Mobile retail apps have a foothold with their target audience, and there’s a big opportunity to capitalize on that market — both in terms of driving sales, and as a way to build better customer experiences.

To do that, obviously, retailers must respond to what consumers have come to expect from their mobile apps. Connection is important, and there are a number of variables brands have to consider.

As Payment Week points out, app sales grew by 70 percent between 2014 and 2015 alone. That trend has continued into 2016, resulting in a formidable retail app marketplace where consumers are finally willing to spend their money. But conversions are only one metric of an app’s success. The trick is building a mobile asset that accommodates a number of consumer activities — and do so on a reliable basis.

Here are three key features every mobile retail app needs to offer.

Mobile Shopping Options

Consumers are more comfortable shopping through a mobile app, and retailers would be crazy not to build this possibility into their mobile app experience. Online stores are the obvious starting point, but product recommendations and streamlined mobile checkout should also be prioritized.

A mobile app is very likely to be associated with a specific user account, so personalized shopping experiences are an opportunity to elevate the experience.

Omnichannel Integration

Consumers frequently use their phones when shopping in stores, and retail apps should improve this experience. Access to store inventories, digital customer assistance, and integration with clienteling technology will all help shoppers get more out of their in-store visit.

Brands should seek creative solutions for wielding mobile apps as assisted shopping tools, expanding the level of in-store personalization that sales associates aim to offer on a one-to-one basis.


Consistent experiences are critical. When shoppers have a bad experience, they are far less likely to attempt the same experience in the future. If a retail app disappoints thanks to connectivity issues, bugs, unfriendly features and other shortcomings, it will quickly kill the ROI potential of the app.

This aspect of the mobile app experience is important enough that brands should use it as a guide for what their experience includes. If you aren’t able to deliver consistency through a flashy new app-based feature, it isn’t worth deploying to the masses. Avoid biting off more than you can chew, and aim instead to offer seamless, satisfying experiences every time — even if they don’t leverage the possibilities of the app itself.

As with many aspects of retail, the design of a mobile app often reflects how well they know their consumer base. Let that be a guiding light in any effort to build a better mobile experience.