use apps for inspiration for costumes this year,” Mr. Galvin said. “Recreating a costume from an app, which is a virtual object, shows not only the increased creativity of Americans, but also just how influential apps have become in American’s lives.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York