The biggest shopping season of the year is upon us, and shoppers are going mobile. For Thanksgiving, Salesforce data showed that people shopped all week, with purchases peaking after a scrumptious turkey dinner on Thanksgiving day. Salesforce also found that mobile traffic to retail sites reached 68%, and for the first time ever, at 54%, more orders were placed on mobile devices than desktop computers.

Usage of mobile retail apps has consistently increased over the past few years. 67% of consumers have downloaded a retail app in the past year, and 84% of consumers with downloaded shopping apps plan to use them to save money this holiday season.


What does the shift mean for retailers?

For retailers, more people purchasing through mobile means they have to build world-class experiences that exceed customer expectations, and it’s especially important with the holidays coming up.

Consumers are used to sophisticated technology and intuitive apps that make their lives easier. Brands have to cut through the noise, and understand that collecting and acting on feedback is integral to delivering that stellar experience.

The most important piece of the holiday shopping retail puzzle is not just collecting feedback, but collecting it at the right time. Focusing on driving positive ratings and reviews help facilitate that process. A recent survey found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of businesses actively collect and implement feedback from reviews into their apps. That’s good news but more companies need to be actively collecting feedback if they want to succeed in today’s competitive world.

Our research shows that 93% of respondents are at least somewhat likely to give feedback if a company asks for it. Customers want to share feedback because they want to be helpful. They share with the expectation that ultimately this is going to result in a better mobile experience for them. We found that listening to customer needs is closely related to loyalty. If people know their feedback has been implemented, 97% of them are at least somewhat likely to become loyal patrons to the company.


What is the impact of ratings and reviews?

Ratings and reviews have a huge impact on an app’s success. Our analysis of approximately 1,000 mobile apps revealed some interesting insights on star ratings. Take a look at the image below to see how a change in your average star rating will impact your app store conversion.


It should be noted that not all app categories are created equal in the number of ratings they receive. Retail falls in the middle of this range falling closely behind entertainment. It’s important to know your industry benchmark so you can do your best to meet or exceed it.


Getting positive ratings is as important as constructive feedback. Here are some areas where getting more ratings helps:

  • App store optimization: ASO drives 68% of new app discoveries. Among other factors like app title and description, higher ratings (4 stars and above) are a signal for app stores that you have a quality app. It helps boost your position in organic search results and be more discoverable.
  • Boosting conversion and driving more downloads: About 60% of consumers usually or always check an app’s rating before downloading it. Naturally, higher ratings equals higher conversions. It’s a trust signal for which consumers rely on each other. And obviously, better ratings are a result of an app that delights customers.

Every app wants more and higher ratings. Remember though that it’s not just about the numbers. You want to tap into the qualitative feedback that you get from reviews so you can better understand what your customers want and need. Well-timed review prompts can help with that.


Understand what delights your customers

Asking for feedback at the right time is invaluable. You don’t want to interrupt your consumer while they’re looking for the right scarf to match the jacket they just bought, or trying to complete a transaction. But once they’ve completed an action like a purchase, you could engage them and ask for a rating and review. Or if they’ve filled and then abandoned a cart, you could ask them the next time they open the app if there is something about the in-app experience that didn’t appeal to them.

While you don’t want to interrupt shoppers, you also want to be proactive. Don’t wait for a problem to surface which prompts a disappointing and negative review. Try to pre-empt issues by asking the right questions at the right time. It’ll be useful in,

  • Helping define your product roadmap and identify popular desired features: If you prompt customers to review your app based on a particular experience, you can get some great insight into what features you should add to your product roadmap. For instance, when they’ve added some items to their cart but then left, when they come back, you could ask if the customer could share what you can do to help. Perhaps there is a widespread demand for a comparison shopping feature, or personalized recommendations, or a lowest price guarantee.
  • Improving specific processes and workflows: If you’re noticing abandoned checkout processes, it’s another instance where you could prompt customers for a review and better understand how you can improve the process and make it easier and more intuitive. You could also perhaps ask customers to review your product categorization and navigation system. You obviously want to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, particularly in a hyper competitive market.
  • Enabling measurement and tracking of customer sentiment: A textual analysis of your reviews using a tool like Apptentive’s reporting suite can help you identify recurring phrases and sentiment related to your app. For instance, if phrases like “slow loading” or “sloppy design” surface regularly, you have an area to dig into and discover what you need to improve upon and change. There is a ton of value in constructive feedback in helping you shape the future of your product.

Listening deeply is great, but also remember to validate and thank your customers along the way for sharing feedback. Like we said before, when customers are heard, they are loyal. Let them know that you appreciate them and that you’ve implemented their feedback. Also, once you implement feedback, don’t forget to measure results. Keep an eye on downloads, MAUs, app usage, and particularly DAUs during the holiday season.


In conclusion

Retail apps are having an increasingly greater impact on a company’s bottom line. Mobile commerce conducted through smartphones will account for a staggering $117 billion in the U.S. alone this year, accounting for about 23% of online retail sales and 3% of all retail sales. These numbers are only going to grow, and companies need to be on top of their mobile experience game.

By asking the right questions at the right time, brands can collect invaluable first-party data as well boost ratings. Going a step further, customers find that their feedback has been implemented, they will be more inclined to review your app positively, which is a huge win for any retailer.

Anu Hastings

Content Marketing Manager | Apptentive

Anu is the Content Marketing Manager at Apptentive. She is a data-driven marketer passionate about content development, SEO, and storytelling. A proud University of Washington alumna, she is an experienced writing and communications professional with a background in technology, consulting, and academia.

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