retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journalhas a story about how "shopping on a small screen used to be a pain. But as consumers spend more of their days glued to smartphones, retailers are getting savvier with apps that ease browsing, offer rewards, suggest the right products and simplify the purchase to one click ... The retailers that are succeeding are training customers to think of their smartphones like an all-day impulse aisle. Apps are able to capture data available on handsets and push consumers to buy when they have a spare moment." And, "the average U.S. consumer last year spent 3 hours and 5 minutes a day using apps, compared with 51 minutes surfing the mobile Web, according to eMarketer."

The story points out that "mobile sales are booming, especially compared with sales gains from desktop computers. Last year, U.S. sales from mobile devices jumped 56% to $49.2 billion, doubling the previous year’s growth, according to comScore. Desktop sales still dwarf mobile, reaching $256.1 billion last year, but annual growth slowed to 8.1% from 12.5%."
KC's View:
One of the things that the research shows is that people who shop an apps tend to make more individual purchases rather than building a shopping cart, and that they are still less likely to make major purchases via an app. This can be tough on a retailer's bottom line because of shipping costs, but the long term prospects could be pretty rosy because habits are being ingrained that can evolve into a relationship with the shopper. If an app can turn a retailer into a consistent go-to option for a shopper, that's a major, potentially game-changing win.