The No. 1 Reason People Use Mobile Shopping Apps Is Actually Very Old-Fashioned

Retailers may be testing dozens of innovative ways to make their mobile apps more enticing to consumers, but it appears a good old-fashioned deal still reigns supreme.

A new study by B2B research firm Clutch found that roughly two-thirds of shoppers (65%) primarily use mobile e-commerce apps to receive deals and offers exclusive to the app. In other words, many consumers are in it for the discounts.

Meanwhile, more than half of the people surveyed said they use e-commerce apps to compare products and prices (54%) — another solid indication shoppers are seeking price transparency and a good deal when they use mobile commerce.

Still, the researchers suggest retailers would be wise to continue their investments in improving and optimizing their mobile apps since — as much as consumers love them — heavy promotions aren’t often a sustainable business strategy. What’s more, discounts and coupons may encourage consumers to download an app at first; however, it can’t promise they’ll continue to use it or that they won’t constantly expect similar promotions.

“What happens when the [in-app] experience isn’t great?” said Alex Levin, founding partner of Levin & Riegner. “Or when your prices still aren’t beating everybody else’s? Or real estate prices go up, and you actually can’t offer [that deal] anymore and you’re no longer making money?”

The study, which surveyed more than 500 consumers about how they use mobile e-commerce apps in 2019, indicated that many shoppers also find apps useful for other things like helping them have purchasing flexibility (54%); save time at the store (47%); avoid going to the store (44%); and see a larger selection of inventory (41%).

The results could prove insightful for retailers, many of which are pulling out all the stops to get their hands on a slice of the burgeoning mobile commerce pie. The channel now accounts for more than half of e-commerce sales, according to market research agency eMarketer, and that share could rise to nearly three-quarters (72.9%) by 2021.

The debate on how much of a factor price will continue to play in consumers’ purchasing decisions, meanwhile, is likely to rage on for some time. Another study, released by retail technology platform First Insight last June, found that quality was becoming more important than price to most consumers. The study — which surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. — revealed that 53% of respondents rate quality as the most important factor when making purchases, compared with price (38%). Conversely, a later First Insight study — released in November — indicated consumers still rate low price as a more significant factor for them than retail executives may realize.

The researchers surveyed consumers and senior retail executives about consumer shopping habits and purchase behavior and found both groups (about 50% in each segment) named quality as the most important factor in purchase decisions. At the same time, however, nearly 40% of consumers felt low pricing ranked as most important, compared with just 20% of senior retail executives.

Check out Something Navy’s Arielle Charnas as she talks footwear and being an influencer.

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