How apps like Spring are changing consumer behaviour

Spring appThe world of e-commerce is buzzing at the moment; Ebay is celebrating its 15th anniversary since the first UK sale and new apps and services are being launched every day, ready to crack mobile commerce.

There’s no doubt that Ebay transformed the way people shop and sell, despite starting off as an online auction business. The website crashed offline last week for the 10th time this year and suffered a major cyber-attack in May that might have compromised the details of 145 million users, but the pioneer is still going strong with just over 19 million Britons visiting the site every month.

The challenge Ebay faces lies in new single purpose apps – such as Spring and Depop, which illustrate the change in consumer purchasing behaviours.

These apps reach beyond simple e-commerce or just social and have become more about creating an engaging dialogue between brands and their customers. To put this into perspective – the Spring app launched a few days ago and is the most advanced effort at photo based mobile shopping yet.

Already termed the ‘Instagram for shopping’, Spring is a sleek new app that allows for quick purchases and is looking to crack mobile-based retail. It enables users to follow brands that they like and scroll through the feed to either love or buy items. Once the user finds an item they are interested in, they can scroll through a myriad of images, all of which come with a description and a price displayed on the feed. If the user decides to then buy the item, they simply click ‘buy’ and choose their size and colour.

The app will only ask for the users address and payment details once, after which shopping becomes as easy as a single swipe. The app isn’t social, but it centers around a photo feed of products, similar to Instagram. Without a social component or public profiles, the app focuses on a single purpose of creating ‘one-to-many’ symmetric dialogues between brands and customers.

Spring is not alone – there are other apps that perform similar functions, such as Depop, which since launch around a year ago, has aimed to trump Ebay with a slick combination of m-commerce and social. Whereas Spring does not venture into social too much, Depop aims to go beyond m-commerce into social networking and offers instant customer service through conversations that are visible to all.

The onset of m-commerce apps illustrates the changing trends in consumer behaviour, as well as the importance of a brand to offer a multi-channel journey to its customers. Social media is not everything – focus on the consumer agenda rather than the agenda of a brand for interaction.

It will be interesting to see how consumer behaviour develops further, as companies gather more data on customers via their digital journey. This data enables us as marketers to understand customers better and appreciate that their journey is not purely social or online. We need to incorporate a broader set of data that allows us to understand what drives the offline activity as well. Only then can we turn the data into insights that help us improve the experience we give to customers.

Bhavesh Vaghela, chief marketing officer at ResponseTap