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Mobile customers want retail-based apps, study shows

August 3, 2013

Business owners are always looking for ways to connect to their consumers, and with smartphones, it looks like consumers are looking for new ways to connect to businesses.

Business owners are always looking for ways to connect to their consumers, and with smartphones, it looks like consumers are looking for new ways to connect to businesses.

More than half of mobile phone users worldwide have engaged with an application connected to a brand, product, or retailer – and doing so makes them more likely to use mobile credit card terminals to purchase items through these services, according to studies released by Ipsos OTX. Of those who used branded apps, over 50 percent claimed that the experience had made them more likely to buy a service or product from the related business. 

If managers are thinking that the results are simply a matter of consumers searching for discounts and bargains, think again: 43 percent of respondents claimed that they use branded mobile applications to keep track of and informed by their favorite retailers. That represented the biggest percentage for reasons that smartphone users look at mobile apps. Discounts and coupons did earn a second place finish, with the convenient use factor clocking in at third, and the availability of helpful shopping tools recorded at fourth. 

However, it still seems that social media is king for retailers aiming to forge a direct connection between themselves and their consumers. The study found that 55 percent of respondents would prefer to follow their favorite brand via a social media account, as opposed to the 45 percent who selected the app.

The report added that, given the potential conversion rate, there is a large incentive for any companies contemplating future investments in mobile applications. 

Moving into a digital world
Other recent studies backed up the findings, showing that consumers are relying on smartphone shopping and credit card mobile processing to extents which they never had before. 

A study from eMarketer found that Americans now spend more time online than they do watching television. The respondents claimed they spend an average of over five hours online every single day, compared to approximately four and one-half hours spent watching television. 

In addition, the study found that adults spend an average of over two hours every day on their smartphones – for activities other than speaking on the phone. This illustrates the claim the consumer base of customers shopping around on their phones only continues to expand. The firm identified mobile as the “most significant growth area” recorded during their study. 

While the extent to which consumers will shop through our phones in the future remains unclear, it’s likely that any business owner looking to compete in the coming years will need to employ online merchant accounts.

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