Apadmi’s Retail App Report:
The importance of integrating
mobile into a retailer’s
Study produced by Apadmi, the UK’s leading mobile retail expert | November 2015
of Brits who own a smart
phone usually take it
shopping with them.
The majority of Brits (65%) use
their favourite retail apps at home.
41% use them on the move and
31% use them whilst in store.
If an app was free of charge, 74%
of smartphone users would be
more likely to
said they would be more
likely to download an app
if it allowed them to browse and buy
products quickly and easily
said if it complemented
the in-store and website
said if it provided offers
on products they purchase
At present the majority of Brits
(55%) go to the store and also use
the website of their favourite retailer.
Only 11% of people use all channels
including the store, the website and
the app, demonstrating the need for
retailers to implement a strong omnichannel
strategy and address app
engagement among it’s customers.
users in the UK
use retail apps.
71% of Brits
surveyed think that
there is a gap in the
market for more
improved retail apps.
When asked questions
around retail loyalty schemes,
said they own more
than one loyalty card,
said they regularly
collect points on a loyalty
card and spend them
Our research shows that
of adults in the UK use
their favourite retail apps a
couple of days a week.
With just 2% using
them every day.
80% of people
would be happy
to collect loyalty
points on their
when they walk
around the store.
A significant 61% of people would stop
using a retail app if it was slow and
unresponsive. And 26% would think less
of a retailer if its app was poorly designed.
We asked our respondents what
their favourite features of retail
said being able to
said offers and
said a loyalty
Our research also
discovered that 35%
of Brits would be
worried to pay for
products using their
phone because of
Personalisation is key.
of people would want
messages and deals that
are personalised to their preferences
would be happy for
an app to recommend
similar products to the ones they’ve
Only 17% of Brits think that
mobile apps offer a better user
experience than a website.
of respondents already use a
26% retail app to purchase items
don’t use a retail app to
41% purchase but would like to
In terms of how apps communicate with customers,
of Brits said that they
would be annoyed if an
app sent them irrelevant
content or offers
said they would delete
an app if it sent lots of
promotional messages that
were not relevant to them
Hello and welcome to
Apadmi’s Retail App Report.
My name is Nick Black
and I’m the CEO of Apadmi,
the UK’s leading mobile app
developer. We develop apps
for clients such as The BBC,
The X Factor, The Guardian,
BT, Aviva, EE, Lexus and
many of the UK’s most
well known retailers.
Retail is an industry that is constantly
evolving. The proliferation of mobile
throughout our lives is dramatically
changing the way that consumers
interact with retailers and vice versa.
The introduction of retail mobile apps
has helped to improve the shopping
experience for many consumers, and
with more people moving online and
onto mobile to shop it’s also enhanced
sales and revenues for retailers. And
this year having a good mobile site
has become even more important for
retailers, as Google now ranks mobile
friendly sites above those that are not.
As well as traditional mobile retail
experiences, we’re seeing an influx
in new technology too that is helping
to shake up the industry. Technology,
such as iBeacons, NFC and beyond,
is allowing consumers to have a
personalised and interactive relationship
with stores like never before.
With all of these exciting developments
taking place, the mobile retail industry
is only set to flourish. In 2014, online
consumer spending in the UK retail
market surpassed £100 billion for the
first time, a 14% increase on 2013, and
mobile devices now account for around
a quarter of total online retail sales in
the UK. Recent research from Barclays
also suggests that UK consumers are
set to spend £53.6bn a year using their
smartphones and tablets by 2024, so
it’s important that retailers get ahead
of the game and learn how to make
the most of this exciting opportunity.
That said, there is still a way to go.
A study by the Centre for Retail
Research found that the UK retail
industry is sacrificing £6.6bn per
year due to lack of investment into
its mobile offering and it’s this lack
of investment which could be why
90% of people delete apps within
the first year.
So to ensure retailers really take
their mobile strategy seriously
and offer customers a convenient
and personalised mobile shopping
experience that they want to keep on
using, we’ve commissioned our own
research to get an insight into how
smartphone shoppers in the UK are
using retail apps at present, and their
thoughts of where they want them to
go. We will also offer tips for retailers
on how to provide the best mobile
Who is this report for?
This report is aimed at retailers who
are interested in learning how mobile
technology might fit in with their
strategies, whether they be developed
or not. While a number of retailers
have already developed apps and are
exploring new technologies, are they
really hitting the mark with consumers?
As well as exploring consumer’s
thoughts on the retail apps currently
out there, the report will look into how
mobile apps and technology can help
reshape the retail industry, and we will
discover how apps can help retailers at
every touching point with consumers.
For example, how apps can best help
with customer acquisition, customer
loyalty and retention, customer
experience and customer purchase.
With this we want to help the retail
community understand what mobile is
capable of, where it’s heading and what
After reading this report, it’s our hope
that some companies will be inspired to
launch their own retail apps, or review
and refresh others that may already
have been created. We want to ensure
that businesses don’t just build a retail
app for the sake of it; rather, they build
an app that is genuinely valued by its
users and one that provides real benefit
for the companies commissioning them.
So what are
the key findings?
To better understand the growing
impact of mobile devices in the retail
sector, we asked 1,000 UK smartphone
users a number of questions to find
out how they are currently using
their phones for shopping and, what
they think about retail apps. We also
explored their preferences and how
the shopping experience, using mobile,
could be improved.
97% of Brits
who have a
it with them
With the vast majority of Brits taking
their smartphone with them when
they go shopping, it presents a
massive opportunity for retailers to
take advantage of. As well as offering
mobile payment options, retailers could
utilise indoor location technology such
as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
to interact with customers. One
way they could do this is by sending
tailored notifications to a customer’s
phone, depending on where they are in
the store, to engage with the customer
and encourage them to spend or take
advantage of offers.
Retailers need to invest more
in their omni-channel strategy
To maximise sales, retailers ideally
should be connecting with users on
multiple channels and touch points.
Omni-channel is the new marketing
buzzword, which means retailers
need to provide a seamless shopping
experience regardless of the device or
channel. In other words, if a customer
wants to browse and view a product
online, buy it using their phone, and
return it by dropping it off at the store,
they are able to do so with ease.
However, our research has revealed
that not all retailers are using each
channel to full effect.
Brits are mainly (55%) interacting with
their favourite retailer by visiting the
store and using its website. 22% of
people only shop in store, 8% use its
website only, and 2% use its website
and app without visiting the store.
Just 1% use the app only and 1% go
to store and use its app. And only 11%
shop in store, visit their website and
use their app.
Retail apps are on the rise but
more can be done to encourage
continued and frequent use 65%
The use of retail mobile apps rose
by 174% in 2014, and consumers
continue to use mobile apps at
considerably high rates.
Our research found that 85% of
smartphone users in the UK currently
use retail mobile apps. And of those
that have downloaded them, 20% use
their favourite retail app a couple of
days a week, and 19% use it once a
week, which is great news. However,
18% usually use it once or twice then
forget about it. 16% use it a couple of
days a month and only 2% use their
favourite retail app every day. It’s clear,
therefore, that retailers have some
work to do to increase usage and
engagement of their apps.
We also wanted to discover when
people are more likely to use retail
apps - the research found that:
the majority said
they use it at home
said they use it
whilst on the move
use it in-store
use it when they
are at work
Most people mainly use retail
apps for browsing products
29% Product information
Based on the aforementioned data,
it’s clear retail apps have a growing
user base, but we wanted to go
one step further to find out what
consumers actually used the apps for.
Below are the findings:
12% Delivery solutions
53% Browse products
45% Loyalty scheme
49% Offers and promotions
42% Click and collect
33% Find nearest store
29% Product information
12% Delivery solutions
Despite customers mainly using
apps to browse products, 27%
admitted they would want a retail
app to do more than just display
products that they can buy.
Consumers think retailers could
do more for mobile shoppers
When asked why they thought more
could be done to improve retail apps,
respondents stated that current apps
are slow (21%), they don’t provide
enough offers or a loyalty scheme (34%),
functionality could be better (56%),
payment methods could be easier (43%),
apps could offer better information and
advice (27%), and apps could be better
tailored to my needs (44%).
Our research found that a
sizeable 71% of UK smartphone
users think there is a gap in the
market for more improved retail
apps. Only 29% did not agree.
21% too slow
34% no offers/loyalty scheme
56% poor functionality
43% difficult payment methods
27% poor information/advice
44% not tailored
What’s more, the research
also found that only 17% of
those surveyed think mobile
apps offer a better user
experience than a website so
there is still lots that can be
done to improve the retail app
experience for consumers.
There is no reason why apps,
in todays ‘mobile first’ society,
can’t become the key delivery
mechanism for consumers.
So what would make a
consumer download a retail app?
Our research showed that consumers really value apps that are helpful and can help
them to solve a challenge, which illustrates why retailers need to think more smartly
about how their apps touch customer acquisition, loyalty, promotion, sales and
payment, for example. In terms of an app’s functions, the study found that:
would download an app if it
allowed them to browse and
buy products quickly and easily
would download it if it
complemented the in-store and
website shopping experience
would if it provided offers on
products that they purchase/use
would download an app if it
offered a loyalty scheme that
they could get involved with
would be inclined to download an
app if it is more convenient and
easier to use than a website
are interested in apps that are
genuinely useful and enhance
the shopping experience
would be more likely to download
an app if they could pay for their
shopping on it without hassle
The survey also revealed that
74% of UK smartphone users would
download a retail app for the main
reason that it is free of charge.
In terms of recommendations,
47% would download an app
if it had good reviews, 12%
would download it if a friend
recommended it, and 11%
would be swayed to download
it if they saw it advertised
and it looked useful.
Retailers need to reinvent
loyalty schemes for mobile
Loyalty schemes are a great way to
acknowledge a customer’s loyalty by
adding value to their visits and giving
them a reason to return in the future.
Customers value loyalty schemes as
our research found that 51% of Brits
own more than one loyalty card, and
46% regularly collect points on their
cards and spend them.
But as more consumers move online, it
would be wise for retailers to integrate
their loyalty schemes into their app as
our research found that 80% of people
would be happy to collect loyalty
points on their phone, including when
they walk around the store. 29% would
also be happy to share their location
with a retail app to gain incentives and
loyalty points in the store.
At present, only 20% of UK
smartphone users already interact
with a retail loyalty scheme on their
phone. But our research found that
consumers can see the benefits and
many would be keen to get involved
in a mobile loyalty scheme.
would prefer to collect loyalty points
on a mobile app rather than a card to
free up space in their wallet
admitted they sometimes forget to bring
their loyalty card with them when they
go shopping, which they find annoying
said they would be more likely to bring
their phone with them than a loyalty
card when they go to the shops
also think it would be easier to know
how many loyalty points they had on
their phone than a loyalty card
What this shows is that UK
shoppers are open to mobile
loyalty schemes and it’s now
up to retailers to invest in new
and innovative ways to connect
with their most loyal customers
through mobile apps.
Customers appreciate investment
retailers make, especially when it
is rewarding and thanking them
for their loyalty.
Slow and unresponsive apps will
cause shoppers to switch off
bugbear for mobile
users is when a
retail app is slow
with 61% saying
they would delete
the app if they
came across this
And if shoppers experienced an issue
with a retail app, 27% would abandon
the task rather than try again.
If an app was poorly designed, just over
a quarter of people (26%) would think
less of the retailer and go shopping
User experience is therefore extremely
important, and retailers would benefit
from investing properly in an app to
ensure it provides a seamless, quick and
intuitive experience. Retailers could
also consider offering real time support
if an issue with the app occurs, as 27%
of Brits would appreciate this and be
more likely to keep the app as a result.
While mobile payments are set to increase,
consumers still hold concerns
As well as increasing sales on
mobile, retail apps are shifting the
way retailers drive in-store sales.
Customers are using their retail mobile
apps to research and compare goods
before they step foot into a shop, and
are also beginning to use them to pay
for items in-store. And thanks to new
technological developments, there
are a number of other ways that apps
can help to improve store interaction
for customers, such as sending
relevant offers to them using the
shopper’s location. These are slowly
being introduced and are hoped to
transform the shopping experience.
no plans to
use an app
In terms of our research, it found that
26% of smartphone users already use
a retail app to purchase items, 41%
said that they don’t currently use a
retail app to purchase items but would
like to. 24% said they had no plans to
use mobile payment and 9% said they
did not even know that they could use
their phone to pay for products on an
app or in-store.
With the introduction of Apple Pay
opening up a range of new possibilities
when it comes to making contactless
payments in stores we wanted to
determine how popular it is at the
moment. Because it’s so new, only 8%
of respondents said they have used
Apple Pay to pay for products in-store
but a further 49% said they would
be keen to use apps that use modern
payment options such as Apple Pay.
Security issues are often cited as one of
the main reasons why people would not
use mobile payments and 35% of our
respondents agree that they would be
worried to pay for products using their
phone because of security concerns.
Only 19% would be happy to store
their card details with the app to make
it easier to pay for products next time.
What this shows is that retailers have to
do more to educate consumers around
the benefits of mobile payments, and
alleviate any fears about security by
ensuring measures are in place to
ensure a secure and robust app.
Personalisation is key
Apps are a great tool for retailers
because they can provide an
unprecedented amount of data that can
be used to build up a picture of each
customer and their shopping habits.
Smart retailers should be using this
data to personalise and optimise the
retail experience for their customers to
increase customer loyalty and drive up
sales. For example, Footclicks is a new
technology that has been developed,
which uses the power of shoppers’
smartphones to help retailers to locate
them indoors, where GPS won’t work.
It triggers personalised, contextual rich
messages, offers or loyalty reminders
by location, movement, dwell time and
even the weather outside.
Our research found that customers really value a
tailored retail experience and get exasperated with
retailers who are sloppy in their marketing efforts.
of people surveyed said that they
would get annoyed if an app sent
them irrelevant content or offers
would even go so far as to delete an
app if it sent them lots of promotional
messages that were not relevant
said they often don’t download
retail apps because they think they’ll
overload them with messages and
67% of consumers said that if an app sent them
message and deals they would want them to
be personalised to their preferences, and 38%
would be happy for an app to recommend similar
products to ones they may have bought.
What lessons can be
drawn from these findings?
Based on the findings of our survey
about retail mobile app usage, we’ve
learnt that it is essential for retailers
to focus mobile on real business
touch points, such as customer
acquisition, loyalty and marketing.
With so many consumers using retail
apps (85%) it’s important that retail
companies have an app that stands
up to the brand’s reputation and
contributes to its success. If retail
companies don’t invest in quality
mobile apps, for example they have
a slow app or it is not innovative in
its approach, they’re missing out on
countless opportunities to interact
with their customers and drive sales.
And it’s clear from our research that
customers think more can be done to
improve the mobile retail experience.
There has been much talk around the
‘death of the high street’ in recent
times, particularly due to the threat
of ecommerce platforms. However,
by digitalising the physical shopping
experience, effectively embracing
ecommerce and creating a seamless
omni-channel strategy, retailers are
highly likely to survive and succeed.
By improving a retailer’s presence on
all channels, there won’t be a weaker
link. An example of how retailers could
innovate the high street experience is
by encouraging customers to interact
in-store using apps.
With nearly all smartphone users
(97%) taking their phone with them
when they go shopping, this presents
huge opportunities for retailers to
tap into. Currently only 31% of Brits
are engaging with a retail app while
shopping in-store, so to increase these
numbers brands should consider
investing in a valuable mobile app that is
able to send targeted and personalised
messages or offers when the consumer
is walking around the store.
And with the continued
development of new technology,
this is becoming more of a reality for
retail companies who want to really
connect with their customers and
enhance the in-store experience.
What’s more, the rise of mobile
payments and developments
such as Apple Pay mean mobile
is fast becoming a more integral
part of the retail experience with
consumers keen to explore these
new methods of payment.
The challenge for retailers will
be to ensure mobile payments
are simple and easy-to-use for
customers with an education piece
needed to alleviate any security
fears consumers may have.
It’s clear that mobile apps offer the
perfect solution to unite online and
in-store efforts and can help to elevate
the in-store customer experience
beyond what can simply be offered
through each channel independently.
However, in order to be effective, all
channels need to offer a seamless and
harmonised experience. Customers
want the same retail experience across
both online and in-store channels and
will be disappointed if they don’t
receive a similar level of service.
Therefore, to get ahead of competition,
retailers need to develop a strong
omnichannel strategy to ensure the instore
customer experience matches up
with that received through the website
or mobile device.
Customers appreciate personalisation
and will continue to use an app if it’s
targeted towards their preferences
and doesn’t annoy them with too
many messages or irrelevant content.
So the more a retailer can convince
a customer to engage with an app,
the more data they can get to market
towards their unique needs. What’s
more, if a retailer offers a mobile
loyalty scheme, shoppers are more
likely to engage and stay loyal to the
brand as they appreciate the benefits
are likely to
disengage with a
brand that does
what they want.
So in conclusion retailers
should begin to invest
more into their mobile
apps if they want to stay
ahead of the game. If
retail apps can reap a
whole host of benefits
for both the consumer
and for the business.
They can play a key
role in customer loyalty
and acquisition and can
help to drive up sales
and revenue. Those
that don’t invest in their
mobile app strategy may
lose out more than they
By Nick Black, co-founder and CEO of Apadmi.
For more information, contact me on 0161 850 1300