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How have apps changed the way we shop?

As mobile technology simplifies the way we go about our daily lives, how have apps changed the way we shop?

Sophie Porter 30. Sep 2016 5 minutes
mobile friendly design

It’s an undeniable fact that exciting advancements in mobile technology over the last few years have changed the way we go about our daily lives; when we want to know the answer to something, we ‘Google it’, when we want to catch up with the latest news, we turn to the BBC News app, and when we want to shop… well, these days, we simply open up our favourite shopping app and get down to business! So, how have apps changed the way we shop?

Only a few years ago, shopping was still considered a lengthy affair – if we wanted to stock up on our weekly groceries or needed a new outfit for the upcoming office party (complete with glitter and sequins, of course!), we’d have to trapes round the shops for half a day, and clamber back home with a lorry-load of shopping crammed into the tiny back seat of our city cars; then spend an hour putting it all away, whilst battling with a needy cat at our feet who desperately wanted its dinner, and the inconvenient sales call about PPI we never even knew we had.

Shopping was a rigmarole, even when searching for the fun stuff. But, these days, with the advent of the app – or mobile application – shopping is a completely different experience; convenient, easy, and something we can do without even considering leaving the house.

However, shopping apps haven’t only changed the customer experience, they’ve changed businesses too… and here are 3 ways we can think of when considering the question: how have apps changed the way we shop? From both a business and a consumer perspective:

  • The customer knows all: chances are, when a customer walks into a shop to purchase something, they know exactly what they want, and they know everything they need to know about it – that’s why they’re buying it. Shopping apps arm customers with all the information they need to make an informed, but spontaneous purchase, and search for exactly what they need, before they go and buy it.

  • Selling convenience: customers no longer have to leave the house to make a purchase if they don’t want to, and with an app they don’t even need to search for a specific brand or shop! With a few touches of a few buttons, customers can have their items delivered right to their door in 24 – 48 hours (sometimes even quicker!). And the best part about a shopping app? It’s always there, sat on their home screen, reminding them every day that they could just make one little purchase and would hardly have to lift more than a finger…

  • Personal recommendations: it’s always been true that word-of-mouth is a powerful tool for any business; people listen to people and, if someone’s sister has had a great experience at the local department store, for example, or their best friend Charlie has just bought something really cool from some obscure Indy shop in the middle of nowhere, people are likely to go out and try it out for themselves. But, with the evolution of the app, this is truer now than ever before – customers can leave instant reviews, popular bloggers can trial products for their audience to see, and conversations like: “have you tried this app? It’s great for…” are likely to flow over lunchtime small talk in the office, followed by a real time download and trial.

How Apps have changed the way we shop

Conclusion: how have apps changed the way we shop?

We could probably talk about the economic and social impact of shopping apps for another 600 words, but for now, we’ll leave you with this final thought…

£100bn was spent exclusively through online shopping in 2014, according to thisismoney.co.uk. Talk to us about your app ideas.

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