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Why insight is key in the retail app revolution…

2016 really was the year of mobile with Google’s Consumer Barometer data showing that 74 % of UK residents regularly use a smartphone overtaking for the first time those using a computer (73%.) Consumers’ growing comfort with mobile has also been seen in the retail industry with 51% of purchases made on mobile in the UK between November 2016 and January this year, according to IMRG. With the figure rising from just 40% earlier in 2016 undoubtedly driven by improvements made by retailers in the mobile experience coupled with an increase in shopping apps (as opposed to mobile web).

With this heightened interest in mobile shopping it’s important for retailers to be shrewd in capitalising on this opportunity and stay ahead of both consumer expectation and competition. Never before has a data and insight centric approach been so key…

Users, not visitors

A focus on a mobile app over mobile web means a focus on users, not visitors. An entirely different approach to the Marketing funnel is required here, with two points of conversion at both download and purchase stage. This extended funnel requires insight to help pinpoint the areas of optimisation that have the greatest impact on acquiring potential customers. Does ad targeting focus on users willing to install an app? Are users dropping off at the App Store page? Is the target audience for the app different from the website? The list of questions is endless but honing in and testing, implementing and iterating the right funnel stages brings far greater success than blind instinct.

Value matters more

With this change from visitors to users, there’s an even greater need to understand and maximise each user’s value once acquired. In most cases, the advertising cost of a user downloading an app is higher than the cost of a website click but once acquired their potential is higher. Understanding a user value framework (ie what actions a user can take that provides business value to you) is a great starting point. This gives an ideal scenario to work towards when trying to influence users as well as a benchmark for acquisition costs.

The ad space

The paid media space for retail is a very crowded place. With seasonality playing a key role and new collections, sales and events occurring at the same time for all competitors, causing an intense spike in competition and CPMs. Data and insight should be leveraged here to ensure absolute optimisation of ads from targeting creative and copy at both strategic and day to day levels. At Mallzee, we have the benefit of our insight platform which allows us to pinpoint the exact products that are trending for specific target audiences to ensure we’re only serving ads that will convert well. It’s an approach that’s earned us a CPA 50% below the industry average and remains at the core of our acquisition strategy.

The industry

The retail industry in 2017 is a challenging place with the perfect storm of fiscal pressures (rising costs and lowering consumer spending) and already this year there have been a number of high profile retail casualties  Mallzee recently highlighted that in Q1 2017, 48% of all products (from a sample of 150 retailers) had been discounted at some point in their life cycle, compared to 27% in the same period in 2016 -  highlighting a consistent over reliance on discounting as a strategy. This landscape provides both a challenge and an opportunity to adapt and improve. Retailers can use insight to understand the customer more and give them better reasons to both shop and remain loyal. Mallzee are helping retailers do that at merchandising level with real time actionable consumer insight, but there’s also an opportunity to use data beyond that. Personalised experiences, optimised user interfaces and insight led content are all better achieved with the data available from app users.

Generation Z

It’s estimated that 16-25 year olds send, on average, 300 snapchat pictures every day. This is a generation that was born with the internet, send photos rather than written words and expect technology to work for them perfectly in a daily context. As this audience becomes more dominant, it’s not only more important to have mobile app presence but that this presence is optimised for the tech savvy, fast moving potential users. Insight can be used here to deliver a personalised experience that meets the individual’s needs seamlessly.

There’s no doubt that the retail app industry is in an exciting place, the key is harnessing the opportunity through data and insight to get ahead and stay ahead.

Rachelle Garnham is Digital Marketing Manager at multi-retailer shopping app, Mallzee (link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mallzee.mallzee&hl=en_GB). As well as providing a seamless mobile shopping experience for consumers, Mallzee offers an insight solution for the retail industry. Working with millions of live user product ratings, the product suite helps retailers optimise across key stages of merchandising, marketing and buying process. Find out more on the Mallzee brand page (link: http://brands.mallzee.com/)

Mallzee is available to download free on iOS (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/mallzee-150-fashion-clothes-trainers-brands/id681106862?mt=8) & Android (link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mallzee.mallzee&hl=en_GB)

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