10 Best Retail Apps of 2019

August 19, 2019

According to data from the Synchrony 2018 Digital Study, 67% of consumers have downloaded a retailer’s app. More than half of those people said they downloaded the app to take advantage of a coupon or discount offer. Furthermore, 57% of shoppers report using a retailer’s app while in their store, according to a Yes Marketing survey from earlier this year. Mobile apps are no longer an optional technology for retailers. They are crucial tools for increasing shopper satisfaction, boosting customer engagement, and enhancing both the offline and the in-store experience.

With in-app usage time increasing by 60% in 2018 compared to just a few years ago, in 2016 (see: App Annie’s State of Mobile 2019 report), we decided to find out what retail apps customers are loving right now.

In doing our research, we considered the following factors: app store ranking, app store reviews, media and blog mentions and in-app innovations like personalization through Artificial Intelligence (AI) or usage of Augmented Reality (AR). A good retail app needs to be more than just a handheld version of a retailer’s website. It should be practical, innovative, engaging, and offer a seamless, on-brand experience.

Here are our top 10 picks for best retail apps of 2019 (in no particular order):

 

1. The Home Depot

(#56 Shopping App, 4.6 Stars in App Store)

 

Core app features:

  • Account: track orders, save lists across devices, personalized homepage, view in-store receipts
  • Instant checkout: buy items in as little as a single step
  • Store guide: find nearby stores, pick a product, check inventory, tap the map
  • Find the perfect color with the project color app
  • Shop local offers and weekly ads
  • Create a shopping list
  • App exclusives: turn on notifications to get savings alerts
  • Image search: shop similar products with app image search
  • Special buys of the day (discounts with a countdown of availability)
  • Book installations services

 

Why it made our list:

The Home Depot app contains a host of ultra-practical features, making the online and in-store shopping experience as efficient and seamless as possible. It was also rated the #1 retail app by Forrester, and the #5 store-based retailer app in terms of time spent in 2018 according to App Annie.

 

2. H&M

(#30 Shopping App, 4.7 Stars in App Store)

 

Core app features:

  • In-app promo codes
  • Clothing catalog
  • Magazine
  • Loyalty program: join for 10% off, exclusive offers, free online returns
  • Save favorites
  • Location-based offers
  • Fashion updates
  • Scan barcodes to search for product info (like price or sizing availability in-store and online)
  • Use your own photos of clothes or shoes to find similar-looking items in stock

 

Why it made our list:

The H&M app lets you scan items for real-time item availability, both in-store and online. You can also upload pics to find similar-looking items, get notifications for sales/fashion events and includes other useful info, like when an out-of-stock item is back in stock.

 

3. Target

(#10 Shopping App, 4.9 Stars in Apple Store, Editors’ Choice Award)

 

Core app features:

  • Enable notifications for order updates, back in stock info, alerts, deals
  • Search and scan products
  • Weekly ads
  • Catalogs
  • Cartwheel offers (deals)
  • Birthday party ideas, college prep, and other tips
  • Make a shopping list and see related cartwheel deals, works across devices
  • Target wallet: offers, coupons, gift cards, Target Redcard all in one place for fast checkout
  • Siri shortcuts: use voice commands to save time and taps

 

Why it made our list:

Currently one of the most popular retail shopping apps in the App Store, the Target app features a host of cool features like cartwheel offers, practical shopping advice, push notifications for deals and back-in-stock products, as well as built-in Siri shortcuts to save time and taps. The Target app was ranked by App Annie as the #2 store-based retailer app in terms of time spent in 2018 and the #4 top retail app by Forrester.

 

4. Best Buy

(#54 Shopping App, 4.8 Stars in App Store)

 

Core app features:

  • Access to your My Best Buy account so you can track and manage purchases
  • Find products ready for pick up in one hour
  • Daily deals, student deals, and deals inspired by your shopping history
  • Weekly store ads
  • Saved items and lists
  • Help center
  • Scan products
  • Find trade-in value for old electronics
  • Search for open-box items in store
  • Preview item in your home

 

Why it made our list:

Functional and straightforward, just like its stores, the Best Buy app is filled with money-saving deals, product guides and other helpful information, like the trade-in value of your electronics. One of the coolest app features, however, is the ability to “preview” an item (like a TV) in your space to ensure it fits before you buy it.

 

5. Lululemon

(#156 Shopping App, 4.9 Stars in App Store)

 

Core app features:

  • In-store inventory information
  • Community and health events (eg. Seawheeze 2019, a half marathon in Vancouver)
  • Store happenings: yoga classes and online courses
  • Save favorites
  • Community section with yoga and mindfulness lessons
  • Real and authentic stories by Lululemon ambassadors
  • Behind-the-scenes gear videos

 

Why it made our list:

The Lululemon app is user-friendly and focuses on community building. It includes easy access to store happenings, online lessons, and inspirational ambassador stories that promote healthy living and holistic wellness.

 

6. Sephora

(#63 Shopping App, 4.7 Stars in App Store)

 

Core app features:

  • Easy access to Beauty Insider account
  • App-only exclusives
  • Notifications for new launches, beauty deals, other special announcements
  • Find beauty classes, events, shopping tips
  • Voice search within the app, eg. I need a dark red lipstick, show me the most popular foundations
  • 24-hour early access on Wednesdays to new products
  • Create lists
  • Rewards bazaar
  • Beauty offers
  • Community: Groups (eg. Everything Eyes, Lip Lovers), Conversations (Q&A), Gallery of looks
  • Virtual Artist: try on a variety of beauty looks without actually putting on makeup!
  • Download virtual tutorials

 

Why it made our list:

The Sephora app is jam-packed with helpful beauty advice, in-app exclusives and innovative technology that enhances the shopping experience. Our favorite feature? The Virtual Artist tool. It uses AR technology to swap out makeup looks on your face using your camera (in selfie mode). Simply raise your eyebrows to change your look! The Sephora app was also rated the #2 retail app by Forrester.

 

7. Walmart

(#3 Shopping App, 4.7 Stars in App Store)

 

Core app features:

  • Easy access at the top of the app to categories like back to school, summer shop, electronics
  • Top-rated products
  • Product guides
  • Easy reorder section 1 tap away
  • Barcode scanner
  • Store finder and aisle location for products
  • Pharmacy
  • Money services
  • Lists and registries
  • Weekly ads
  • Custom cake ordering
  • Next day delivery

 

Why it made our list:

It’s no surprise that the single biggest retailer in the US is also one of the most downloaded retail apps in the world. The Walmart app is chock full of practical features like lists, easy reorders, store finders, barcode scanning, and shopping guides, featurin