While mobile shopping is booming with tablet users leading the way, most users actually dislike branded apps and prefer regular web browsing. Brands and retailers should therefore acknowledge user preferences in their M-commerce strategy and integrate shopping apps as a part of a broader online shopping experience.

Mobile Shopping: Apps Need to Be Integrated into Customers' Lifecycle

While mobile shopping is on the rise, retailers and brands still need to develop thoughtful mobile commerce strategies by taking into account shoppers’ preferences and usage of their device. As a Zmag study points out, tablet and smartphone users prefer web browsing to branded apps for online shopping. In other words, the fact that users increasingly use their mobile device to shop doesn’t necessarily mean they use mobile apps. The survey conducted among 1,500 smartphone and tablet owners shows that only 4% of respondents declared native apps as their favorite platform, making a dent into retailers’ mobile strategy. Consumer electronics is the most shopped for category on smartphones and tablets with respectively 35% and 53% of their owners showing a strong interest for M-commerce when it comes to acquiring technologic devices.

Apps are part of a larger online shopping lifecycle

The Zmag study suggests the necessity for brands and retailers to rethink their mobile app strategy, take into account consumers’ shopping preferences and fit their branded apps into their lifecycle. Even though consumers do not solicit mobile apps in their shopping process, there is still room for brands to offer a rich and augmented experience, by subtly integrating branded apps into the global shopping experience of consumers. In other words, branded apps are probably not to replace other online shopping methods. But brands can probably increase user adoption of branded apps by integrating those apps into multi-platform shopping experiences.

M-commerce is on the rise, driven by tablets adoption

Despite the rather low usage of branded apps during the purchasing process, M-commerce is on the rise, and it is mostly driven by tablet owners: 87% of them considered using their tablet for the 2011 holiday shopping season, and 49% declare they will shop more on internet using their mobile device in 2012. Zmag thus underlines the need for retailers to shape a tailor made solution for tablet owners, as tablet adoptionwill keep increasing in the next few years. 

By Jérôme Rastoldo