To identify trends, innovations, and usage rates within the retail app space in order to better understand the value of retail apps as a bridge between digital and in-store experiences for consumers. Research must specifically provide the following: 1) an analysis of usage rates, 2) companies that have used retail apps in innovative ways, 3) recent trends in the retail app space, and 4) consumer preferences regarding retail apps.
A recent Shopgate survey reveals that roughly half of all retailers consider mobile retail apps a top business priority. There are three models that retailers can use in the development of a mobile app: 1) an agency model, 2) an in-house model, or 3) a platform model.
- Agency models involve hiring an outside design agency to create an app and write the required code.
- In-house models use staff members with the necessary skills to design the company's app and write its code.
- Platform models use a third-party platform to host a company's retail app.
RECENT TRENDS IN THE RETAIL APP SPACE
- Business are using retail apps to engage with shoppers through customer loyalty programs. Users' apps are personalized to suite individual tastes, and loyalty programs often involve a points system or specialty coupons for brand enthusiasts.
- In-store engagement features allowing users to scan product bar codes or shop online and pick up orders in-store tie together the brick-and-mortar and digital shopping experiences.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) features utilize phone cameras and audio functions to provide consumers with a 3D shopping experience. Stores like Macy's, Walgreens, Walmart, and Home Depot have been experimenting with this technology.
- Stores use push notifications to encourage retail app users to take a specific action. They had a 7.8% click-through rate in 2018.
CONSUMER USAGE RATES
- In a recent Yes Marketing survey, 57% of consumers stated that they use retail apps while shopping at brick-and-mortar locations to take advantage of coupons and other deals.
- Only 33% of shoppers use their smartphone apps to make retail purchases, and 49% of consumers state that they prefer using tablets or computers when shopping online.
- Consumer usage of retail apps increased by 60% between 2016 and 2018.
- Brick-and-mortar retailers with the highest number of app users in 2018 included Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Kroger, and Home Depot.
- According to a Business Insider survey, 35% of millennials consider Amazon's retail app one of their "top 3 most essential apps."
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