The retail sector has seen rapid change during the mobile revolution. According to App Annie, H1 2018 was the largest bi-annual growth period for global shopping apps, with over two billion downloaded across iOS and Google Play combined; mobile has become the primary platform for shopping within the shopping category, marketplaces occupied three of the top ten ranks for shopping apps in the UK by measures of both demand (downloads) and engagement (monthly active users).
Marketplace apps have attracted a sizable pool of people and leveraged effectively the inherent advantages of smartphones: cameras to take photos of products, geolocation services to find buyers and sellers nearby, secure messaging to coordinate sales and easy access to check bids and monitor for new items.
With the average user of shopping apps using between two and four apps per month, traditional retailers should take note of the success the marketplace apps have seen and how they are continuing to acquire the 21st-century shopper. eBay Kleinanzeigen is one such business that is leading the way and has seen global success in acquiring mobile users and leveraging the inherent benefits mobile brings.
eBay’s customer experience specialist Ronny Wenske explains that the move to mobile was a logical progression for the company: “It is a case of fully utilising the tools that are out there: “Classifieds markets are growing so heavily on mobile because users can quickly find something in their vicinity faster than they could on a desktop. Also, the smartphone has become the primary device.”
Retailers need to take note on their best-practices in mobile, especially as competition is poised to heat up from a new breed of mobile-savvy digital-first retailers.
Whilst the average user has 80 apps on their phone, they use only half of them each month. Retailers, therefore, need to monitor closely just who the active consumers are.
“Two key measures are how often users come back and how much time they spend in the app,” explains Wenske. “The number of new downloads is certainly a tool to measure the attractiveness of an app, but should always be seen in the context of the aforementioned KPIs. For a user who downloads an app, opens it and does not reuse it, it is important to understand why.”
Of course, one key difference between classified marketplace apps such as eBay and high street shopping apps such as John Lewis or Zara are the measurement of revenue from sales commissions and direct incomes (shopping apps) and in-app purchases to prominently feature or highlight your item (classifieds markets).
One thing that is always true is that the customer must always come first. User experience plays a crucial role in the popularity of an app and when issues arise it is imperative that they are prioritised. “It is always about understanding customer needs and actively addressing issues – without this, the user will move on to a competitor. We measure feedback through online surveys, the evaluation of customer queries to our support team, usability tests and App Annie’s ratings and reviews feature,” says Wenske.
eBay then works cross-functionally on solutions. Many of its issues are different from common retailers as they are caused by interpersonal problems: reliability of trading partners or a lack of communication. In addition, classifieds marketplaces deal with customer expectations in vertical areas such as real estate, cars, jobs or services that are not typical for mainstream shopping apps.
2018 is the year for massive change. Retailers will need to morph their offerings as technology progresses to ensure that they thrive in the future.
Marketplace apps continue to be top players in the mobile shopping arena. They offer an alternative to traditional e-commerce and rank among the largest retailers for downloads and monthly active users. Apps like eBay are sophisticated platforms that have figured out how to leverage mobile to successfully achieve their business goals.
Retailers need to take note on their best-practices in mobile, especially as competition is poised to heat up from a new breed of mobile-savvy digital-first retailers. 2018 is the year for massive change. Retailers will need to morph their offerings as technology progresses to ensure that they thrive in the future. For example, increasingly, consumers are trying alternatives to classic consumption. The likes of VR and AR, in particular, will play a bigger role (e.g. the trying on of clothes virtually) and voice assistants will allow for faster communication on the go.
Nic Beraudo, MD EMEA, App Annie