Why retailers are seeing app downloads surge

As consumers continue to do far more of their purchasing on the web, retailers are also seeing large increases in the quantity of consumers downloading their apps.

Greatest Invest in reported in the course of its second quarter earnings final week that the quantity of consumers who have downloaded its app have doubled compared to the exact same time final year. Household Depot similarly skilled a record quantity of app downloads in the course of the second quarter. And Abercrombie &amp Fitch reported that the quantity of visits to its app had been up 50% year-more than-year.

Aside from the truth that persons are purchasing far more on the web, retail app usage is also growing due to the fact of a couple of other shifts in purchasing behavior. The coronavirus has led far more shoppers to attempt out solutions like curbside pickup, and quite a few retailers encourage shoppers to view status alerts for these varieties of orders by way of their mobile apps. Second, retailers such as Target and Nike have also attempted to encourage shoppers to use their apps far more for points like contactless payment in shop, or to discover far more about a item with out getting to come into close speak to with a shop employee. “You’ll just see us beginning to market — and even elevate — these shop solutions on our app experiences far more so more than time,” Nike’s president of customer and marketplace Heidi O’Neill told Contemporary Retail in May well.

But, there’s a danger that app usage may perhaps start out to lower after shoppers really feel far more at ease purchasing in retailers once again. The retailers who will get the most out of the existing enhance of app downloads are the ones who provide adequate one of a kind solutions by way of it that will convince shoppers to use it often.

“Walmart, Target, Household Depot, Greatest Invest in — they have all carried out fairly nicely with their apps, but I assume it is largely been demand-driven,” stated Andrew Lipsman, e-commerce analyst at eMarketer. According to Lipsman, these retailers have focused on encouraging consumers to download apps by integrating common solutions into them, like acquire on the web pickup in-shop, rather than carrying out far more explicit e mail or social media advertising encouraging consumers to download their apps. Walmart comes in second on App Annie’s ranking of the most common totally free purchasing apps on iOS in the U.S., with Target and Household Depot coming in at quantity ten and quantity 28 respectively.

In-app solutions most likely gave these retail apps a enhance. Household Depot, for instance introduced wayfinding in its app in 2017, so that shoppers could use the app to navigate shop aisles far more quickly. Walmart, meanwhile encouraged consumers to use its app for solutions that would in the end drive them to the shop, like grocery pickup and refilling prescriptions. At Nike’s Property of Innovation flagship retailers in Shanghai, Paris and New York, consumers can use the app to reserve items that they want to attempt on in shop, and to spend with out getting to verify out with a shop employee.

“The name of the game for us is engagement,” Household Depot’s vice president of merchandising Ted Decker stated in the course of an earnings get in touch with earlier this month, describing the household improvement retailer’s digital method. The far more our consumers engage with our capabilities, whether or not it is in the shop, self checkout, app downloads, delivery, search… that is repeat company and that is buyer loyalty.”

Target is 1 instance of how retailers’ pondering about mobile apps has changed. Back in 2017, Target discontinued its standalone deal getting app, Cartwheel, in favor of integrating far more solutions into its most important app like the capacity to spot a pickup or exact same-day delivery order.

Target’s method to integrate far more solutions to its app was currently in spot just before the pandemic, but has born far more fruit in the course of the pandemic as some are attempting out solutions like acquire on the web pickup in-shop for the 1st time. According to Adobe, acquire on the web, pickup in-shop orders had been up 23.three% involving June and July.

In Lipsman’s estimation, mobile app usage will only most likely enhance in the lead up to the holidays. That is due to the fact the quantity of persons acquiring by way of mobile will go up as far more persons shop in the course of this time. And, with a quantity of retailers — like Target, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods — closing their retailers on Thanksgiving, that could shift far more purchases that ordinarily would have taken spot in shop towards mobile, as shoppers have nonetheless been educated to appear for bargains in the course of that day.

“[Thanksgiving] is going to be the ultimate couch commerce day,” Lipsman stated. “You need to have to be pondering about how to have your app on their telephone currently, so they can be producing their purchases on their telephone on that day.”

Provided the newfound adoption of points like acquire on the web, pickup in shop, retailers have stated that they are attempting to encourage far more mobile app usage by adding far more solutions to their apps. Target CEO Brian Cornell stated that in the course of the second quarter, the enterprise added a new function in the Target app that permitted consumers to far more quickly toggle involving whether or not or not they wanted to choose up their order in shop, or have an employee bring it up into the car or truck. Greatest Invest in, meanwhile is piloting virtual consultations by way of its app, and is functioning on adding the capacity for consumers to see when the retailers are busiest for curbside pickup orders, CEO Corie Barry told investors final week.

“Brands that we perform with, we speak about the worth of taking some of the guesswork away from the point that shoppers come to you shop to do,” stated Kyle Rees, analysis director at Gartner. “The far more of these functions that organizations add to their apps, they can enhance their probabilities to retention.”

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