New Report: “Make An App For That: Mobile Strategies For Retailers”

When it comes to shopping, I have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. Some apps are actually helpful, letting me explore products or buy something immediate. But the vast majority of the retailer apps litter my screens, sitting unused after an initial, disappointing whirl.

My frustration is reflected in the findings of my colleague Chris Silva‘s new report, entitled “Make An App For That: Mobile Strategies For Retailers“. Of particular value is that Chris pivots the report around two major strategies retails can use when it comes to mobile:

  • Enrich: These strategies are focused on driving transactions and measured in total purchases, purchase size or frequency, and purchase-per-store metrics. The ROImodel is simple — engage mobile buyers and grow the business.
  • Engage: Engage strategies are not as transaction-centric as enrich strategies and are aimed at improving user interaction and brand affinity. Engage strategies can provide product information, post-purchase support, or help to provide a presence for retailersand brands with a fully online presence. The focus is on bringing shoppers closer to the brand to drive interaction, not just spend.

The problem is that most retailers approach mobile for mobile’s sake and miss the mark when it comes to delivering value for the mobile consumer. For example, Chris points out that Abercrombie & Fitch’s mobile app doesn’t actually show any of it’s clothing while Longhorn Restaurant’s app has a cool 3D app that lets me cook a steak — but I can’t directions to the nearest restaurant.

What’s Your Mobile App Strategy?

One of the things I love about this report is that it is jam packed with highly actionable advice. Below is an example of a decision matrix which maps our your mobile app strategy options based on type of product and your goals.

Make An App For That, Which Path To Take?

Chris lays out four types of mobile apps that retailers can build, and makes the call on when to use which by writing, “As a rule of thumb, informational applications and Buy/Ship applications are most oftendesigned to build interaction with users and engage new buyers. In some of the strategiesamong brands that have been successful, the winning ingredient in the application is theinformation source the user turns to, which builds trust and engagement with that user todevelop a “go-to” relationship. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, augmenting and, perhaps, fundamentally changing and improving the user’s buying experience can reap vastrewards for the company while solving a real user pain. Regardless of the application choice,the need for a novel tool that solves an actual user’s problem is key to driving customer use.”

Make An App For That, Maturity And Next Steps

But my favorite part is at the end, where there is 1) an assessment tool to help you determine your mobile app maturity, and 2) recommendations on what to do first, second, and next based on the findings from the maturity assessment. I’ve included the recommendation graphic here but you’ll need to link over to the report to see the assessment tool.

Want To Learn More?

Here are a few things to do:

  • Read the report. I’ve embedded it below and it’s also at
  • Attend a webinar Chris is doing on the report on Friday, March 2nd at 10am PT. Here’s the link to register.
  • Follow Chris on Twitter at @802dotchris.
  • Read blog posts about the report from my Altimeter colleagues. I’ve included links to them below.
Chris Silva: New Altimeter Research: Make An App For That
Jeremiah Owyang: Hey Retailers! Refine That Mobile Marketing Strategy