Categories: Business / Mobile Apps


Retail mobile apps are big business. In 2018 consumers doubled the number of retail apps they use, and the usage stats are impressive. 49% now use apps for making purchases, 60% for browsing products, and 50% for cutting coupons. Not only that, but retailers posted their biggest-ever app-based sales across last year’s major holidays.

Needless to say, a great app can mean great things for your bottom line. Here are 7 features your retail app needs if you want to maximize engagement and loyalty.

1 One or zero-click purchasing

Amazon lets you buy with a single click. Now Domino’s has gone one better with its zero-click ordering. Customers just open the app, wait ten seconds, and they’re done. The key here is friction – or lack of it. If you can make it as easy as possible for customers to make a purchase, they will.

Does your retail mobile app have QR functionality?

Does your retail mobile app have QR functionality?

2 Smart product search

A search bar is the bare minimum these days. Ideally your app will use a customer’s past search history to serve up relevant products in the right sizes, colors and styles. But you also want to allow for additional ways of finding what they’re after. Camera search is great for this – you point your camera at the product you want and your app brings up the applicable listing. Asos and Amazon both do this well.

3 QR and barcode scanners

Scanners are a great way for customers to easily pull up product information while shopping in-store. Some apps, like Nike’s, let them scan and check out all in one go – without having to go to the register. If you haven’t already, implement a scan-and-go function so that your users can easily get product information, reviews, trends and tips at the tap of a button.

4 Location-based services

Wouldn’t you love to be offered a personalized deal when you walk into your favorite shop? Location-based services such as iBeacons make this a reality for mobile app users. Apps such as those from Sephora and Starbucks are able to greet customers with special deals, offers and product alerts based on past purchasing habits. It’s a great way to give the people what they want, when they want it.

Push notifications can engage retail mobile app users.

Push notifications can engage retail mobile app users.

5 Multiple payment options

Paying should be simple – and versatile. Don’t risk losing sales by failing to offer the right payment options. Ensure that you support credit payments as well as payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Paypal. Your sales stats will thank you.

6 Handy push notifications

Done well, push notifications can drive engagement for your retail app. Ideally you’ll use them to notify your users of special deals, offers, news and loyalty rewards. One of the most popular consumer requests is push notifications with discount offers – so tailor your app to deliver offers that your end user will want to take advantage of.

7 Loyalty rewards

It’s probably a given that you downloaded the WholeFoods app after its buyout from Amazon. Why? The loyalty rewards. Loyalty rewards are a critical component of a successful retail mobile app, so ensure that your app has rewards built in. You can either tie it in to your store’s reward program, or offer special perks for mobile app users. Either way, you’ll win points with consumers.

Retail mobile apps are accounting for more and more of today’s overall retail spend, and a retail app that delivers what users want can mean great things for your bottom line. If you’re looking to build a high-performing retail mobile app, get in touch!



Touchtap is a digital agency specializing in mobile-first development.We can build your mobile app for you.

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