Mobile Web Outpaces Apps for Retail Transactions - eMarketer

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Mobile Web Outpaces Apps for Retail Transactions

March 4, 2015

Sonia Nagar
Senior Director, Mobile Product Strategy

RetailMeNot is a marketplace platform that offers consumers digital coupons and discount codes for approximately 70,000 retailers. Sonia Nagar, RetailMeNot’s senior director of mobile product strategy, spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about the pros and cons of mobile sites vs. apps and when it makes sense for retailers to have both.

eMarketer: What percentage of your clients have both a mobile app and a mobile site?

Sonia Nagar: Out of the thousands of retailers we work with, it’s actually a really low percentage. When you think about who has both an Android and an iOS app, that number gets even lower. Most retailers start with iOS—there’s a higher percentage representation there. For many, the Android platform is an afterthought. That may have to do with the demographic and the spend propensity.

Many retailers did start with the mobile web first. You see a higher percentage of retailers that have a mobile site vs. a mobile app.

“The majority of traffic is still coming from the mobile web vs. mobile apps. Mobile web dominates.”

eMarketer: What percentage of the shopping apps that you have are commerce-enabled?

Nagar: We work mostly with ecommerce retailers and in-store partners. Probably less than 5% are not commerce-enabled.

eMarketer: Of the sales transactions that are coming through mobile devices, what percentage comes through apps vs. the mobile web?

Nagar: The majority of traffic is still coming from the mobile web vs. mobile apps. Mobile web dominates.

eMarketer: Why do you think that is?

Nagar: It has to do with discovery. A lot of shoppers will still go to Google when they are figuring out where to shop. As a result, we see strong traffic coming through the mobile web.

We’ve also invested heavily in mobile apps. On certain days, like weekends, we see a shift in traffic. During the weekdays, people tend to shop online. On weekends, when people are in-store, that’s when they use our mobile app, and that can sometimes overtake the mobile web.

“When a user comes into the app, we ask them to opt in to certain programs that allow us to market to them on an ongoing basis.”

eMarketer: How do businesses go about setting objectives for their mobile site and apps?

Nagar: In order to have a successful app, you need to have people using it. It’s important to understand what your monthly active users look like. When a user comes into the app, we ask them to opt in to certain programs that allow us to market to them on an ongoing basis. We market to them two ways: One is push notifications, the second is email. We also have some metrics that we’ll look at for email and push to understand the health of those channels and drive re-engagement for the app.

eMarketer: When does it makes sense to have one mobile channel, either an app or a mobile site, instead of both?

Nagar: If you don’t have the engineering and resources to make a continuous investment or even the marketing resources to continuously manage push programs, then forego an app and focus on the mobile web.

If your brand loyalty isn’t that strong and you are going to have trouble drumming up a meaningful user base for an app, then it may be best to focus on the mobile web only.

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