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Mobile shopping sites generate more consumer interest than retail apps

20 May 2014 - 11:37 by Paul Tissington

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Although plenty of retailers are embracing smartphone apps as a way of letting their customers shop online from their portable devices, a new study has shown that people are more likely to visit the mobile-optimised website of a company, than engage via dedicated software.

ICM Research questioned 1,300 consumers, to establish the most effective form of m-commerce platform at the moment, covering 13 major retail outlets so as to gauge the level of engagement.

One of the companies included was Boots, with 65 per cent of its customers using the mobile site, compared to the eight per cent segment who harness its standalone smartphone application.

A similar pattern was established for other retailers, including the high street mainstay, Next. But it was online auction site eBay that bucked the trend, with just over half of its customers choosing the app compared with the 35 per cent slice who stick to the mobile site.

Of course, retailers can only convince people to carry out safe shopping online from their smartphones if they have created sites that adapt to suit this type of platform. And there is an argument for using apps rather than the web browser, simply because this gives companies a better chance to create a consistent, intuitive mobile shopping experience.

Interestingly, the report found that although mobile sites tend to generate the highest usage figures, in actual fact, people are more likely to go through with a purchase if they are using an app instead.

When looking at the overall power of retailers in the m-commerce marketplace, Amazon and eBay are at the top of the pile, although high street rivals, like Argos and Tesco, are following closely in their wake and could catch up eventually.