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Branded shopping apps drive unplanned purchases: report

A new report from Ryan Partnership found that 21 percent of shoppers make more unplanned purchases because of shopping apps, making it a strong driver of incremental sales.

The report, “A Tectonic Shift  in Shopping Behavior: Ryan Digital Retail Study 2012,” found that two digital tools show the most promise for influencing shopping behavior – shopping apps and social media updates. The shift to digital tools is the most important change in shopper behavior that marketers need to recognize and act on immediately, with the momentum toward mobile technologies and in-store use, per the report.

“Ryan’s proprietary Shopper Impact Score reveals that shopping apps and social media updates from both retailers and brands provide higher shopper utility and have a stronger impact on buying behavior than other, better established tools,” the report said.

“We expect to see a major focus on innovation and consolidation in the area of mobile shopping apps in the coming year, including data integration to make the apps more personally relevant and even easier to access.”

Mobile influences
Ryan Partnership, Wilton, CT, found that 18 percent of respondents have used mobile coupons in 2012, up from 5 percent in a previous report from 18 months ago, and 16 percent have used retailer texts, up from 5 percent. Additionally, the findings show that 15 percent have used shopping apps, 14 percent bar code reader apps and 8 percent QR codes.

Mobile tools saw the greatest percentage increase in usage between the two reports.

The 2012 report is based on an online survey of 8,000 household shoppers asking about their usage of various digital retail tools.

Using its proprietary Digital Retail Impact Score, Ryan measured various digital tools to find which ones are the best for reaching and influencing shoppers. The results show that the impact on shopping behavior of mobile and social tools far outweighs their still relatively low penetration levels among shoppers.

For example, the impact score for mobile coupons is 27 percent even though their penetration is 18 percent. Similarly, retailer texts have an impact score of 30 percent and a penetration of 16 percent, shopping apps have an impact score of 34 percent compared to a penetration level of 15 percent and QR codes have an impact score of 16 percent compared to 10 percent penetration.

Unplanned purchases
The report found that 21 percent of respondents say they make more unplanned purchases because of shopping apps, 20 percent do the same because of retailer texts and 22 percent for retailer social media. These were the highest scoring tools in terms of encouraging shoppers to make more unplanned purchases.

These three tools were also the highest scorers when it comes to encouraging shoppers to spend more.

The high scorers for encouraging shoppers to try new products were retailer social media – with 36 percent of respondents agreeing; shopping apps – 32 percent, and brand social media – 32 percent.

In terms of the impact on the choice of retailer, 44 percent agreed that retailer social media influenced their choice; 42 percent agreed products reviews had an influence and 40 percent agreed shopping apps did.

The report also found that 64 percent of respondents have used store Web sites, 61 percent downloadable coupons, 59 percent search engines, 53 percent retailer emails, 37 percent daily deal sites. The impact score for these tools is often on close to their penetration levels, except for retailer emails, which have an impact score of 77 percent and daily deals sites, which have an impact score of 63 percent.

“Shopping apps and social media updates – whether from brands or retailers – have all the hallmarks of shopping tools poised to radically change the way consumers shop,” the report said. “These tools have a track record of growing adoption, high satisfaction among shoppers, and a powerful impact on driving incremental sales.”

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