Collectively, UK consumers check their smartphones over a billion times a day. This is driving not just the rise of mobile commerce, but application use – Statista predicts that 15.5 billion apps a year will be downloaded in the UK by 2018.
So, what is it that people love about apps, and which retailers are getting their application strategy right? We polled 1,000 UK shoppers to find out – and here’s the start of our countdown of the top 10 retail apps. If you can’t wait to find out who’s number one, you can skip to the top five here.
10 – HMV
This is a surprise entry to the top 10, given that HMV entered administration in 2013. Embracing digital music sales has played a major part in the retailer’s recovery strategy; its app offers similar services to iTunes, in that users can download, sync and playback online purchases.
Users can also curate their music purchases into playlists, which are still playable in offline mode.
9 – River Island
As fashion retailers go, River Island is really trying to bridge the online/offline divide through its app, by enabling shoppers to scan products in store for more information.
In terms of the app functionality, fashion fans can create and save wish lists that can be shared with friends, receive the latest news and updates on River Island trends, and locate their nearest store.
Downloaders of the app say it’s easy to use and they like seeing models wearing the clothes to get a sense of how they’ll look. Although some users struggle with the small thumbnail images and number of push notifications they receive.
8 – Topshop
Another fashion brand trying to bring digital capabilities into bricks-and-mortar, Topshop’s app allows customers to scan products in-store to purchase online later, or to check stock availability at another store.
Editorial is an important application feature, as downloaders have access to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, plus styling and make-up tutorials. Users can also shop ‘bundled’ products, such as ready-styled looks.
User feedback praises the ability to filter items by size, colour and style, but there is some historic criticism of freezing and crashing (although recent comments say this is much improved).
7 – Superdrug
This is the first app on our countdown driven by loyalty, rather than engagement opportunities. Superdrug’s application digitises its incentive scheme, giving users the chance to collect points online and in-store, through a single portal.
Superdrug has also moved from the pure ‘points mean prizes’ model to offer exclusive content to app downloaders, such as member-only prices, a weekly Treat Thursday promotion and a birthday surprise. Plus, users can ‘check their look’ by taking a snapshot and sharing with friends.
There’s been a lot of praise among consumers for the value this app yields, but some frustration with having to enter card details multiple times, and basic information being wiped during updates.
6 – New Look
The ranking of this app is slightly surprising, given that it’s less sophisticated than some other fashion brands that are lower down the top 10. However, much of New Look’s success is down to reliability and easy of use.
Buy online, the latest promotions and store finder capabilities are all present on the app, as is a fashion trends discovery section – including content on how to recreate celebrity looks. Users can also ‘bag’ purchases for later or share items they like via social media.
Praise among downloaders include quick to use and a much better layout than the New Look website. This tallies with our own research, which found that 21% of consumers find retailers’ apps easier to use than their respective websites. However there are some requests for design tweaks on New Look’s app – such as removing the home button from the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
Discover the UK’s #1 retail app – click here for numbers 5-1.