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By 2015, 33 percent of consumer brands will integrate payment into their branded mobile apps, according to research firm Gartner.
In the next three years, it said this trend will unfold so that brands can sell directly and enhance the customer experience. This trend will be more pronounced for brands with retail outlets, such as those in the fashion, food and drink, grocery and entertainment sectors.
"Many consumer brands have launched branded apps that focus on marketing activities such as offering product information, checking loyalty points, and collecting coupons and offers. A few early adopters have integrated payment functions into their apps. Brands need to help consumers make purchase decisions in an efficient and personalized way," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.
"Branded apps should be good shopping apps in the first place, and payment is only the final step before making the sale. To achieve this, they will use a combination of mobile apps, text messages and Web browsers to engage customers and increase sales. In developed markets, apps will lead the way, whereas in emerging markets text messages are likely to dominate initially."
Consumers might prefer to use an aggregator app — a single app from which they can access multiple brands. Such apps can be online marketplace apps or specialist apps dealing with location information, promotional offers and travel. Branded companies' apps will have to compete with these aggregator apps in terms of richness of offering and user experience. Only those that deliver compelling value and user experience will last.
In the report, "Predicts 2013: Businesses Will Take Consumer Apps to the Next Level," Gartner has highlighted the key predictions for consumer apps in 2013 and beyond. They include:
*By 2016, more than half of consumers will use digital cloud services as their primary form of storage for digital content.
*By 2016, most pay-TV operators in developed markets will have launched "pay-TV as an app" on smart TVs.
*By 2016, wearable smart electronics will be a USD10 billion industry