Retail Apps Can Help Reduce Price-Comparison Shopping

Consumers typically like to price-compare across various retailers when looking for the best deals while shopping, but retail apps may prevent that behaviour. 

New survey data commissioned by UPS reveals that 46% of U.S. online consumers felt less likely to comparison shop once they’re absorbed in using a retailer’s mobile app than they would in other contexts. That’s good news for traditional retailers who are trying to fight off price slashing from online-only competitors like Amazon, and for all retailers who invest in mobile apps in an attempt to retain customers. 

Mobile’s share of overall e-commerce has already been growing steadily over the past couple of years. comScore data from the first quarter of 2013 showed that U.S. smartphone and tablet retail purchases totaled $5.9 billion. 

According to the same UPS survey, shopping satisfaction was better on a tablet than a standard computer. Shopping satisfaction on smartphones lagged behind the other two devices but was still relatively high at 66%, with room to grow. 

Other, less recent studies have also shown that shoppers are spending more time on retailers’ apps. Flurry, an analytics firm, reported that retailer apps absorbed 27% of consumers’ time spent on shopping apps in December 2012, more than daily deals apps and the apps of marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. 

There are a couple caveats to retailers dropping everything for mobile apps, though.

Comparison shopping and showrooming are still prevalent consumer behaviours. Developing and launching apps requires significant investments in time and resources

Finally, a great deal of retail shopping activity, perhaps even a majority, is still channeled primarily through the mobile Web, instead of mobile apps.

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