Are smartphone apps the magic bullet of marketing for retailers? According to a December 2011 ABI Research survey of U.S. consumers, it may be so. Survey respondents who said they had downloaded a retailer-branded app said the app caused them to visit the store more (45.8%), buy more of the store/brand’s products and services (40.4%), tell a friend about their store shopping experience (35.8%), and encourage friends to visit the store (30.8%).
“These are overwhelmingly positive numbers,” says senior analyst Mark Beccue. “They are so compelling that if retailers do not have a smartphone app strategy in place right now they are in danger of being left behind by their competitors.”
In a word of caution, only 25% of the respondents had downloaded a retailer-branded app. It is possible the high level of positive response is due to the profile of the respondents, who might be enthusiastic fans of particular stores. As the number of consumers who download retailer-branded apps go up, the level of positive response might go down. A second effect that probably won’t benefit retailer-branded apps – 37.9% of the respondents said downloading a retailer’s branded app caused them to download other retailer-branded apps.
Still, the numbers are compelling. “Clearly consumers are using retailer-branded apps as an engagement tool. Once a retailer can capture a consumer with one, there is a real opportunity to leverage smartphone apps to enhance customer service, deliver richer, more relevant product information in real time, shorten checkout lines, and more,” says Beccue. “We are at the dawn of a very dynamic and creative time for retail.”
ABI Research’s new survey, “Mobile Shopping and the Mobile Wallet,” tracks consumer behaviors surrounding the use of smartphones and retail.
It is part of ABI Research’s Technology Barometer™: Mobile Research Service.
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