Apple to Debut New Shopping Vertical in the App Store Today

In anticipation of the holiday shopping rush, Apple is creating a “Shopping” category in the App Store. This new choice for mobile shoppers moves e-commerce apps from the Lifestyle heading to their own section and brings the number of app categories up to 25. With this option at your fingertips, it should be easier than ever to find apps that connect you with products from your favorite brands.

Improving the Shopping Experience
According to analytics from Flurry, mobile shopping via apps grew 174 percent in 2014. This only serves to drive home the fact that more people are relying on smartphones and tablets rather than computers to do their shopping. With this in mind, retailers are looking for more ways to reach out to mobile consumers and connect with them in ways that make shopping as easy as possible.

If you’ve ever compared app shopping to shopping on an e-commerce website, you know that apps are more streamlined and better suited to mobile devices. Greater numbers of brands are striving to bring high-quality shopping experiences to their customers through every possible channel, knowing that people prefer to interact with and buy directly from companies they trust. Apple’s new app category aims to deliver everything you could want in terms of mobile shopping by increasing access to apps from retailers of all sizes.

Catering to the Mobile Consumer
With more people now using their mobile devices to make purchases, the nature of the holiday shopping season is becoming more fluid. It’s no longer necessary to wait to score big deals, and a recent Google survey showed that 54 percent of shoppers plan to use their smartphones to take advantage of early low prices. You can get started with apps from these popular retailers and coupon sites:

• Amazon
• eBay
• Etsy
• Groupon
• LivingSocial
• RetailMeNot
• Shop Savvy
• Macy’s
• Shopular
• Target
• Walmart

In addition, it should be easier to find apps from lesser-known companies since they’ll no longer be buried among unrelated lifestyle apps. This gives small businesses a chance to snag their share of the mobile sector, a market that Forrester Research predicts will grow to $252 billion by 2020.

Paying on the Go
The growth of mobile shopping is leading to changes in the way that people pay for purchases. Apple is making provision for this shift by integrating Apple Pay into many e-commerce apps. Using Apple’s payment method speeds checkout on your mobile device by eliminating the struggle of trying to type billing and shipping information into tiny boxes on the screen. All of your payment data is stored in one place and can be accessed by apps as well as physical payment terminals equipped with near field communication (NFC).

As a consumer, this means you enjoy fast, easy payments at all your favorite retailers. Companies benefit from Apple Pay’s track record of decreasing cart abandonment rates. Cart abandonment commonly occurs when customers reach the point of checkout and become so frustrated with the process that they give up before completing purchases. Using a single standardized payment method lets these customers pay in one step no matter where they’re shopping rather than having to create new accounts for every website or app.

Apple’s new “Shopping” option is scheduled to appear on November 5, several weeks before the usual Black Friday frenzy in the US and just in time for its Chinese equivalent, Singles Day, on November 11. If you’re the type to get a head start on holiday shopping, grab your smartphone and check out what this category has to offer.