Heavy Shoppers Use Mobile Apps, Lighter Shoppers Use the Mobile Web

Consumers are 51 percent more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific websites. But some 65.2 percent of U.S. retailers that don’t have one, says Arc Worldwide. To complicate matters even more, heavy mobile shoppers tend to rely on mobile apps rather than websites.

Even though half of all mobile phone owners are mobile shoppers, they are not all equal. A very small group are actually driving the majority of mobile shopping. In fact, that group – dubbed “heavy mobile users”– generate ten times more shopping than “light users.” See Retail’s BIG Blog | Three tips for marketing to the mobile shopper

Heavy shoppers tend to do things like check store hours and address, use shopping apps weekly, and experiment with new mobile marketing technology in greater numbers and more frequently than other shoppers. They also skew younger, male and toward using the iPhone.

Light shoppers, by contrast, skew female and are more likely to use other devices such as Android and BlackBerry phones, according to an Arc Worldwide survey.

Not all categories are mobile-shopped to the same extent and in the same way. There are some activities, such as receiving coupons from Groupon, that mobile shoppers want from apparel retailers as well as restaurants and appliance retailers.

Price comparisons, on the other hand, aren’t as relevant if you are walking into a coffee shop. In those cases, earning loyalty rewards might  be much more important. As you might guess, bigger-ticket items are going to get more “price comparison” activity than low-cost items. See http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=144391&nid=123448

As for the debate about whether a mobile web or mobile app approach is “better,” the answer seems to be that both play a role. Apps offer a consistent experience and integrate with the Global Positioning System. But lighter users tend to use the mobile web, not mobile apps when shopping, says Arc Worldwide.

Light mobile shoppers rely more on mobile site, and even heavy mobile shoppers turn to them when an app crashes.

While the mobile web offers more creative flexibility and interaction than text messaging, it is built across generic code that cannot leverage  features such as GPS to provide turn-by-turn directions to the store.

Mobile apps bring the best shopping experience, both visually and functionally. Apps can tap into a phone’s features, such as the camera to scan a product’s SKU, and the web connection to locate the product’s price and availability, says William Rosen, Arc Worldwide North America president.

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