The pandemic is having a transformative impact on independent e-commerce retailers
As COVID-19 continues to keep people away from malls and off the High Street, independent retailers are seeing a spike in sales made through mobile apps.
New research from m-commerce agency JMango360 shows a quarterly jump of 54% in Q2 2020 for purchases made through independent e-commerce retailers’ mobile apps. App downloads increased by 36% from Q1 to Q2 2020. The numbers suggest COVID’s impact on mobile shopping extends beyond big brands like Amazon to the broader retail economy.
Year-over-year, from September 2019 to September 2020, retailers’ also saw a 58% increase in in-app transactions. The biggest spike happened in the early months of the pandemic, when in-app orders jumped by 88% in June.
The biggest one-month increase in app downloads happened in April, when mobile app downloads grew by 109%.
COVID’s mobile effect touches the real retail economy
Earlier this year, major US retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, and Home Depot reported huge growth in app downloads and in-app purchases in the early months of the pandemic. The numbers from JMango360 suggest the shift to mobile shopping is affecting independent retailers too.
‘Big e-commerce brands like Amazon get all attention but we should not forget that the biggest part of the online economy is still driven by independent retailers, and they are growing as well,’ said Berry de Kort, CEO of JMango360.
‘During the pandemic, shoppers were avoiding bricks and mortar shops so e-commerce benefitted. But e-commerce now is largely driven by mobile, and the Ubers and Netflixes of the world have made apps the first stop when people want to do something important with their smartphones.’
He adds that independent retailers have also been encouraging shoppers to use their apps with app-only discounts, and using marketing tools like app push notifications to drive increased sales. That could explain why the average order value (AOV) in-app hasn’t grown at the same pace as downloads and in-app purchases.
‘Even before the pandemic the majority of traffic to web retailers was coming from smartphones,’ adds de Kort. ‘We’ve been seeing steady increases in app usage over the year, but the year-on-year figures prove it’s more than a short-term blip.
‘Mobile shoppers are impatient and have high expectations. Large or small, every retailer will need to continually demonstrate that their app shopping experience can make life better or easier for them.’
‘If they don’t, competitors might lure their customers away. Shoppers have embraced mobile apps and they won’t be going back to the slow and cumbersome purchase journeys offered by mobile responsive websites.’
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