Astound Commerce Mobile Shopping Report Reveals Retail Websites Are Driven By Content, Mobile Apps by Convenience

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Report analyzes 25 retailers’ mobile offerings to identify top performers and key strategies for advanced mobile shopping strategies

In the 2017 holiday season, mobile commerce revenue totaled $35.9 billion, a 28 percent growth from last year’s mobile commerce total. This year-over-year growth illustrates the importance of mobile’s contribution to retail sales performance, according to recent data by Astound Commerce, released today.

To better understand the mobile commerce landscape and identify top performers, Astound Commerce Insights analyzed 25 mobile retail websites and 23 retailer apps in its 2018 Mobile Shopping Report. The report found that retailer mobile sites tend to be more robust, mirroring their desktop counterparts, while the role of apps centers around connecting customers across all channels and most importantly serving as the ultimate in shopping convenience, particularly for frequent buyers.

“Companies that ranked highly in our report use a mix of strategies, including powerful visuals, inspiring and rich content, and efficiency to optimize the shopping experience,” said Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy and Chief Merchant of Astound Commerce. “We found that while both solid mobile sites and apps are part of a strong shopping experience, it’s clear that each channel has a different purpose in the buyer journey, whether it’s browsing, research, or making purchases.”

The Topline
Five calculators, each built on a 5-point scale, were used as a framework to understand how each mobile application or website performed across these retailers. Average overall results are as follows:

  • Shopping efficiency: mobile websites 3.29, mobile apps 3.34.
  • Omnichannel capabilities: mobile websites 3.64, mobile apps 3.74.
  • Shopping inspiration: mobile websites 3.58, mobile apps 3.20.
  • Content depth: mobile websites 2.44, mobile apps 1.78.
  • Customer service: mobile websites 3.25, mobile apps 2.48.

The report found that the top five mobile web performers are (in order of experience quality):

  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Ulta Beauty
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Urban Outfitters

The report also ranked the top five mobile app performers (in order of experience quality):

  • Macy’s
  • Sephora
  • The Home Depot
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • American Eagle

Engaging, Efficient and Content-Rich Features Drive Top Performers
Retailers have less space to inspire shoppers to purchase on mobile devices, making strong visuals and quality content mission critical to driving customers to purchase. Across the board, mobile sites incorporated more robust merchandising and compelling content. Key findings that illustrate the depth of experiences include:

  • Mobile sites showcase products better: 96 percent of mobile sites had a “What’s New” section, compared to 78 percent of mobile apps. Fifty-two percent of mobile sites had a “Trending Now” section, compared to only 30 percent of mobile apps.
  • Video’s value seen across mobile: 84 percent of mobile web sites feature video and a strong 61 percent appreciate their role on apps. Only 30 percent of mobile apps offer a retailer’s blog (56 percent on sites) and guide adoption is favored 2 to 1 for web (64 percent vs. 30 percent on apps). This penetration suggests that apps are better used as purchase tools instead of curation or discovery.
  • Efficiency rules on apps: Swift checkout is top-of-mind on apps as the average number of clicks is 2.74 versus 3.60 seen on the mobile web.
  • Customer service lags on apps: 92 percent of mobile sites had a dedicated customer service section, compared to 74 percent of apps. Easily accessible contact information is scarce on both mobile sites and apps, with phone numbers available on the home page or via navigation on just 33 percent and 14 percent respectively.

“The differences between mobile apps and sites center on the idea that mobile apps are meant to simplify and accelerate the path to purchase, while mobile sites should offer a more robust shopping experience akin to a desktop site,” said Freedman. “Retailers must ensure they understand the benefits and shortcomings of each mobile channel and can accommodate the needs and goals of their customers on both as mobile adoption’s pace is almost a guarantee of increased sales here in the coming years.”

To learn more, download the Mobile Shopping Report report here.

About Astound Commerce
Astound Commerce, the world's largest privately held digital commerce agency, combines strategy, technology, creativity, insight and a proven methodology to deliver exceptional digital shopping experiences. Through a forward-thinking, results-driven approach, Astound Commerce serves leading global brands such as adidas, L’Oréal, Under Armour, Jimmy Choo, Lacoste and Versace. Founded in San Francisco in 2000, the passionate team of nearly 700 dedicated, diverse industry and technology experts has decades of ecommerce experience and more than 400 implementations under their belt to address the complex challenges, advancing technologies and unique needs of global markets. To learn more, visit

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Rachel Gulden
Walker Sands Communications
+1 312-967-0530
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