Of the top 100 retailers in the U.S., 30% do not have mobile apps for iOS or Android devices, according to mobile solutions provider Xtreme Labs. And for those that do, there are still areas where consumers want to see improvement, including that many apps crash too often or lack features.
Xtreme Labs pulled retailers from the 2012 annual STORES Top 100 Retailers report and, in January 2013, analyzed publicly-available ratings from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Of those 100 retailers, 65% had an app for iOS devices, 61% were on Android, and 56% were on both.
“For the most part, these retailers have not done a great job of using mobile to its potential,” Jeremy Black, director of retail for Xtreme Labs, told AdExchanger.
Mobile apps, especially those that become a day-to-day necessity for consumers, can drive sales, he added. “We’re talking about incremental sales and dollars from existing customers and turning occasional customers into premium customers through this integration.”
The highest-rated apps for iOS included Walgreen’s, CVS, Chick-fil-A, Ikea North America, and Subway. The lowest-rated apps were for Burger King; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Michael’s Stores; Giant Eagle; and Kohl’s.
For Android devices, the top-rated apps were for CVS, Amazon, Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and Walgreens. The lowest-rated apps for Android were Giant Eagle, Kohl’s, and Meijer.
“Interestingly enough, the only two retailers that received favorable ratings across both platforms are the drugstores CVS and Walgreens,” Xtreme Labs wrote in the report. “These are both ‘utility’ apps that fulfill everyday customer needs, and as such are more likely to be in the coveted position of a device’s home screen. This ‘necessity’ positioning is what all retailers should strive to achieve, as it drives engagement.”
Black added to this sentiment, saying that every company can work to become a more important and necessary part of their customers' lives: “If you understand your customer, understand how they use digital technology, and understand how those digital technologies can bridge every stage of the customer journey, you can become a more integrated part of that customers’ life.”
However, there is still work to be done on these mobile apps, as consumers had similar complaints for both operating systems:
As retailers start to leverage mobile more often, whether that is through mobile apps or a mobile-optimized website, Black said mobile advertising can be a great way to close the loop when connecting with customers.
“We need to figure out how to close the loop and the best way to do that is to drive people into native experiences,” he said. “That creates engagement because you’re involved in a two-way conversation with your customers, and there are more tracking opportunities and more opportunities to collect data.”