Mobile is changing everything in retail. Smartphone sales grew last year by 50% as a percentage of online sales and mobile remains a top priority for 58% of retailers. So why aren’t retailers focusing their efforts on developing and maintaining mobile apps? Apps can cost more than $2 million just to build and another 80% of that fee each year to maintain. Retailers miss out on the benefits that apps have such as customer loyalty, repeat purchases among customers and a better customer experience. They will also miss out on the future roll-out of beacon technology. For beacons to work, they require customers to download and opt into an app. In comparison, a mobile-optimized site costs about $200,000 to build. (CNBC)

Siteworx, a digital experience agency, surveyed 3,000 shoppers to find out how they made their purchases this past holiday season. The findings show that certain features made their shopping experience more enjoyable. Here are the key findings: They don’t want to download a retailer’s app unless it’s faster than the retailer’s mobile site. Seeing products front and center is more important to shoppers than ratings/reviews and an easy checkout process. Half of the respondents said they used their mobile phones to find out the store hours and location. (Business Insider)

There are many cost efficient ways to create loyalty. Alex McEachern, a Loyalty Marketing Specialist, shares 7 Ecommerce Segmentation Hacks for Profitable Customer Loyalty. Alex explains how to create a personal connection in ecommerce. These segmentation hacks include improved support for high revenue customers, upgraded shipping for buyers who are placing orders frequently and reminders to buy for last minute shoppers. The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to recipients. Targeted campaigns can be created with a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. When your messaging identifies with customers on an individual level, they are much more likely to give you their loyalty. (Hubspot)

Razorfish shares powerful information on changes and trends in global commerce that we should expect to see this year in their Global Digital Marketing Report 2015. The study has found that mobile dominates the shopping experience and as the mobile payment technology grows significantly, mobile is becoming more important to enhance the brand and retail experience. The report states that brands will have to focus on being useful and not on being interesting. Customers deflect disruptive advertising and choose the brands that offer them value. Brands that are customer-centric are more successful. Consumers prefer cross channel convenience that is lacking by brands. If the brands provide good retail experiences both online and offline, they can stay ahead of the competition. (Razorfish)

Feature Photo Source: Nick Sweetman on flickr

Infographic: To app, or not to app