At the launch of the IREU 500 2017 report, we asked Samantha Rigg, the lead mobile app researcher at Poq [IRDX VPOQ], a company specialising in retail app development and a knowledge partner to the Europe Top500 Index, what the findings mean to them.
InternetRetailing: Start out by telling the reader how Poq has been involved in the Top500 research.
Samantha Rigg, app researcher at Poq: We examined the Top500 retailers from around Europe to identify which retailers have apps, and how these apps compare. We specifically looked to see which retailers had an iOS and Android app, multiple apps, whether the apps were transactional, had a native checkout, had separate EEA-based apps, which languages were available in-app and if there was a way to select currency. Turning to app features and usability, we rated the searchandising and personalisation performance of each app as well as the use of push notifications, daily deals, loyalty accounts, barcode scanners, and stock checking. We also measured the ability to review, rate and share products, and the sophistication or otherwise of product display pages (PDPs) in terms of content, usability and interaction, while noting whether any bugs or flaws were encountered.
IR: What is the most interesting finding of the new study into the Europe Top500?
SR: The most interesting discovery we made was that of the apps we could assess, 67% were transactional but only 47% had multiple images on the PDPs and 43% had images with the ability to zoom. This is surprising considering the PDPs are one of the most valuable pages when shopping via an app. Customers have already expressed an interest in the product by opening the page and are therefore probably looking for more images of a product or a chance to get a closer look as well as gain more information. These fundamental capabilities have been shown to improve both conversion and engagement and deserve special attention. Additionally, those apps that included product videos on PDPs tended to be apps that stood out to us, both subjectively and by scoring better for an informative shopping experience.
IR: What’s the biggest lesson or action point you take from this data and why?
SR: The biggest action point we’ve taken from conducting this research is to make sure your app loads quickly, performs well and is easy to navigate. These factors have the biggest impact on customer experience, app store ratings, retention and abandonment rates. Not all customers are willing to wait for more than three (3) seconds for pages to load and will quickly abandon their journey and turn to alternatives if the process takes too long. Apps provide the ability to load faster than websites and need to take advantage of this facility. Navigation is also crucial; the ability to offer the experience the customer wants, whether it’s browsing new collections or quickly finding a specific item on the go, your app should facilitate every journey. Ultimately, perfecting these factors will minimise customer frustration and maximise customer experience.
IR: What would you like to see measured next year and what changes do you expect to see from one year to the next?
SR: Next year we would like to see the inclusion of onboarding as a new category. This is a feature which retailers have started to make use of, ensuring your customers know all the innovative and interesting features you have and how to use them will only enhance their experience and promote the app to be used in the way that you intended. Onboarding is your opportunity to explain how your app differs from your website and how much more of an engaging and personalised experience your app can provide.
The InternetRetailing Europe Top500 2017 was published in July 2017 and is a free download for subscribers.