What do customers want from eCommerce apps?

What do customers want from eCommerce apps? Colm is the editor of MarketingTech, with a mission to bring the most important developments in technology to both businesses and consumers.

Purchasing items through a mobile app is becoming an increasingly common practice. Back in the dark ages of 2014, only 12% of total US ecommerce was done through mobile. By 2020, it is estimated that that group of early adopters will have swollen to 45% of all ecommerce spend.

This growth will spur more and more brands to create their own ecommerce apps. But aside from offering customers and easy way to purchase your products, do brands really understand what customers actually want from these apps.

Leading B2B research firm Clutch has surveyed ecommerce app users to try and determine what features they want from the apps they choose to download.   

Why do consumers use ecommerce apps?

The research started by asking people why they felt the need to purchase through apps rather then doing so through mobile sites.

The top four reasons that consumers gave for using ecommerce apps were:

Deals and offers

68% of respondents reported choosing to use an app in the hope of securing better deals and offers from the brand.


65%cited the main reasonas being the ability to buy tweezers at four in the morning or new socks on the morning commute.


For 62% of survey respondents it was the ability to more easily compare products and prices on their mobiles that was the main motivator for downloading an app.

An example given was Walmart’s app, which not only allows users to compares prices across different store locations, but also from other online retailers.

Time savings

55% use their apps to speed up the purchase process at a physical store. The best example here is Starbucks, which has 13 million active loyalty members and 27% of its customers paying for purchases on their mobile app.

What features do consumers want?

A brand’s initial assumptions that consumers only want to use ecommerce apps for browsing and purchasing are not borne out by the findings. In fact, it is further personalisation of their retail experience that consumers seem to be craving.

When asked about what features they would like to see adopted by the apps the use, the main answers were:

Personalised discounts

59% of respondents want their apps to personalise their in-store experience, such as entitling them to discounts or allowing them to read reviews or view different product options.

Discount notifications

While 63% of consumers currently use their preferred apps to get deals and offers, 84% would opt-in for push notifications about deals and discounts. 85% would like to receive discount notifications based on their past purchases.


80% of consumers want their apps to sync up with a brands loyalty rewards schemes, as most people don’t always carry their cards around with them or remember passwords.


70% of consumers would like their app to recommend products to them based on their past purchases.

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