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Mobile commerce apps: What do the download charts really tell us?

19th Jun 2014
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With mcommerce set to be worth $220 billion by 2018, retailers really need to be taking mobile seriously - which means making sure their apps are well up to scratch.

Apps can be a major differentiator among retailers. If developed effectively, they can secure brands a place in the mobile commerce sphere and ensure customers can interact, access content and make purchases wherever and whenever they want – something that’s increasingly important in the age of the connected, empowered consumer.

App Annie has put together a chart of the most downloaded retail apps for the beginning of 2014; a list over which Amazon (unsurprisingly) reigns supreme. Popular discount site Groupon came in second, with the Apple Store down at number eight. Meanwhile, European clothing brand, H&M, managed to grab the available last spot in the top 25.

App Annie notes that the chart reveals some interesting trends which could indicate future changes to the retail experience.

Firstly, in response to the proliferation of showrooming - where customers will go into a shop to check out a product before buying it online - a handful of high-rankers are using their apps to encourage people to make their purchase while they are in-store. Walgreens (3), Walmart (6), Target (7) and The Home Depot (16) have cleverly linked their apps to their physical store fronts, integrated scanning tools for product search, and begun using location technology to offer relevant offers and product suggestions based on where the customer is in the shop. App Annie notes that integrating the in-store and app experience could “drive up to five times as much engagement, which ultimately increases loyalty and sales”.

Secondly, retailers have been using their apps to introduce gamification into the shopping experience. These interactive campaigns work to engage customers and build brand loyalty – showing that apps aren’t just solely for generating transactions. PINK Nation, for instance, ran an in-app scavenger hunt, through which it awarded deals and offers to participants.

And finally, App Annie suggested that the chart shows how consumers are over flash sales and daily deals. Top coupon-based retailers Groupon and Living Social – whose apps charted at number two and ten respectively – have enjoyed success by developing their business models and apps which used to focus on flash sales, but are now concerned with personalisation and diversity of products.

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