Shoppers may finally be using retail apps
A survey from financial services firm Synchrony indicates that, after years of lukewarm reception from customers, retailer apps may finally be having their day.
Respondents said they regularly use four retail apps per year on their phone, rather than just two as indicated by last year’s survey. Eighty-three percent reported being happy with their retail app experience, and only 21 percent (down from last year’s 35 percent) deleted a retailer app due to a poor experience. Sixty percent use apps to browse products, 50 percent to access coupons and 49 percent to make purchases.
Whether customers will download and use apps from individual retailers has become a perennial question as mobile has grown as both a shopping channel and an auxiliary part of the in-store experience. General lists of top downloaded apps year after year have highlighted entertainment and social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube rather than retailer apps.
However, drilling down into recent numbers for the most frequently-used shopping apps reveals quite significant usage. A Statista report on the most popular mobile shopping apps used in May 2018 shows Amazon, predictably, at the top with 135.7 million users accessing the app that month. Walmart comes in second with 76.1 million. Mixed in among third-party deals apps, however, are individual retailers with monthly app engagements in the tens of millions, like Target (41.4 million), Home Depot (28.2 million), Best Buy (21.5 million), Kohl’s (21.0million) and Walgreens (20.5 million).
One explanation for such a trend could be the improved quality of retail apps from tech-savvy retailers, and improved tie-ins between mobile apps and in-store experience.
Walgreens, for instance, has implemented features aimed at both addressing lifestyle needs of their pharmacy customers and improving checkout convenience. Beyond the chain’s popular Refill By Scan option for prescriptions, the app recently added a Pill Reminder function, secure auto-login, simplified menus and rewards based on healthy behaviors tracked in the app.
This has made the Walgreens app popular with the over-55 demographic, a group making up only nine percent of the population that uses shopping apps weekly.
- Synchrony Study: Consumer Adoption of Retailer Mobile Apps Doubles – Synchrony
- Retail Consumers Adopt New Technology – Synchrony
- Shoppers have a new attitude toward apps, and retailers are taking advantage – Business Insider
- Why aren’t more retail apps being downloaded? – RetailWire
- Top 10 Most Downloaded iPhone Apps of 2018 – iGeek
- Most popular mobile shopping apps in the United States as of May 2018, by monthly users (in millions) – Statista
- How is Walgreens getting older shoppers to use its mobile app? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: To what do you attribute the apparent increase in customers downloading and using retailer apps? What will savvy retailers add to their apps in the coming year to drive higher usage?