Rise of mobile retail apps gives boom to m-commerce in India: Criteo Study

With surging internet penetration, mobile retail and shopping apps are becoming a new-age trend in the Indian retail market. According to a recent survey commissioned by Criteo and conducted with Retail Week Connect, about 74 per cent of Indian respondents have installed 2-5 retail and shopping apps on their smartphones. 

The ‘App Commerce Goes Big in Asia-Pacific’ study reveals that many shoppers are now becoming more confident to shop using mobile phones, thanks to the new era of online payments, easy return policies, cash on delivery option, and free trial services being offered by leading retail brands. A majority (80 per cent) of the shoppers responded that they feel as comfortable and secure using mobile for online shopping as they do while using desktop/ laptops. 

Also, mobile is no longer being used for purchasing only low-value items. Fashion (88 per cent), electronics (78 per cent) and health & beauty (54 per cent) are leading categories in India, encouraging about half of the respondents to purchase products/ services 2-5 times a month. 

In the last three months, approximately 34 per cent of Indian shoppers have clicked on an advertisement appearing in an app and purchased via their smartphone. The increasing use of smartphones is creating a great opportunity for brands to invest in mobile app optimisation and build a targeted marketing strategy to enhance mobile shopper engagement, leading to increased sales. 

Expressing his views on the growing trend, Siddharth Dabhade, General Manager, Criteo India, said, “In this cluttered retail market, brands need scale and personalisation to compete on an equal footing with their competitors. To do so, they must tap into an open commerce marketing ecosystem and use technology and data analytics to help shoppers find products of their choice and need. Criteo’s technology allows brands to engage with shoppers, creating relevant experiences on both retail apps and third-party platforms, thereby directly driving sales and profits.” 

The Real Impact of Retail and Shopping App Experience 

Mobile apps are becoming a crucial touchpoint for a shopper’s journey. In fact, it has become a must-have for majority of millennials in India using smartphones. From ordering food and buying groceries, to booking a cab, about 94 per cent of smartphone users in India have discovered, searched for and purchasedan item using a retail and shopping app. 

A significant 75 per cent of the respondents believe that a bad retail and shopping app experience negatively impacts a brand’s perception. Conversely, about 98 per cent said that a good app experience positively influences their opinionof a brand. Given that the effect of a good experience is stronger than that of a bad one, this underlines the importance of investing in customer experience and ensuring that an app meets the shoppers’ expectations. 

Key factors and features that ensure a retail and shopping app meets expectations 

Convenience: Over 40 per cent of Indian respondents indicated convenience as their key driver for installing an app. This is followed by incentives and special promotions or offers, with 31 per cent respondents voting it as a key driver. 16 per cent said that personalised product recommendations influenced them to revisit and reuse a retail and shopping app. Retailers should ensure that their apps are as engaging and enjoyable to use as any news, social or gaming app. Gaining consumer attention should be the top priority for retailers. 

Range and availability of products: The ease of accessing mobile apps anytime and anywhere gives consumers the opportunity to browse thousands of products, as per their choice and price preference – over 38 per cent of respondents confirmed that availability of a wide range of products is what they valued most in a retail and shopping app. 

Flexible payment options: About 15 per cent of Indian respondents highlighted that unavailability of the cash-on-delivery option is the biggest barrier for them to use a retail and shopping app. Hence, availability of flexible payment options like online banking, mobile wallets and cash-on-delivery will encouragemore consumers to use mobile apps to purchase products/ services. 

Customer Service: Nearly 85 per cent of Indian respondents highlighted that being able to contact a customer service representative through an app is important for them. While another 70 per cent indicated that the option to chat with a customer service representative in real-time via an in-app messaging function would be ideal. 

Data Security Key to Building Trust in Brands 

About 22 per cent of Indian respondents do not feel comfortable submitting their personal and financial data on retail and shopping apps. Apps must, therefore, be developed and marketed as trusted platforms for online shoppers – by having brands prioritise shopper privacy and data protection.

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