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Dinosaur skeleton

Retail apps must respond to responsive or die

15th February 2017 • Notebook

Responsive web design and a lack of innovation are pushing the mobile retail app towards extinction, two new reports suggest.

Episerver’s new State of Digital Commerce finds that almost one-third (32%) of the UK’s top retailers don’t offer a shopping app, although 80% have a responsive ecommerce site.

As the UK’s smartphone adoption marches relentlessly onwards, it is clear that mobile commerce is of huge importance to retailers. However, as consumers grow accustomed to managing their lives through a mobile browser, it seems brands that stick by their apps are going to have to raise their game.

As David Bowen, head of product for Episerver, said: “The idea of manually installing and launching a different app for each brand experience seems like an unnecessary hassle.”

What is the solution then, if one exists, to stop retail apps going the way of the dinosaurs? A second report, from developer Apadmi, suggests a more innovative approach is required.

Apadmi found that 30% of respondents want a more personalised shopping experience from apps. Those surveyed said they would be more likely to download a retail app if it featured technology that helped them make a buying decision, or let them preview products before purchase.

Chatbots, digital assistants and augmented reality (AR) sat at the top of consumers’ wish lists. Nearly one in three (29%) said they would use AR to see how to use a product before they bought it, while a quarter would use AR to preview product customisations, such as different colours or designs.

“Augmented reality and artificial intelligence are reshaping the shopping experience and how consumers can interact with brands,” said Nick Black, CEO of Apadmi. “The possibility of a more personalised shopping experience and a chance to ‘try before you buy’ excites customers and, as our research suggests, those retailers that invest in these technologies are likely to put themselves ahead of the competition.”

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