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Online retailers missing out on mobile app opportunities

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11th Sep 2015
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Online retailers in the UK are failing to make the most of the data they collect from mobile apps, according to research from Teradata.  

The study into mobile communications, taken from the UK’s top online retailers in terms of turnover, showed that 48 out of the leading 50 now have mobile apps specifically geared up for the buying process.

Yet just one-third of online retailers that gather data reflecting customers’ preferences and get permission to send targeted push notifications actually make use of the opportunity.

Only 31% of the apps analysed were using personalisation in their messages, according to the findings, while just 13% used customer names.

The study also found that most online retailers in the UK are not incentivising customers to make a purchase through in-app communications.

Less than half welcome new customers to their app with an offer and of those in the top 50 that have retail stores, only half encouraged app users to visit.  In addition, none of the apps sent “abandoned cart” push notifications to alert customers to incomplete transactions.

2014 Baymard Institute statistics estimated that around 67% of online shoppers abandon carts before purchase, while over half of millennials will turn their back on a brand if they have a poor mobile app experience with them, further highlighting the importance of getting the communications right.

“It’s imperative that retailers recognise the opportunities app communications provide, not only for increasing sales, but for increasing brand loyalty and improving customer experience,” says Jon Williams, country manager UK & Ireland, for Teradata Marketing Applications.

“Currently, retailers are not engaging their customers across multiple digital channels.  Our research into both emails and app messages shows they are failing to truly join the dots across their communications technology to serve customers effectively. It’s time for personalisation to be at the core of customer communications, and retailers must use push notifications more effectively to influence purchasing decisions.”

One common success among the apps analysed was their push for location data from users. 67% of retailers are recognising the importance of geographical targeting by asking for a customer’s location, which highlights the clear level of importance many place around finding ways to connect the customer journey between mobile apps and physical stores.  

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