All apps aren’t created equal, and metrics of success look different across industries based on differences in customer engagement opportunities and goals. In order to fully understand how your app’s experience compares with the market, it’s important to look at benchmarks in your specific app category.

Our 2019 Mobile Benchmarks by App Category report looks at trends and differences across popular app categories, with a focus on Shopping (Retail) apps. Below is a taste of the Shopping-focused data featured in the report, including a “scorecard” showing average engagement and feedback benchmarks for apps in the Shopping category and category-specific tips for success.

The Shopping-focused data and recommendations make it even easier for you to analyze your current strategy, without comparing yourself to apps in other categories who approach feedback and engagement differently due to industry needs. Let’s dive in!

Profile of an average app in the Shopping (Retail) category

Apps in the Shopping category face unique customer feedback challenges. For example, retailers never want to stop a consumer from shopping to gather feedback, but when a purchase has been completed, the consumer is done and they don’t want to be in the app anymore. It can be tough to find a balance between supporting customer goals (i.e. not being disrupted) and supporting business goals (i.e. keeping a pulse on sentiment).

To give you an idea of how the majority of retailers approach gathering customer feedback, below is the profile of an average app in the Shopping category.

Sentiment is the emotion behind customer engagement and is at the heart of understanding, measuring, and improving our relationships. When you monitor sentiment, you try to measure the tone, context, and feeling from customer actions. We tracked sentiment for apps in the Shopping category, and here’s what we found.

3 tips for Shopping (Retail) app success

1. Provide a mobile payment option

Streamlining the checkout process is a smart way to remove friction. Mobile payment makes checkouts faster and easier for customers because they don’t have to pull out their credit cards (or loyalty card and coupons) each time they want to buy something.

For example, Kohl’s is notable for their investment in easy mobile payment capabilities. They recently launched their in-app mobile payment system called Kohl’s Pay, which allows their 25 million credit card holders to save their card in the app’s mobile wallet. Kohl’s took it a step further by incorporating rewards and discounts into the Kohl’s Pay program. When a customer uses Kohl’s Pay at checkout, discounts and rewards are automatically added when the in-app credit card is scanned.

Kohl's Pay

Kohl’s’ mobile app payment process eliminates three steps customers have to take out at the register: their credit card, coupons, and loyalty card. Kohl’s makes their in-store checkout process quick and easy with their mobile app, all while boosting customer loyalty. Retail credit card holders are among the most loyal customers, so allowing them to checkout hassle-free only sweetens the deal.

2. Offer a consolidated digital experience

Similar to consolidated apps with “store mode” (in which consumers aren’t required to download a separate app to aide their in-store shopping experience), retailers can benefit from consolidating the look and feel of their entire digital experience.

For example, eBay executed this strategy by creating a UI that looks, feels, and is organized the same way in-app, on mobile, and online. This allows customers to more easily achieve their goal in eBay without wasting time trying to become acclimated with each channel’s different layout.

eBay app

3. Replace manual chores with digital solutions

People don’t always have the time or desire to stroll leisurely through retails stores picking out clothes to try on. That’s why retailers have created digital solutions for manual chores, essentially turning their apps into time savers.

For example, Nordstrom offers a reserve online, try on in-store option. Customers can browse the selection via the mobile app and select “Reserve Online & Try In Store” from the product detail page items they’d like to try on. Once their items have been located at the nearest store, they receive a text notification, then another when they arrive in-store, which lets them know where they can find the dedicated dressing room with their name and selected items. Not only does this feature make consumers’ lives easier and more convenient, it connects Nordstrom’s world-famous customer service with their mobile experience, so customer expectations can stay high and in-store experiences can be improved.

Nordstrom app

Now it’s your turn

As the above categorical data shows, being customer-centric is not an option anymore. It’s no longer a nice-to-have; it’s the need of the hour.

We release this category-specific benchmark data so Shopping (Retail) brands can understand how effectively they measure their customer experience, communicate with their customers, and earn customer love.

Note on methodology: This report includes data from over 800 unique Android and iOS apps across all app categories, from January 2018 to December 2018. The data was captured by interactions deployed using Apptentive’s mobile communication platform. Benchmarks vary depending on the nature of the vertical and the data in this report will be useful for companies to see how they stack up against the overall market as well as against others in their category.