When done right, shopping apps can empower modern consumers to do more than just browse new products: Shoppers can follow their favorite brands and retailers, make purchases, collect coupons, and earn rewards.

Four hundred consumers surveyed by Heady overwhelmingly use apps with the intent to shop and purchase, with 74% of respondents claiming that was their most-used feature. Most surveyed shoppers also view product photos and read reviews on their shopping apps, indicating a high buying intent. More than half (57.5%) said mobile apps are more convenient than other channels for shopping.

A recent report by data.ai shares a similar finding — highlighting that time spent on shopping apps rose 18% year-over-year, with strong movement in fast fashion, social shopping, and mobile-savvy, big-box players.

As shopping app usage continues to grow, you may want to consider developing your own mobile app to fulfill customers’ needs. Need a little inspiration? Here are three excellent retail apps from popular retailers and brands.

1. Walmart App

The Walmart app is perhaps the easiest way to shop at Walmart. With this app, consumers can order anything — from groceries to clothing, kitchenware, and items available only online. Shoppers can also do the following:

  • Build a grocery basket and choose a convenient pickup or delivery location — or get the order shipped quickly via UPS or FedEx;
  • Get live order updates straight to their phones and track order status any time from the app homepage;
  • Refill, transfer, manage, and pick up prescriptions;
  • Schedule vaccinations and locate testing sites;
  • Use their phones to shop in-store and check out contact-free;
  • Scan items to check prices and build lists;
  • View augmented reality-enabled furniture and home décor items in their spaces with a few simple swipes; and
  • Access store maps and Walmart’s payment system, Walmart Pay.

Previously, shoppers had to visit two apps (Walmart Grocery and the Walmart app) to access everything Walmart offers. But in 2020, the retailer combined the two apps to create a seamless customer shopping experience.

“We don’t ask customers to make two trips to the store, one for groceries and one for all the other things they need, so we shouldn’t ask them to visit two apps,” Janey Whiteside, Walmart’s chief customer officer, shares on the retailer’s website.

Key Takeaway: Keep Your App Experience Streamlined

Walmart originally offered two separate mobile apps, but later unified those apps. Consumers prefer a single app and a simplified shopping experience, notes Klarna, making this a smart strategy.

When developing your app, focus on creating something that consolidates shopping, payment, and post-purchase experiences. Too many app choices can overwhelm consumers and push them away to a competitor.

2. Azazie App

Azazie is one of the leading global direct-to-consumer (DTC) bridal and special occasion dress brands. Their business is built on providing high-quality, affordable dresses.

More than 70% of Azazie’s customers are millennials, ages 25 to 34, who rely on smartphones for online shopping — but typically shop for just one wedding dress — shares Ranu Coleman, Azazie’s chief marketing officer, with Digital Commerce 360.

According to PowerReviews, millennials are largely digital-first buyers, and almost always (99.9%) read reviews when shopping online.

Keeping young shoppers’ behaviors in mind, Azazie launched its app in 2016 to offer brides more personalized shopping experiences and receive feedback from their bridal party.

“While fast fashion apps are designed around loyalty and driving sales, ours is more [about] creating a community experience with the entire bridal party through your app and your device,” Coleman shares.

Within the Azazie app, a bride can:

  • Access the entire collection of dresses, create and share a wish list with others, and receive comments;
  • Create a dress using 70 color choices and more than 250 formal fashion styles;
  • Try sample dresses for $10 to $25 each, in any style, from the comfort of their own home; and
  • Get a dream dress in the right size with a “try at home” filter.

Key Takeaway: Your Customers Are Unique, Develop for Them

Put your customers at the center of your app development process. Get to know their demographics, personalities, and interests. Think about how they interact with your brand, what makes them buy, how many channels they travel through before buying, and so on.

You can always make tweaks and update your app as you go to accommodate new customers. The more you understand your target audience, the easier it will be for you to create a shopping app they’ll love to use.

3. Adore Me App

Mobile optimization is key in today’s digitally driven world.

Adore Me, a DTC lingerie brand, does this well. Everything seems to be mobile-first coming from this brand, especially when they developed their shopping app.

One of the most notable features of Adore Me’s mobile app is push notifications — messages from an app that can appear for users even when the app is idle or unopen. These messages are sent to the shopper’s phone and appear as a notification on their screen (or per their preferences, of course).

Adore Me sends its customers push notifications about new arrivals, sales, and more. This is an excellent way to inform thousands of customers of new updates simultaneously, increase app engagement, and drive revenue.

Apart from push notifications, Adore Me’s shopping app offers other valuable features like exclusive access to app-only deals and in-app chat with their customer service team.

Ranjan Roy, Adore Me’s VP of strategy, shared with Retail Brew that their mobile app has five million downloads — and accounts for 10% of total traffic and 45% of revenue.

Key Takeaway: Make It Mobile-First

When building shopping apps, always take a mobile-first approach. Make sure your app is responsive — meaning it should function well (and look good) on both small and large screens.

You should also consider using push notifications to alert users of special deals or new products. By following these tips, you can ensure that your shopping app is easy to use and provides unique value to your customers.

Using Shopping Apps To Deliver Enhanced Omnichannel Experiences

A shopping app can be a valuable part of a comprehensive omnichannel strategy — empowering brands and retailers to boost sales and strengthen customer loyalty. Remain competitive in today’s crowded marketplace by considering how you can develop an engaging, well-designed app that will enhance your customers’ buying journey.

Download “The Complete Guide to Omnichannel Strategy for Commerce” for more insights on how to meet the shifting demands of shoppers worldwide.


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