Categories: Business / Mobile Apps


Retail is an industry ripe for disruption, and there are plenty of great retail mobile apps out there making that disruption happen. In fact, 59% of customers now use retail mobile apps while shopping in store.

Let’s take at a few of the top performers and how they’re doing it.

1 Gap’s “in stock on shelf” app

Clothing retailer Gap found that one of their customers’ biggest frustrations is not being able to find the item that they want in their size. Often, that item is actually available in store – it’s just in the store room rather than on the racks.

Gap’s new “in stock on shelf” app, also available at its Banana Republic and Old Navy stores, is the answer. It lets staff know what’s on the floor and what needs to be replenished. It also helps customers find the size that they’re looking for. Plus one for user experience.

2 Sephora’s personalized beauty app

Starbucks knows how to leverage user loyalty.

Starbucks knows how to leverage user loyalty.

Sephora is a power player in experiential retail. They know that their customers want to try before they buy – and their retail and app experiences are based around this. One of the most common refrains is that customers wish they could try on every shade of lipstick before entering the store.

With Sephora’s retail app, they can. The app’s Virtual Artist functionality lets consumers scan their faces and “try on” makeup products before they even enter the store. Three months after its rollout, Virtual Artist was responsible for more than 753,000 basket items. Those are pretty solid stats!

That’s not all Sephora offers. Its mobile app also uses location alerts to know when a user is entering a store and serves up tailored offers and product recommendations accordingly.

3 Starbucks’ epic loyalty app

It’s the largest platform for digital payments in the US, and it’s used only to buy coffee. Starbucks’ best-in-class mobile app is a powerful lesson in convenience and loyalty.

Users can place and pay for their order via the app, earn and redeem loyalty points, and send gift cards. They can also find out what songs are playing in a given Starbucks store and add it to their Spotify, and be notified of personalized deals and offers when they walk past a nearby store.

Brilliantly bridging the digital and the physical while tapping into consumers’ shopping habits, it’s a winner for a reason.

4 Nike’s real-time shopping companion app

Nike's mobile app makes DIY shopping a breeze.

Nike’s retail mobile app makes DIY shopping a breeze.

Nike’s retail app brings together many of the elements of the above apps. One thing that’s unique to it is that one of its goals is to let customers get in and out without having to interact with staff. This avoids a common customer frustration of either waiting for assistance or having to turn down help when they’re “just browsing”.

Shoppers can use the app to “reserve” items in-store that will be ready and waiting for either try on or pick-up, and can even reserve changing rooms to avoid waiting in line. If they want to shop a look or request a try on, they can do that through the app – and even handle their own checkout. For today’s shoppers, lines and small talk are becoming a thing of the past.

The app also delivers special perks to Nike loyalty members, who can unlock products, discounts and partner rewards just from using the app.

Ready to join the ranks of the great retail mobile apps?

We’re always looking to partner with people who want to bring a ground-breaking idea to life. If you have a plan for a great retail mobile app and need someone to build it, 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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