What Aussies really want from shopping apps

Australia is an increasingly mobile-savvy nation of online shoppers and browsers. Not only do we love perusing electronics and fashion online, but according to our new research, we really enjoy doing so on the go. With a growing number of Australians turning to shopping apps in the lead up to the busy seasonal period, the data highlights where retailers should be focusing their attentions – and suggests they only get one chance to get it right.

Keep it simple

Usability needs to be front of mind when developing a retail app. According to the research, more than 85 per cent of Aussies have at least one retail or shopping app installed on their phone. Half will also purchase more than two products a month via the technology. But a download doesn’t always mean much; a third of users (31 per cent) will delete or stop using the app if it’s too complicated or not easy enough to use.

Ultimately, users are looking for a shopping experience that is less complicated than browsing the retail website, while still accessing a wide range of available products. Simplicity is the key, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for low functionality. Shopping apps should be engaging, wide-ranging, and offer the level of support and detail that users have come to expect through other platforms.

Quality stands out

While it’s crucial to have a mobile strategy in place, there’s no benefit to either the business or the consumer in rushing a poorly developed app into the market. According to our data, the functionality of the app can have a long-lasting effect on the reputation of the retailer, with 70 per cent of shopping app users indicating that they are likely to change their opinion of a retailer if they have a negative app experience.

It’s a significant amount of pressure to put on one platform but thankfully there is a flip side — the data also revealed that the effect of a positive app experience can significantly outweigh the effect of a negative experience. With an increasing number of retail and shopping apps available to Australian consumers, but with a limited amount of space available on every device, the competition is fierce. The focus for retailers should be delivering a high-quality experience.

Know your audience

To remain competitive, businesses must know who their audience is and develop an online and mobile strategy tailored to their specific needs. Across the Asia Pacific region, there has been triple digit growth in internet use in recent years, with an increasing number of Australians using smartphones as their primary means of internet access.

With convenience at the forefront, more and more shoppers are completing purchases using devices they have to hand 24 hours a day. According to the data, 69 per cent of Australian consumers use retail apps from the comfort of their own home, with two-thirds of Australians finding it more enjoyable to use a shopping app, rather than a mobile website.

If businesses are to thrive in this constantly evolving, mobile-first world, they need to understand the importance of a mobile strategy that places the needs of smartphone users at the forefront.

Essentially the most important aspect of developing a retail or shopping app is to add value. We are on the cusp of the busiest seasonal period of the year for retailers, and it’s crucial that businesses understand what is needed to stand out in the highly competitive retail app space. Brands that realise the value of providing relevant and personalised experiences will ultimately connect with shoppers on a higher level and compete more effectively where it counts most.

Pressy Sankaran, Commercial Director – ANZ, Criteo