The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Retailers Pick Mobile Sites over Apps

The cost of developing a mobile app for shoppers is prompting many retailers to opt for a cheaper, albeit less personal, alternative: building a mobile-optimized e-commerce website.

A new study by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester Research, as reported by CNBC, indicated that 58% of retail companies are placing a high priority on mobile commerce this year but they’re balking at the expense. For a national retail chain, that might top $2 million in development fees, not to mention the costs to market the app to consumers.

A campus bookstore could get a decent app for much less, maybe four figures, but that would still represent a fairly large piece of the budget for such a store.

Retail apps do boost online sales—possibly as much as 30% for some merchants—and help strengthen customer loyalty to the store, according to the NRF/Forrester study, although the bump may not compensate for the yearly maintenance and upgrade costs.

The majority of shoppers are using apps to determine if sellers have certain merchandise on hand. A mobile-friendly website, if designed correctly, can provide the same information to consumers.

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