With our Digital Retail Transformation Assembly approaching, Digital Diary sat down with App Annie, one of the sponsors attending our event for an exclusive interview.
App Annie reveals the upcoming trends to look out for in the retail industry, and the ways technology is rapidly shaping this sector. Enjoy!
Consumers continue to favor mobile devices. How can retailers prepare for the reality of mobile-only consumers?
Retail is the quintessential example of an industry completely transformed by mobile and apps. In just two years, the total number of sessions on retail apps in the U.S. has increased by over 70%. And that rate, on average, is tame compared to the growth rate of other countries. Japan saw 100% growth in sessions over that same time period; Germany saw 130%, Spain saw 210%, for example. Further, digital-first retail apps saw more than 2x the average sessions per user each month compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores who have now gone mobile (otherwise known as ‘bricks-and-clicks’). Stores have been closing down across the country and this trend is expected to continue. It’s undeniable; mobile devices, and particularly mobile apps, have completely altered consumer thinking about how they shop.
If they haven’t already, retailers need to shift the majority of their digital investments to mobile and app and in many cases, are not spending enough on digital. If they are already there, they need to focus on acquiring, retaining and deepening customer loyalty by cultivating engagement (which results in more sessions per user) to increase their top line. Finally, deploying loyalty programs is also another key value for retailer apps that when done well drive customer engagement.
Data and Analytics can fuel marketing decisions. How can retail marketers better leverage this information to deliver more personalized and real-time experiences?
Data and analytics are at the heart of understanding your consumer. From user acquisition and app store optimization to building mobile partnerships and advertising, the ability to pull behavioral insights is key to developing a personalized and real-time experience that feels authentic.
Data and analytics are also key to having the optimal product design – understanding what features are truly speaking to your customers. Having the right features on your app is key to the user having a positive experience with your brand. Understanding the impact of new app features, design changes, the app’s integration with physical stores, etc. can be identified through the right data. Specifically, user ratings and reviews, increased sessions per user and changes in the time spent in the app can typically be correlated with changes in the app. Ultimately one needs to design their app to decrease friction and increase an enjoyable, shareable experience for your customers.
Technologies like AR or VR are predicted to cause a revolution in the app world. How is App Annie leveraging this technology and helping their customer to create immersive experiences?
AR has transformed the shopping experience, and we predict that AR capabilities will continue to improve and grow. The shopping experience becomes immersive and offers retailers an opportunity to create a viable alternative to an in-store shopping experience. Ultimately, AR is a technology that could help retailers better position their products to improve sell-through and possibly reduce returns and drive retention.
What trends are you keeping an eye on in 2018?
On top of AR, the other two trends I’m keeping an eye on are the rise of cryptocurrency and mobile payments. It is no question that cryptocurrency, and now particularly the cryptocurrency apps, are changing fintech. That said, there are so much hype and uncertainty in this market. On the mobile payments front, apps like Venmo have made mobile payments and transactions much more convenient; apps like Robinhood (who currently launched their cryptocurrency trading capabilities coincidentally) or Acorns are increasingly making stock trading and investments that much more digestible and consumer-friendly. It’s all about making it easier for consumers.
What advice do you have for C-Level executives looking to stay ahead of retail trends and technologies?
First and foremost, make sure you’re using the right data to inform your decisions – this is particularly important when applying data to marketing (customer acquisition and re-engagement), product development (designing an app customers love to engage with your brand through), partnerships (cross-promotion can materially move the needle on acquisition of new users).
Second, if your digital or mobile marketing team doesn’t know ASO (app store optimization) and you have an app–get that experience on your team! This drives organic search, which is central to driving user acquisition.
Third, customer service should leverage app reviews for insight into both the app and broader customer feedback. You can even see correlations of releases, changes, etc. on ratings, users, and sessions. Mobile, and particularly apps, are key differentiators to your business. Apps deliver a better user experience than mobile web and reduce friction, especially for your more loyal customers who engage with your brand often.
A final thought on apps, consumers spend on average 50 minutes a month in Shopping apps in the U.S. alone, and an average of 3 hours a day on apps overall. If you’re not spending on mobile, you’re missing a huge opportunity to engage with your customers.
What are the benefits of attending an intimate C-Level event like ours?
I love the opportunity to hear from leaders in the space to understand their challenges, strategies, and goals. I like to know what technologies and strategies are working for them and why. Your event offers an intimate space where we can learn from like-minded industry changers from a wide range of experience and backgrounds. I enjoy the rich and engaging environment to knowledge-share–I’m happy to be here.
You can meet App Annie at our upcoming Digital Retail Transformation Assembly to be introduced to more industry insights and esteemed professionals.
ABOUT DIGITAL RETAIL TRANSFORMATION ASSEMBLY
C-Level experts from across North America’s retail industry are coming together February 15-16, 2018 at The Park Hyatt Aviara in San Diego, CA to anticipate the highly complex digital environment that will develop over the next few years.
Retailers are uniquely positioned to leverage new digital technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and more to deliver enhanced, personalized customer experiences.
Through a cutting-edge program designed by the industry, for the industry, we will provide a fresh and up-to-date insight to help move your organization to the next level of digital leadership. A series of executive education roundtables, keynote presentations, collaborative think tanks, educational workshops, and networking sessions will offer industry-specific topics and trends to ensure your company sustains its competitive advantage.
This is not just another “Retail” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. Enquire about attendance here!