The Appification of Shopping
The appification of shopping is the creation of mobile applicationswith which clients can use to shop online. Big retailers have createdapps to help shoppers shop online without having to wait until theyreach home for them to access their desktop computers. Among theretailers who have created a mobile app for shopping, include Amazon,Woolworths, and Zappos. The retailers realized that smartphone useruse mobile apps more than they use mobile internet for generalbrowsing. This realization has created the sudden craze ofappification of shopping, especially among online stores. Even thesmall retailers, who have a compelling presence in a small town, areventuring into the mobile app shopping business. Mobile shopping iseasier because the users views the item, and then swipe to order. Theitem could be solitary hence the reason mobile apps do not have theoption of a cart like their desktop counterpart.
This development has altered shopping in that it encourages impulsebuying. Since the smartphone is always in the hands of the user, heor she can always open the shopping app and browse through the itemson sale. In the course of their perusing, they will come across anitem that interests them and make an order despite the fact that theyhad not planned to make any purchase. The development has madeshopping easier because online users no longer have to log into thecomputers, fill the cart and then make an order. According toBensinger (2016), the average smartphone user will spend about threehours of his day just looking through the apps on his phone.Marketers have taken advantage of this addiction to mobile apps topush for the purchase of their products. The trick seems to beworking because sales by mobile apps went up by 56% in 2015 alone.
With the advent of this technology, the retailer with a competitiveadvantage is the one who can entice the mobile users to engage inmobile snacking. According to Bensinger (2016), snacking is when anonline shopper buys small items at regular intervals within the day.Using the example of the nursing mother in the article, she could buydiapers in the morning, order for wet wipes at noon, and maybe decideto replace her baby shawl in the evening. The retailer who is able toencourage more snacking by the customers has a competitive advantageover the rest. In order to resort to more snacking, retailers are nowfocusing their energy on customized marketing. These marketers willcollect the personal information of the app user and then directrelevant adverts towards them. Some of the information they collectincludes the value of the mobile device, the location of the user,and their operating system.
Impact of appification on the retail industry
Appification is likely to transform the retail industry by making itmore tech savvy. If the trend continues, Retailers will make moresales online than in actual customer visits to the premises. Maybesome retailers will see no need of opening more retail stores andhence maintain their dominance online. Some may decide to do awaywith physical stores and maintain just an online presence. The likesof Amazon and Alibaba do not have a physical address but they areamong the highest valued retailers in the world.
Retailers may also have to invest more in quick delivery. Theretailer with the swiftest delivery system will come top of thetable. Some may invest in drones as a means of beating traffic jams.The future of the retail industry greatly depends on the direction ofmobile shopping. If in future shoppers discard it for a cooler meansof shopping, most of the big retailers will suffer the most.
All the links in the marketing chain will be affected whenappification transforms the retail industry. As it stands, manyretailers are creating user-specific advertisements in a bid toinvoke impulse buying on the part of the customer. This is done withan aim of attracting customers to buy common consumer goods thatpeople tend to buy without budgeting. If the strategy works, thevolumes of sales will instantly increase. This will consequentlyaffect the all the links in the marketing chain.
For instance, if the retailers use the mobile apps to direct theadvertisements for warm clothing to users who reside in countriesexperiencing winter, the demand for warm clothing go up. Themanufacturers of the warm clothing will have to work harder in orderto meet the increasing demand. However, it is important to note thatthe marketing and the sales link will be the most affected becausecompanies will require these departments to devise means of reapingthe benefits of appification. The sales and marketing links will becharged with creating a mobile app that is user-friendly in order tobeat competition from the other retailers.
The Future of the Competition
Amazon stands to win if it plays its cards well. The company alreadyhas a laid down chain for shopping. While other retailers andsupermarket chains are still learning the ropes of online shopping,Amazon is the child of online shopping. It therefore becomes easy forAmazon to invest in mobile shopping because it already knows theright button to press when it comes to matters of online shopping.The other retailers have a compelling presence in physical shoppingbut they are amateurs in online shopping.
Large-scale retailers such as Woolworths derive most of their incomefrom physical shopping and therefore they have not developed theironline supply chain. With more customers gradually preferring to shoponline even for basic commodities such as wet wipes, these retailerswill need to invest more in mobile shopping and online shopping as awhole. However, by the time, they learn the basics of making it bigin mobile shopping Amazon will be hundreds of miles ahead.
Although Amazon has the starting advantage, other chains are quicklycatching up. Retailers for fashion items are the most likely tosucceed in the mobile shopping craze. Companies such as Zara updatetheir online store with the most recent designs in their collection.When app users see the compelling designs, they are likely to orderdespite them not planning to shop for any garments at that time. Bedand Bath is another retailer that is likely to gain massively frommobile shopping. The retailer who specializes in bedding and homedécor has an appealing mobile app for its customers. The app updatesusers every time the company posts a picture of an item they hadshown interest in based on their prior browsing. Retailers likeWoolworths who do not design anything can source for appealingdesigns to entice their customers into impulse buying.
Bensinger,G., (2016). Shoppers flock to Apps, shaking up retail. Wall streetJournal, TECH.