Software App Stores And The Implications For eCommerce

For eBusiness leaders, software app stores represent a new and disruptive distribution channel for PC and Mac software.

Three weeks ago, Apple launched its App Store for Macs, following in the footsteps of the hugely successful app store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. With the new Mac app store, Apple is hoping to change the way Mac users discover, download and purchase software. At launch the store contained more than 1,000 apps, and Apple was keen to report an impressive 1 million downloads on the first day. For Mac users it’s a compelling story:

  • A convenient one-stop shop. Users can launch the app store right from the Mac dock, revealing a powerful set of discovery tools to browse and search the library of apps on offer. eCommerce best practices are employed throughout including search, faceted navigation, what’s hot, top sellers, favorites and customer reviews to create an intuitive discovery experience.
  • Frictionless purchase and install experience. Downloading and buying in the app store is a simple one-click process. By linking the checkout and payment process to users' iTunes accounts, Apple is able to streamline the buying process significantly versus a typical multipage checkout process common on software publishers' eCommerce sites. The apps in the Mac store have been packaged to comply with the Mac app install process, making the installation quick and seamless compared to the multistep install process common with most software.
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The Data Digest: The Role Technology Plays In Brick-And-Mortar Stores

With the increasing uptake of technology and online shopping, consumers are getting more comfortable using technology in the store, as well. Data from our North American Technographics® Retail Online Survey shows that consumers like to be informed while they are shopping — they want to be able to access product information instantaneously, and they want to be more independent shoppers (without the help of sales personnel).

The items at the top of the list are those that allow consumers to find product information quickly — with majority of respondents reporting that they found in-store price scanning and computer kiosks valuable (84% and 66%, respectively). The fact that self-checkouts were the second most valuable in-store technology exemplifies how consumers want to be more independent while shopping: It shows that they are willing to take on that responsibility themselves in order to get in and out of the stores quickly.

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Commerce Technology Coverage Expands! Welcome Peter Sheldon

I am thrilled to announce that Forrester is expanding our coverage of commerce technology and services with the addition of Senior Analyst Peter Sheldon. Many of you are likely readers of Elastic Path’s excellent blog and, therefore, will be familiar with some of Peter’s work. Peter brings a strong background in eCommerce, mobile commerce, and digital content, most recently serving as product manager at Elastic Path Software where he had been responsible for the road map and strategic direction of the Elastic Path commerce platform.

Peter and I will be collaborating closely on our research on commerce technology and services. We have a lot planned. In 2011, a few of the key areas you can look for expanded research on from us include:

  • The changing nature of multichannel commerce solutions.
  • eCommerce/Commerce platforms.
  • Mobile commerce.
  • Full-service eCommerce service providers.
  • B2B eCommerce solutions.
  • Digital commerce solutions (content and software).
  • How to select a systems integrator.
  • The changing nature of search and discovery solutions.
  • Content management for commerce.
  • Shopping APIs and commerce syndication.
  • Global eCommerce technologies and services.

Please join me in welcoming Peter to Forrester, and I know we all look forward to our expanded commerce technology research.

Thanks, Brian