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Report: Retail Apps Key to Online Conversions

This holiday season, mobile could dominate with the help of in-app transactions. But a new study found only those retailers that actively promote them will see a surge.

Though consumers are using retail apps more each year, data shows retailers that promote shopping apps have even higher adoption and conversion rates, on average.

“Retailers around the world are continuing to see shopper preferences shift as they become more reliant on the convenience and personalization that in-app commerce experiences can offer,” said Jonathan Opdyke, chief strategy officer at Criteo, an Internet marketing firm that collects data from 5,000 retailers in over 80 countries.

Criteo’s most recent Global Commerce Review measured the behavior of online shoppers across three major platforms: mobile, tablets and computers, and found a strong correlation between the promotion of in-app purchases and continued success heading into the holiday season as mobile transactions continue to grow in practically every market. In North America and Japan, for example, over 50 percent of online transactions come from a mobile device.

Criteo reports that retailers that actively promote their in-house shopping apps see those apps collect a 65 percent share of all transactions, assisted by a conversion rate that is three times higher than shopping over the mobile web. Year-over-year, in-app transactions grew by 30 percent in 2018.

“As in-app sales rise, it’s imperative for retailers to understand that simply launching an app does not necessarily mean that it is going to yield immediate returns. Our Q2 Global Commerce Review found a strong correlation between in-app transaction growth and retailers that develop and commit to an ongoing shopping app promotion strategy,” Opdyke said.

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Retailers looking to boost sales this holiday season would be well advised to note customers who purchase both online and off have a greater lifetime value, according to the report. Criteo estimates that although omnichannel consumers only make up 7 percent of the customer base, they contribute to 27 percent of all sales.

The biggest winners for in-app purchases are online-only retailers, who saw a marked advantage in adoption rates over retailers with a significant brick-and-mortar element. Online-only companies see 31 percent of their transactions come from their apps, a 10 percent advantage over brick-and-mortar.

It’s not all bad for traditional retailers, however. Criteo suggests that omnichannel strategies can collect and apply four-times as much sales data for marketing optimization—creating another way for brick-and-mortar to survive in the digital age.