Discounts, loyalty rewards, personalisation and augmented reality (AR) are some of the features users increasingly want from retail apps, according to research company Clutch.
In a survey of 505 US e-commerce app users, 54 per cent said they would use AR features.
“Augmented reality is in a really exciting place right now…It’s a great way to show how the mobile experience can literally exist in real life and help drive confidence to the user that the purchase they are making is a sound one,” said Dan Healy, COO at Prolific Interactive, a mobile-focused product agency.
Personalisation is also key as it keeps users engaged and encourages them to make a purchase.
“An app that provides a high level of personalisation and experience makes your users much happier and more satisfied,” said Healy: “It tends to drive higher return from your most loyal users.”
App personalisation also means offering discounts and product recommendations tailored to each user.
The report quoted Nik Sanghvi, head of US sales and business development at Robosoft Technologies, who said: “More and more users want to see offerings relating to themselves.”
“For example, I am a vegetarian and don’t want to see meat products recommended on my app.”
Many e-commerce apps give shoppers tailored content and many offer recommendations for products based on what they have already bought. The survey revealed 85 per cent of responders want discounts on products similar to past purchases and 70 per cent want product recommendations.
Apps become better at recommending products and services the more a customer makes purchases.
“I think one thing we’ll see going forward is apps will continue to get smarter,” Healy said, adding: “If companies get smart to the point that they can create a personalised experience and are learning about the users, that’s how you drive real loyalty.
According to McKinsey, 35 per cent of what consumers purchase on Amazon came from product recommendations based on algorithms and predictive models which analyse transaction data and digital media trends.
Personalisation also comes in the from of tailored in-store experiences.
For example, on the Macy’s app, customers can scan bar codes of an item to check prices, read reviews, and see different colour and size options. They also receive deal alerts when in a store.
“Creating a connection between the in-store and mobile app experience is important for audience engagement”, according to Daniel Saad, VP of engineering at Dom & Tom, a product design agency.
“It creates a stronger connection, especially if we can take advantage of engaging people on-location.”
It is also important for customers to be able to share product details with contacts. Some 41 per cent of respondents said they would like to integrate retail apps with social media accounts, which also enables them to have a more personal experience.
Noting that in 2014, mobile commerce made up almost 12 per cent of the US e-commerce total, with the number expected to grow to 45 per cent by 2020, the Clutch study said creating an app with these features: “helps companies of all sizes keep up with modern technology and consumers’ attachment to mobile phones”.