Groupon has the top-rated mobile app in the retail industry, according to a study conducted by Application Resource Center (ARC), which analyzed data taken from 1.2 million user reviews posted on the Apple and Google Play app stores. Groupon scored 83 out of 100, while second place finisher One Kings Lane followed with a score of 82.
- As a sector, retail apps posted an average score of 52, well below mobile apps from other industries. ARC only rates apps from retailers that get at least 40% of their mobile revenue from apps.
Retailers that scored in the high 70s include ModCloth, REI and Gilt Groupe. Retail mobile apps that finished near the bottom, scoring 35 or fewer points, include Disney Store, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Toys "R" Us, Staples and others.
As consumers increasingly shop on mobile devices, sticky shopping apps have become a sort of Holy Grail for retailers. About 90% of time spent on mobile takes places within apps, according to Facebook, with 58% of purchases occurring in-app. But while having an app is one thing, having a great one is another.
Retailers can take their cues from the best retail apps: While Groupon hasn't had a great run overall since the daily deals market became flooded with competition, it has made a concerted effort to invest aggressively in its mobile app and be responsive to its mobile app users. Groupon has made a practice of reducing response time to in-app user feedback — and it shows in its mobile app score from the ARC report.
It's not clear, however, that high user ratings directly correlate with high mobile app revenue. It's nice to be well-liked, but Groupon was still burdened by mixed quarterly results earlier this year and is shifting to a more marketplace-focused strategy.
Still, Groupon, One Kings Lane and other retailers that scored particularly high in the ARC ratings are the retailers on the forefront of the industry's omnichannel transition. Whether or not their customers are doing most of their buying via mobile just yet, these retailers are engaging on new platforms as consumers search for products and check out promotions.
For those retailers that scored low, this signifies they may not be investing enough in mobile. Retailers like Toys "R" Us haven't frequently updated their apps, according to Internet Retailer, and it shows in their ratings. These retailers are missing an important opportunity to keep pace with the market and show a dedicated presence on devices their customers are spending increasing amounts of time on.
But poor ratings don't tell the whole story. Staples improved its performance by more than nine points since the last ARC report, for example. When Staples spoke to Retail Dive late last year about its mobile efforts, the company noted it was trying to make mobile the linchpin in its omnichannel strategy. Now, users seem to be telling Staples that it's heading in the right direction. Other retailers, take note.