Many consumers looking for a shopping app in an app store know precisely what they want: Amazon.com, Walmart, Best Buy, Dollar Shave Club, PacSun, etc. They type in the name of a favorite retailer, get the app, and they’re done.
But what about consumers who are browsing the app stores for shopping apps, who don’t have specific retailers in mind? What are they thinking? What are they looking for?
On July 31, top search terms in the Catalog category of Apple Inc.’s App Store included “daily deals,” “weekly ads” and “barcode scanning,” and on the same day, the top 10 trending Lifestyle iPhone apps (determined by App Store clicks and download volume) included eight retail apps: Amazon.com (1), eBay (2), Groupon (4), Wish (5), RetailMeNot (6), Apple Store (7), Walmart (8) and Cartwheel by Target (9), according to an analysis by Gummicube Inc. Gummicube is a mobile big data and app analytics firm that aims to help businesses understand what consumers are searching for in the Apple and Android app stores to better position apps for organic search success and develop apps that have features consumers want, explains Dave Bell, CEO and founder of Gummicube Inc.
“Based on search trends and estimated keyword volume in the app stores, queries with consistently meaningful volume in the past twelve months included the terms ‘coupon’ and ‘deals,’” Bell says. “In retail, it is important for retailers to understand the use cases for retail apps based on unique search behavior within mobile. Search provides a ‘gateway’ for users to interact with an app, which then pulls them into m-commerce.”
Currently, Apple mobile device users are looking for apps that can help them locate great deals and prices ("deals" and "coupons") and specific products ("barcode scanning"), Bell says.
“These are the kinds of gateway features that initially bring app users into the Lifestyle and Catalog categories,” he says. “This search behavior demonstrates that mobile is as much a way to drive m-commerce as it is to drive foot traffic into bricks-and-mortar stores. Overall, consumers are looking for different functional hooks in mobile apps than they would in other digital venues, and retailers must adapt their approaches to cater to these desires and lead in m-commerce.”
When launching an app, retailers must consider features that drive discovery in app stores as well as native commerce functionality, Bell says.
"Mobile is very different from the web in terms of trends, popularity and features that drive engagement," he says. "Mobile coupons, barcode scanning, daily deals and weekly ads all are inherent to the mobile experience because accessing them on a mobile device is more convenient and on-demand. They also are things that tend to be in decline or non-existent on the web as mobile becomes the primary Internet access platform for consumers."
Mobile clearly is the most important digital platform for retailers because consumers are moving away from the desktop; for example, comScore Inc. shows about two-thirds of time spent with digital retail occurs on mobile devices, Bell says. “This is not only an issue of e-commerce transitioning to mobile commerce," he adds, "but one of a fundamental shift by consumers away from the desktop."
Follow Bill Siwicki on Twitter at @MobileSiwicki.