While consumers spend 90% of mobile time using apps, retailers’ offerings account for less than 10% of those minutes. Yet brands continue to launch them, hoping for a chance to boost sales. The majority of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail have iOS apps, all but a few of which facilitate m-commerce.

A few retail apps stand out from the crowd. These are the four retail apps with the highest ranks in Apple’s App Store:

Top apps

Brands without the name recognition of Victoria’s Secret or Sephora can emulate their success by adopting similar features. M-commerce-enabled apps with lifestyle features enjoy the highest App Store ratings, according to L2 research – suggesting they are the most popular with consumers. (The term “lifestyle feature” refers to any extra non-commerce functionality, such as Sephora’s makeup visualizing tools or Abercrombie’s music playlists.) All four of the top apps are m-commerce-enabled, and three have lifestyle features – highlighting the importance of these functionalities.

App rating by characteristic

In contrast, the apps with the lowest ratings were “pass-thrus” – apps that provided the same experience as the brand’s mobile site. This suggests that when they download retailer apps, consumers are looking not only for the ability to shop on their phones, but also for a unique experience.

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