Are Customers Using Retail Apps?

Lauren Krause
Posted by

The digital age has heralded the use of technology in all aspects of commerce. Grocery stores, music stores and even the local bakery are using mobile technology to market their products to customers. But getting customers to download retail apps onto their devices is only half the battle; the real challenge is getting them to keep the apps and actually use them.

Not too long ago, savvy consumers were excited to discover their favorite department stores had websites. Now, a consumer does not even have to log on to a website to see sales or promotions, because these can be accessed directly from a smartphone. Mobile retail apps are the latest tools companies are using to help boost sales. All a customer has to do is download the app, and it will provide information about the store, its sales or promotions and any other messages the company wants to share with consumers. Some stores' apps even read bar codes and can help consumers find merchandise or apply discounts to specific products in real time.

However, although these programs are readily available, getting consumers to use the retail apps can be a challenge. According to some research, consumers frequently download apps, use them once and then never use them again. The apps then sit on customers' devices, unused, until they are eventually deleted. To help boost sales, it's not enough for consumers to have a store's app, they have to actually use it.

Stores that create apps that are interactive have more success than stores with static apps. Some large chains are even using push technology to remind customers about sales or promotions when they approach certain departments. If customers find value in the app, they are more likely to both keep and use it.

Successful apps have a few common traits. These retail apps work on the most well-known platforms, such as Apple and Android, but they also work on a wide variety of devices including smartphones, tablets and ereaders. Apps that provide pertinent information, are used more frequently, so an alert for upgrades is a good idea so the app is always working at an optimal level. If it is easy for the consumer to find and update the app, and there is important information being provided, customers are more likely to value the retail app.

A business with a retail app will only benefit from the app if they make it accessible and valuable to consumers. Companies who can create apps that savvy consumers count on for value and convenience are the companies that remain successful and stand out from the crowd. As technology evolves, so will the use of apps and other tools that can help consumers make smart buying decisions.


Photo courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch