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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Barriers Put Skids on Retail Apps

For a time, the retail industry was gung-ho for mobile apps. Every merchant had to develop an app for shoppers to download so that the store and customer could remain in constant touch.

Some retailers may be cooling on that idea, which is possibly good news for campus stores that didn’t have the budget to build a custom app anyway. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, many attendees at the eTail East 2014 conference in early August thought developing mobile websites made more sense.

While apps are able to provide greater functionality and are easier for customers to use once downloaded, they typically cost more to create, partly because each platform (iOS, iPhone, Android, Windows) calls for its own app. Retailers also have to constantly market the availability of the app and worry whether customers are using it successfully.

“Research has shown that approximately 70% of users lose faith in a brand if an app frustrates them, and one in five apps is only ever used one time,” Joel Evans, vice president of mobile enablement at Mobiquity, told Mobile Commerce Daily.

On the other hand, responsive design allows mobile websites to shapeshift to accommodate most devices. The investment to develop such sites is much lower, and a big bonus is that mobile sites will pop up in search results. Some retailers are opting to put their money into responsive design, at least until it’s easier and cheaper to create apps.

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