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If you think for a minute about your shopping habits over the past few years you’ll realize that you’ve changed how you shop quite a bit. Most of this shift is due to everything in our lives becoming more mobile centric. This has drastically impacted the ways in which we are able to interact with brands and their product offerings.

Remember back to when you used to hang out at the mall with your friends, whether it was just grabbing a snack at the food court or checking out the newest video games. These days, people are more likely to hop online or buy what they need on Amazon. It’s common to simply download a store’s app and browse a selection of products rather than making an extra trip out in person.

Mobile commerce is taking over the industry and according to Internet Retailer 2016 Mobile 500, mobile sales have grown 68.7% from 2014 to 2015. As a result, today 303 of the top 500 retailers around the globe have an app. Small stores now need to create their own website and apps in order to keep customers.

With this shift in technology and ultimately customer behavior, brands need to be sure that they are keeping their customers satisfied in a new way. Providing a service is now more than a smile and a tidy shop, it’s an easy to navigate app and a glitch-free digital experience. After all, there is a seemingly unlimited number of online retailers who offer similar goods at comparable prices — it’s just as easy to order from Target as it is to order from Walmart. Unless the experience is flawless the customer will be lost to a competitor after just a few clicks.

So which mobile retail apps are leading the industry and which are falling behind? The Application Resource Center (ARC), the editorial and research arm of app quality and testing company, Applause, analyzed user experience with leading retail apps. The company evaluated 1.2 million app store reviews of the 50 global retailers bringing in the most mobile app sales.


The study reveals that trailblazers such Groupon, REI, Rue La La, Gilt, JackThreads,, and LivingSocial are leading the industry in terms of customer experience. The opportunity to control their experience on their mobile device is empowering customers to shop and explore a variety of stores offerings exactly how and when they want.

Conversely, the report reveals that eleven major brands scored less than 35 including FreshDirect, Staples, Abercrombie & Fitch, GNC, Hallmark (Channel), 1Sale, Gap, Disney Store, Toys “R” Us, and Sainsbury’s.

Applause notes, “no matter the company’s industry, geography or reputation, app users are vocal about their experiences. It’s time for retailers to embrace digital-first strategies that raise the bar for quality to ultimately deliver richer customer experiences that accelerate growth. We hope this report serves as a shortcut to understanding what the leading retailers with the most sales from mobile apps are doing to sustain their mobile leadership positions.”

It will be interesting to see how the retail industry continues to change as a result of technology. We’ve already begun to see virtual reality dressing rooms and drone delivery services are coming in the near future. What’s next and what does this mean for brick and mortar shops? Can they win over their customers and keep up with the growing digital demand?

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