As smartphone shopping grows, apps need to clearly offer more value.
You have probably heard of the phenomenon called ‘app fatigue’. Like Mark Twain’s demise, this has been much exaggerated. In the US, more than one in five Americans will use a smartphone app to buy groceries at least once a month this year, according to eMarketer. In 2018, AppAnnie estimates that global app downloads topped 194 billion, 35 percent more than in 2016.
Consumers aren’t tired of apps, but they are tired of slow to load apps with tricky user interfaces that aren’t obviously useful. Give them an app that helps them to instantly locate an elusive item and they’re engaged. They’re even more likely to be impressed by apps that offer them 2 for 1 price deals, enable them to reserve goods to collect and, using augmented reality, place 3D models of furniture into any space, creating an image they can share on social media.
Estimates of how many apps consumers typically download, how many they use, for how long and how satisfied they are with them vary so wildly that it is hard to authoritatively identify the extent of user fatigue – or what causes it. At the same time, given that Forrester Research estimates that by 2022 US consumers will make purchases on their smartphones that total US$175.4bn, this is not an opportunity that any brand can afford to ignore.
Yet the battle to keep apps on a consumer’s smartphone is only going to get fiercer: a 2017 survey by internet developer Alligatortek found that 54 percent of US consumers said they delete apps at the same rate as they download them.
Social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are also investing heavily to facilitate shopping – making their apps multi-functional. In China, 31 percent of users of WeChat, Tencent’s social media app, have used it to make purchases, according to eShopWorld Insight.
The key to success, says Mark Larson, Head of Consumer & Retail, KPMG in the US, is to put the customer at the center of your app development. “You need to define the most urgent customer needs your app has to satisfy. That will help you control costs and development time, focus on the minimum viable product – by testing that it can perform the one essential function – and let the users guide your development.
“Like the brick-and-mortar store, apps will always be with us – even if some of them evolve into chatbots – and the key, for retailers and manufacturers, is to ensure that they continue to meet rising consumer expectations.”
“It’s in my DNA”
Discovering your DNA profile no longer means going to a doctor. Around 12 million people worldwide have taken a direct-to- consumer DNA test. Most are looking for long lost relatives, but others want to know more about themselves and their likelihood to get certain illnesses. They could also be prepared to use the results to scientifically select products and services.
There are various companies that offer DNA tests to help consumers use their genetic information to make healthy lifestyle changes. Skincare is another sector where DNA is making an impact. UK company GENEU uses genes to determine the rate skin ages and prescribes personalized anti-aging serums.
Our genes can affect our taste buds too. Vinome analyzes consumers’ DNA to match wines to their taste palate. And last year, Spotify in partnership with genealogy company Ancestry, introduced personalized playlists for subscribers, based on their DNA.
"But it is open to question whether DNA profiles really are the next frontier in customer segmentation or just a fad,” says Joel Benzimra, Global Leader Consumer & Retail, Advisory, KPMG in France.