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Back in the early days of mobile commerce there was frequent debate over whether businesses should opt for a mobile site or a mobile app.

Fortunately most businesses and marketers now realise that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and that the two platforms aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

However we do occasionally still see businesses launching apps without properly considering the functionality that will be most appealing and useful to their customers.

Data from our new Mobile Commerce Compendium shows that, more than anything else, consumers want to be rewarded with exclusive offers if they download a retail app, with 38% of respondents selecting this as an important feature for smartphone apps.

The ability to make a purchase in-app (32%) and a loyalty scheme (30%) were also considered to be key features, followed by a store locator tool (26%) and a reserve-and-collect function (21%).

In your opinion, what are the two most important features that smartphone retail apps should offer?

What functionality should you offer?

The lure of exclusive offers is clearly very appealing to consumers, however very few major ecommerce retailers actually use this tactic.

Offering an exclusive deal might be a good way of initially encouraging people to download an app, but the likes of Amazon and eBay would probably harm their businesses in the long term if they were seen to be giving mobile customers preferential treatment.

Personally I think that mobile apps are the perfect platform for customer loyalty schemes as they give customers a convenient way to collect and redeem points.

B&Q recently launched a new loyalty app that is a great example of how businesses can drive footfall and encourage purchases through mobile, despite the app’s limited functionality.

Barcode scanners are also a useful tool for customers and could become more important as ‘showrooming’ becomes more common.

The survey found that a majority of smartphone owners (57%) now use their device to search for information while out shopping, with 63% of this number saying they compared prices with another retailer.

Barcode scanners make this process incredibly simple as shoppers can compare prices in seconds, so online retailers could potentially benefit from offering this functionality within their mobile app.

This is backed up by the fact that a quarter (25%) of smartphone owners have scanned a QR code in-store.  

The data comes from a Toluna survey of 1,000 UK consumers, the full results of which are included in our new Mobile Commerce Compendium.

This 125 page guide contains tips and advice on how mobile can be used in-store and as part of a broader multichannel strategy, as well as mobile commerce and mobile search.

David Moth

Published 8 July, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1674 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

Mike Hann

Mike Hann, Director at Poq Studio

Great post, David.

We ran similar research with fashion consumers and had much of the same findings.

Here's hoping we wave goodbye to gimmicky apps!

almost 3 years ago

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