Nearly half of fashion brands have launched apps, but all face an uphill battle to attract users. Smartphone owners spend 80% of their time in their three most-used apps –most often Facebook or one of its subsidiaries. Even in the retail category, 39% of consumers use at most two retail apps on a regular basis (one of which is most likely Amazon), and 21% use no retail app at all.

Number of retail apps used

Brands like Paul Smith and Prada have given up their app attempts due to the bleak situation. However, L2’s Mobile report finds that retail apps can be successful by focusing on driving transactions, rather than lifestyle content.

Nordstrom offers such an example. Through savvy omnichannel and social media integration, the brand’s app garnered a 23-point lift in consumer satisfaction. In response to growing demand for omnichannel commerce, Nordstrom incorporated features like geolocation notifications and in-store pickup. The brand also drove word-of-mouth marketing by including links to its blog, Instagram, and video content.

Lululemon also saw a clear return on investment from its app. Like the brand site, the app focuses on commerce, and it has similar features to the mobile site, avoiding a steep learning curve. Three out of four people who downloaded the app end up using it, according to L2’s study, and the app accounts for 8% of online sales.

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