Do E-Commerce Apps Really Make Money?

Mobile commerce or the process of making purchases from one's mobile - typically a smartphone, has now become the norm of making purchases. To your left and right, it seems that everyone is either downloading some app and then using it to make purchases of some kind.

Some mobile commerce apps are even redefining how people purchase goods and services and even changing the way regular business are operating. According to this IBM report, mobile accounted for 45 percent of all online traffic during the 2014 holiday season, and online sales from mobile devices accounted for 22.6 percent of the total.

If you're considering a mobile app for your e-commerce business, it might be worth your while to see how consumers use their apps. After all, do you really want to invest money developing an app that may not be used by your targeted consumers?

Implications of Infrequent Use of Mobile Apps

As pervasive as mobile use has become, did you ever consider that mobile shoppers use retail apps on their mobile devices very infrequently? A study by RetailMeNot noted that 57% of mobile shoppers use their apps once per month or less and 10% say they use their apps once daily.

That use is quite sporadic compared to the number of users who have only one or two retail-based apps on their mobile devices at any time. In the same study by RetailMeNot, only 39% have one or two apps and 39% report of having more. Would you believe that 21% of consumers don't have any e-commerce apps on their devices at all?

Web vs. App Use

A study at RetailMeNot shows that 66% are more likely to visit a website in order to check store hours and do other shopping activities as opposed to 45% who would download the retail apps for redeeming gift cards and loyalty program points. Only 31% would use your app to check online reviews as opposed to 50% who will visit your website.

Although every business seems to have an app these days, but will investing in one actually be profitable for your business in the long run?

Before you say "yes," ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is your app important enough for your customers to download and use when taking into account all other e-commerce applications? This site will help you figure out the best e-commerce app for your needs.

2. Have you given thought to the memory on mobile devices? Apps take up a great deal of memory which results in many retail apps getting deleted.

3. Have you optimized a mobile friendly website that offers an enhanced shopping experience? Can your customers do everything that an app offers including shop, redeem coupons, visit, search compare prices, and browse?

As you can see, there is quite a large discrepancy between mobile apps use and website traffic. The question still remains: will you invest in an apps that will not be used frequently enough? If you plan to use app-based loyalty programs, then investing in your app could be worth the cost.