Mobile apps are undoubtedly cool, and executives at leading online retailers have been mandating a presence of their brand in the Apple and Android app stores, but eBusiness professionals must focus on building a cohesive mobile strategy that clearly identifies the case and role for apps within their organizations. Apps are great ways to engage with your customers, but will they deliver incremental revenue above and beyond what the mobile Web is already doing? In her recent mobile commerce forecast, Sucharita Mulpuru explains that mobile commerce is set to transform retail, despite only accounting for 2% of online web sales today. In my new report The State Of Mobile Commerce Apps, I peel back the covers on the hype and take a serious look at why, when, and how eBusiness professionals should approach their mobile app strategy. Some of the issues I explore include:

  • The mobile web versus app debate. The debate is irrelevant, consumers are using both in equal measures; however, developing an app for apps' sake is missing the point and will only disappoint your customers. eBusiness professionals must develop unique app experiences that deliver multichannel innovations and raise the engagement of the consumer with your brand.
  • Keeping up with the explosion of consumer touchpoints. Having an iPhone app was the priority back in 2010, but in 2011 many eBusinesses are adding Android, iPad, and Windows Phone 7 apps. The opportunity for apps also extends beyond the consumer. Retailers are investing in apps for store associates empowered with mobile devices, in-store kiosks, and interactive TV.
  • Technologies that are lowering the cost of app development. Hybrid apps and write once, run anywhere platforms are lowering the cost of app development and reducing time-to-market, while providing increased flexibility to optimize and add functionality without needing to release app updates through the app stores.
  • Measuring and understanding success. Developing, maintaining, and optimizing a suite of apps is not a cheap undertaking. eBusiness professionals must have clear insights on how, when, and why their customers are using these apps. Downloads do not equal success. Retailers must build innovative app experiences that foster regular consumer engagement and interaction.  

The evolution of mobile commerce apps is still in the Jurassic period. Today 6% of US online adults have already used an app for buying products on their smartphones, and encouragingly a further 20% say they are interested in doing so. As mobile and tablet touchpoints proliferate and smartphone ownership continues to rise, consumers are increasingly expecting to interact with your brand and shop using an app. I hope you will find The State Of Mobile Commerce Apps to be helpful. 

Thanks, I look forward to your thoughts and comments, Peter