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Another bite of the Apple

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After something of a death in mobile news in the retail sector these past few months – one can only hope that it is just technology bedding in and people getting on with it, rather than the collapse of the m-retailig space – we are faced this week with a raft of studies into mobile and how its being used.

The headline finding, from CapGemini and IMRG, is that mobile now accounts for slightly more than 20% of e-commerce sales in the UK. This is quite a milestone, but I for one am surprised that it still only accounts for one fifth of sales. Surely everyone is now using some sort of portable device to do their online shopping? Just my house then.

Aside from this, Affiliate Window, which tracks how users click through mobile ads and what they then go on to buy, has also found that mobile sales are on the up after flatlining in April. Again good news, but all the more interesting as sales appear to be being driven by iPad users. Which is hardly surprising: they are tech savvy and have deeper pockets.

Which brings us neatly to this week’s big mobile news: the unveiling of Apple’s iOS7 operating system for iPhone and iPad. As was widely expected, it sees the look and feel of the software getting a total make over and making it look much more modern. However, with such a radical transformation, there are going to be inevitable headaches for developers and retailers as the now have to scramble to adapt what they have to the new design and new design principles.

However, on the upside, the fact that apps are now going to be able to have an auto-update could be seen as something of a boon. Apps can now be much more flexible in terms of their content and refresh as retailers no longer need to rely on shoppers actually up dating them manually.

But, there is a downside: popping up a list of apps to be updated has been one of the surprisingly key ways of reminding consumers that they have the app on their phone at all. As has been widely reported over the past two years, most people use about six of their apps regularly, and the rest are used once of twice then forgotten about. Discovery and, more importantly, rediscovery of apps is a vital part of the ROI in retail apps. Apple offering auto-updates may solve one problem, but it creates another new one.

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