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Is mobile the only tool a growing retailer needs?

Influencers can help brands reach their target customers. Image: Fotolia

For customers, smartphones are a convenient tool for browsing and buying online – as well as accessing stores and multichannel services. For retailers, they represent nothing less than a force for growth. The challenge is to decide whether customers feel enough loyalty to a retailer to give space on their smartphone to their app – and then whether an iOS (for Apple devices) or an Android app would be most appropriate.

In the RetailX Growth 2000 report 2021 our researchers investigated which retailers have mobile apps and also whether they offer collection. Both are useful indicators to reveal relatively sophisticated mobile and multichannel services.

Digital Editor, Scarlette Isaac, looks at how they performed.

iOS apps

iOS apps are slightly more popular than Android apps among retailers, with 13% of 949 retailers assessed on this metric in both 2020 and 2021 having them. That’s two percentage points (2pp) up from 11% in 2020. A third (33%) of Growth 2000 traders selling soft furnishings, bedding and towels have one, as do 32% of fashion footwear merchants – following a 5pp increase on the previous year – and 29% of those selling artworks, interior decoration products, and jewellery. Just over a quarter of fashion clothing (27%) retailers have an iOS app. But iOS apps are less popular among those selling trade and DIY tools and equipment (8%) and alcoholic drinks, groceries, branded goods and books (all 13%). In 2021, more brands (+3pp to 12%) along with sports and leisure footwear retailers (+4pp to 21%) have iOS apps, and slightly fewer kitchenware retailers (-1pp to 23%).

Android apps

Some 12% of the 952 retailers measured on this metric in both 2020 and 2021 now have Android mobile apps. That’s three percentage points (3pp) more than in 2020. The retailers most likely to have mobile apps sell fashion footwear (28% of traders in this category do so), followed by those selling soft furnishings, bedding and towels (27%), kitchenware (27%), jewellery (24%) and fashion clothing (23%). But few Growth 2000 trade and DIY tools and equipment (7%) or alcoholic drinks (10%) retailers have them, while brands (11%) and grocers (12%) are also less likely to have an Android mobile app. Fashion footwear (+5pp to 26%) and sports and leisure clothing (+4pp to 19%) launched Android mobile apps fastest during the year, while eyewear retailers (-1pp to 14%) were the only category to move away from them.

On collection

Just under a fifth (18%) of the 1,157 Growth 2000 retailers assessed on this metric in both 2020 and 2021 offer collection. That’s 1pp up on the previous year. Those most likely to do so include hobby and entertainment retailers (27%), followed by those selling soft furnishings, bedding and towels and cosmetics and personal grooming (both 26%) – while software retailers (6%) and marketplace hosts (9%) are less likely to do so. The fastest increase – by some distance – was among retailers selling pedal cycles (+7pp to 34%). This may be because bikes have been a popular purchase over the last two years due to pandemic lockdowns, so retailers have adapted to offer more f lexible services at a time when many shoppers started to buy more online. There was also an uplift in categories including greetings cards and gifts (+3pp to 16%) and pet supplies (+3pp to 19%). The availability of collection declined in categories including garden products (-3pp to 20%) and marketplace hosts (-2pp to 11%).

How long to collect?

A shopper buying online from the 244 multichannel retailers researched in 2020 and 2021 will wait an average of 60.3 hours – just over 2.5 days – to collect. That’s 20 minutes faster than the previous year. The median retailer in this study offers collection in 43 hours (just under two days) – five hours faster than in 2020.

How much is collection?

The median retailer that offers collection provides the service for free. Where there is a charge, this is an average of £3.75. However, this price varies depending on the product category.

To discover more about the cost for collection, as well as delivery options offered by the Growth 2000 – download the full report here.

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