Nearly 75 percent of smartphone owners are using their device as part of their overall shopping experience, according to the Connected Intelligence Shopping on Smartphones a survey of 1,500 smartphone users in the United States from IT research firm The NPD Group.
Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of smartphone users are using retailer Websites such as BestBuy, Amazon and Target, but only 57 percent of consumers are accessing those retailers’ applications to enhance their shopping experience.
According to the report, just three months after downloading a retailer’s app on their phones, 75 percent of consumers don’t even use it once a month, suggesting a large part of consumers’ shopping experience is being played on out on retailers’ Websites rather than on their store-specific apps.
"Apps need to become a more seamless component of the consumer’s day-to-day shopping experience if retailers want to remain top of mind and relevant to consumers once they leave the physical store," Eddie Hold, vice president of Connected Intelligence, said in a statement. "Right now, engagement is low, meaning the app is clearly an experiment that is quickly dropped by most consumers."
The report also revealed a large majority of application usage, and Website use as well, is occurring in consumers’ homes, with just one-third of shoppers accessing and utilizing the retailer apps in the physical stores.
"The fact that nearly 94 percent of consumers are shopping on their phones from home rather than in-store suggests that engagement on their smartphone is more of an alternative for online shopping rather than a showrooming tool," Hold continued. "Key functionality such as store product location, integrated shopping lists and even scan-and-go will help drive the experience further and on a more consistent basis."
While smartphone apps from retail outlets may be running behind Websites when it comes to consumer preferences, a recent study by customer service specialist LivePerson found nearly half (49 percent) of the 6,000 consumers it surveyed across the globe continue to find Websites difficult to navigate, with 33 percent struggling to seek help or locate customer service.
Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of consumers stated speed and efficiency was the No. 1 factor in creating a great online experience, and 72 percent of consumers cite immediacy as crucial when communicating with a brand when they have a question or need assistance. The majority (56 percent) of respondents indicated they would return as a customer if a brand saved them time online.