- About two-thirds of shoppers (65%) use mobile e-commerce apps to get deals and offers exclusive to the app, according to a study by reviews and ratings firm Clutch. Other top reasons for using e-commerce apps included product and price comparisons (54%), purchasing flexibility (54%), saving time at the store (47%), avoiding stores (44%) and seeing more inventory (41%).
- Fewer than half (42%) of e-commerce app users said they most often use a pure online retailer's app. Still, online retailers were more popular than the e-commerce apps from mass-merchant retailers, which were used by 28% of consumers. Less popular e-commerce apps included restaurants, convenience stores and apparel apps.
- The most popular activities on pure online retail apps are making purchases (90%), checking prices (88%), reviewing products (63%), checking product availability (63%), getting recommendations (34%) and sharing items with friends (18%).
While discounts and deals provide the most incentives for consumers to use e-commerce apps, Clutch warns retailers against engaging in price wars to compete with online retailers like Amazon or Overstock, as shoppers will likely abandon apps after discounts disappear. Developing e-commerce apps that are easy to browse and offer the "thrill of the find" is a more sustainable strategy for retailers, according to Clutch. The firm cited fast-fashion retailer Forever 21's app as an example of an app that lets shoppers window shop stylish photos and quickly discover new products.
Apps need to be adapted to the type of business, meaning restaurants, for example, must have a different focus than retailer apps. While 34% of e-commerce app users seek product recommendations in an app, only 9% of restaurant app users are looking for in-app recommendations, Clutch's data show. That difference indicates that restaurant apps should focus more on popular features like mobile ordering, which is used by 79% of restaurant app users. That's ahead of other activities for restaurant apps such as viewing the menu (75%), checking pricing (51%), reserving items for pickup (43%) and reviewing items (28%).
While Clutch's survey focuses on in-app activities, other research shows that mobile users are mostly "appnostic." That means they don't have a particular app in mind when they unlock their smartphone, giving mobile carriers an opportunity to get their attention with snackable mobile content, per a survey by researcher Phoenix Marketing and mobile ad firm Mobile Posse.