Touchable Apps: Exploring the Usage of Touch Features and Their Impact on Engagement
Touch has become an inseparable element of mobile platforms. This study examines the use of different touch features and the impact of these touch gestures on consumer engagement with a mobile shopping app. We focus on three informational touch features that are common among shopping apps: touch to zoom in on a page (zoom-page), to view product details (product-view), and to be directed to outside links (open-webpage). We develop a two-level model that captures (1) consumers' decisions to stay with or leave an app and (2) their use of touch features. Our main results empirically demonstrate the strong explanatory power of informational touch gestures, especially their dwell time, in consumer app browsing decisions, whereas navigational touch gestures do not significantly affect app stay likelihood. A longer dwell time and early use of zoom-page within a session encourage the stay. Moreover, we observe strong synergy and antergy (negative synergy) among these touch gestures. The cumulative dwell time and temporal progression of touch gestures affect subsequent touch feature usage. Managerially, our results suggest that an early intervention that encourages the use of zoom-page increases app stay likelihood, and marketers may apply our model to quantify the impact of such interventions on consumer browsing decisions at the individual level. The results also shed light on how marketers can infer the stage of the shopping process based on touch gestures (segmentation) and guide consumers through the purchase funnel by promoting the use of zoom-page and product-view. Lastly, the findings provide insights into how marketers can promote the use of open-webpage, which has the lowest baseline usage rate yet is crucial for transactions, based on the synergy among touch gestures and through improving the non-native browsing experience.