Tap and Go: How to Strategize for Mobile-Shopping Success

Man using his phone to shop online

Smartphones have transformed how customers shop and interact with their favorite brands. The allure of mobile shopping hinges on unmatched convenience and efficiency, where every transaction is just a few taps away, no matter your location.

In April 2024, we surveyed 1,000 shoppers to better understand the whys behind the dramatic rise of mobile ecommerce — or mcommerce — and what it means for retailers looking to stay ahead of the competition. Let’s dive into some of the mcommerce trends we identified.

What’s causing mobile ecommerce growth?

A recent report projected mobile retail ecommerce sales would exceed $710 billion in 2025, up from $510 billion in 2023.

Our survey confirmed the rise of mobile shopping. We asked respondents to gauge whether they thought they had spent more time mobile shopping in the past year compared to last year. Over half (52%) reported using their mobile devices more often for shopping year-over-year.

So, what’s causing shoppers to increase their mobile buying habits? Our survey data suggests it’s a combination of next-level convenience and the increasing prevalence of retail apps.

Mobile = Convenience 

When we asked shoppers why they used their mobile devices to shop online, we got many responses, but there was a common denominator: convenience. Shoppers like that mobile simplifies the shopping experience and saves them time.

Mobile devices give customers one easy access point to gather information, compare prices, track orders, and research products before purchasing. We also discovered that 70% of shoppers spend up to five hours per week researching and shopping products on their mobile devices. This number was even higher for younger shoppers.

Age Plays a Role

Shoppers under 29 were significantly more likely to say they increased their mobile shopping year-over-year

We also found that, on average, 42% of shoppers purchased more than half of their orders on a mobile device. Unsurprisingly, the numbers were even higher for shoppers 39 and under.

Another factor more popular among younger shoppers? A willingness to embrace mobile retail apps.

Retailer Apps

Dedicated mobile commerce apps are becoming more popular by the year. Between 2018 and 2021, time spent on retail apps more than doubled from 48.7 billion hours globally to over 100 billion hours.

Our survey confirmed that retail apps play a big role in consumer mobile shopping behavior. We found:

  • 67% of mobile users have two to five retail store apps installed on their smartphones.
  • 43% of mobile shoppers place app orders at least once a week.
  • Younger shoppers are more likely to shop via retail apps: 28% of shoppers 65 and older said they had no interest in downloading retail apps, compared to only 3% for those 18-39.

Shoppers were more likely to download apps when they purchased a lot from that particular retailer (49%) or were part of that retailer’s loyalty program (48%). As for what apps shoppers use most, mass merchants and marketplaces topped the list.

But customers aren’t solely using apps for mobile purchases — they’re also using them to initiate in-store purchases.

How Mobile Can Boost In-Store Shopping

You might think having so many products available at our fingertips would deter us from making in-store purchases, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, mobile shopping has become an essential tool for in-store shoppers to save time. Our survey found that 93% of respondents used mobile devices when shopping in-store.

Customers mainly use their phones to gather information while shopping, whether that is finding a specific product, reading reviews, or comparing prices:

Unlike most other survey questions, age didn’t seem to play much of a role, and shoppers of all ages found similar reasons to use their mobile devices while shopping in person.

Mobile’s Impact on Omnichannel Strategies

Omnichannel strategies are essential for mobile success. According to our survey, many shoppers use their mobile devices to initiate cross-channel experiences:

  • 67% looked up store locations or hours before visiting.
  • 46% gathered product information on mobile before visiting a store.
  • 41% placed an order online for pickup in-store.

Now that customers can get real-time inventory updates and store previews, mobile devices have become essential shopping tools. They improve efficiency, confidence, and the overall in-store experience. Customers like that mobile makes the entire shopping experience better, and it ultimately helps facilitate in-store transactions.

5 Strategies for Your Mcommerce Handbook

  1. Know your customers inside and out. 

Understanding customer desires and shopping behaviors is essential for optimizing your mobile selling strategies. By gaining insights into what drives their purchasing decisions, you can tailor your mobile strategies to meet (and exceed) customer expectations.

  1. Prioritize a mobile-first design.

Making sure your mobile shopping experience is enjoyable and easy to use will entice your customers to keep coming back. One survey found that the primary reason why customers delete shopping apps on their device is due to a poor user experience. Continuous testing and collecting shopper feedback will help ensure your mobile experience is responsive, intuitive, efficient, and secure.

  1. Focus on cross-channel integration.

Since many customers use mobile to assist in-store shopping, they need to have a cohesive user experience across all channels. This means ensuring that every touchpoint is consistent in messaging. Inventory visibility is a critical part of this, as online products should reflect the same availability in-store and vice versa.

  1. Consider whether a retail app is right for you.

Not every business needs a dedicated shopping app, but if it makes sense for your brand, the pros often outweigh the cons. A recent survey revealed that 64% of respondents prefer using a retailer’s app over its website via a mobile browser. An app can foster better communication, enhance customer service, provide more security options, and improve overall shopper satisfaction.

  1. Incentivize mobile shopping.

Offering mobile customers exclusive incentives and rewards can encourage app downloads and mobile channel usage. In our survey, 48% of shoppers said they were more inclined to download a retailer’s app when they were part of a loyalty program. Apps can also offer personalized shopping experiences, early-access sales, and timely push notifications to communicate new promotions and updates to customers.

Final Thoughts

The era of anytime, anywhere mobile shopping is here to stay. Our exploration into mobile retail trends revealed a growing preference for mcommerce. To adapt, retailers must embrace mobile technologies, omnichannel strategies, and customer-centric approaches to differentiate themselves in an expanding mobile market.

Download Our Full Mobile Shopping Report for Free

Want to explore these mobile shopping stats and trends in more depth? We’ve put together a Shopper Insights Brief that takes a big-picture look at what’s driving shopper preferences and behaviors. Grab your complimentary copy to continue geeking out on all things mcommerce. 

Plus, we can help you gather valuable customer feedback that will give you an edge over your competitors. Book a demo today and see how Bizrate Insights can help you transform your business.