MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Report: Mobile shopping grows, app usage varies

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver, British Columbia — Mobile shopping continues to grow at a rapid pace, with an increasing number of mobile shoppers embracing Internet retailer apps, social shopping apps, and brick-and-mortar retail apps to enhance their shopping experience. However, new research prepared by Yankee Group for mobile analytics firm Mobdia Technology shows usage of these apps varies widely depending on many factors, including the type and quality of the mobile app.

Social shopping applications such as Shopkick and Groupon drove the highest level of application engagement at 49%, while Internet retailers such as Amazon and eBay followed closely with 47%. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart and Kohl’s trailed with 43%, but had the largest distribution of engagement results with some companies well above the average.

Apps offering customer services to enhance the mobile shopping experience drove more engagement. For example, Kohl’s and H&M engagement, at 73% and 61% respectively, was higher than most apps in all segments. The apps for both of these companies offer features other than just purchasing options, such as inventory checks, rewards, and look books.

The impact of app quality and experience is also apparent when engagement is reviewed on an OS basis. Many mobile apps in this study offer different experiences and qualities in their Android and iOS versions and the engagement metric results clearly show iOS apps benefiting from better applications.

"Mobile shopping is all about mobile applications and the data clearly shows the correlation between high app quality with enhanced user experiences and higher shopper engagement and usage," said Sheryl Kingstone, director of enterprise services at Yankee Group. "Retailers that want to drive more engagement with mobile shoppers need to understand what apps are being used, not just downloaded, and the features of those apps that are driving the increased usage. Tracking and measuring these metrics on a regular basis and benchmarking the results to the competition is key to a retailer’s success"

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OPERATIONS

CVS launches online vitamin hub

BY Dan Berthiaume

Woonsocket, R.I. – CVS’ pharmacy has launched the Family Vitamin Center, a new health hub on CVS.com that empowers customers to learn more about the vitamins and supplements that can support their personal health goals. The Center features an interactive questionnaire and guidance tools that provide personalized supplement recommendations identifying which options are best suited to address personal wellness goals or health condition.

It also allows users to shop by goal, such as heart health or immune support, and get health tips. Customers can also sign up for Ship & Save, an automatic replenishment program that offers a 20% savings on every vitamin or supplement purchased and free shipping.

"The Family Vitamin Center helps CVS/pharmacy customers save time, money and lead healthier lives, which is the intent of all of our digital resources," said Brian Tilzer, senior VP, chief digital officer for CVS Caremark. "More and more of our customers are engaging with us across digital platforms to enhance their pharmacy and drugstore shopping. Until now, there has been a lack of guidance online to help customers decide which products might be best for them. Our new Family Vitamin Center is a one-of-a-kind tool that fills this information gap by providing customers with the facts they need, helping to put them on their path to better health."

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News

ModiFace introduces augmented reality digital mirror

BY Dan Berthiaume

Las Vegas — Facial visualization and imaging technology company ModiFace is introducing a 3-D Augmented Reality Makeup and Anti-Aging Mirror to help beauty brands and retailers market their products to consumers standing at cosmetic counters, as well as shopping at home. This new proprietary technology can simulate makeup products such as blushes, lipsticks and eye shadows and anti-aging skincare effects such as dark spot correction, facelift, browlift, cheek volume enhancement and jaw contouring on any consumer standing in front of the Beauty Mirror in real time and in full 3-D.

The new Beauty Mirror offering applies ModiFace’s photorealistic skin and shade simulation technology to achieve 3-D simulations shown on camera images, allowing makeup and skincare effects to be displayed on the user’s face without requiring a photo upload. Each deployment is customized and calibrated to match the brand’s product portfolio. The Beauty Mirror technology is available as a standalone kiosk that includes a touch screen monitor with a camera for in-store use, as well as a mobile app that can be used on a tablet at store counters or on a consumer’s own tablet or smartphone.

"Our new 3-D Beauty Mirror is a marketing breakthrough for retailers and beauty brands, particularly for cosmetic counters. It’s not only a try-before-you-buy tool in the store or at home, but also a way to capture consumers’ interest as they walk store aisles," said KyungMoon Lee, ModiFace executive director of engineering. "Shoppers who would otherwise walk by without stopping can be instantly drawn in and experiment with shades and effects virtually even if they don’t have the time for a hands-on makeup session or if a salesperson is busy with another customer. That makes it a powerful tool for increasing sales."

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