Retail app shoppers are loyal. But getting a consumer to that point—downloading the app and making frequent purchases—is no small feat.
Two recent studies from app commerce company Poq and mobile app marketing vendor Jampp illustrate the challenges retailers have with app customer acquisition and retention.
The average consumer opens a retailer’s app 23 times in the first month after downloading it, 14 times in the second month and three times in the third month, according to Poq’s “App Retention Report.” The report is based on app data from 30 Poq clients’ retail apps and more than 973,000 app users who initiated more than 7 million app sessions. The app users are primarily located in the U.K., U.S. Australia and China.
If a consumer is still using the app she downloaded after two weeks, she is likely to become a longtime user of the app, according to the report. And making a purchase will only help app retention. Shoppers who make at least one purchase in a retail app are 1.9-times more likely to keep the app on their smartphone than the average user of that app. This means retailers should work to drive a consumer to make that first purchase quickly in order to keep her from abandoning the app.
Prompting a consumer to buy quickly, however, could be difficult as retail apps have a long lag period from when the consumer downloads the app to when she purchases, according to the Jampp study, “Consumer Behavior on E-commerce Mobile Apps.” Jampp collected iOS and Android data from more than 200 clients that advertised on its platform during the first quarter. Jampp included taxi, food delivery, classified, travel and fashion apps in the report.
For fashion apps, 35% of first conversions occur on the install date, while less than 10% of first conversions are made the day after the install. 70% of conversions happen within 14 days and 90% of first conversions occur within 31 days.
The latency period for fashion apps is much longer compared with other apps Jampp studied. With taxi apps, for example, 70% of first conversions happen on the install date, while 70% of first conversions for food delivery apps happen in three days, and travel apps hit the 70% mark within eight days.
Getting a consumer to make the first purchase in the app is a huge hurdle for a retailer to clear, says Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights at comScore Inc. But once a consumer makes the purchase, the retailer will reap long-term benefits, he says. Poq’s data backs up the claim; on average, app users have a higher revenue per user than mobile web users. Between January and May, the average revenue per user was $1.75 in apps, compared to $1.23 for the mobile web and $2.80 for desktop. This is measured by the revenue per channel divided by the number of consumers visiting that channel.
To push shoppers to make a purchase, retailers should offer an app-only incentive to consumers who make a purchase in the app, Lipsman says.
The Jampp study finds that consumers are spending less time in apps, as seconds spent in app per visit decreased 42% year over year. Consumers spent, on average, 36.10 seconds in app per session between January and March 2016 compared to 62.44 seconds per session during that three-month span in 2015.