Retailers Embrace Mobile Apps as the New Storefront

Over the past year, the pandemic has dramatically shifted the way businesses do business. Especially during the early days of lockdowns and social distancing, consumer behavior shifted. Less and less time was spent in-store, and more time and money was – and still is – spent online. Convenience and safety have become top priority.

To accommodate consumers’ needs and preferences, retailers have adapted and evolved their approach to ecommerce. Mobile commerce was something many businesses were simply experimenting with, investing in or thinking about before COVID-19. The pandemic definitely was the force that led many retailers to move mobile commerce solutions to the forefront.

Top Priority: App-Based Strategies

App-based strategies have quickly moved into the spotlight. According to research from Criteo, 88{94a118ca39e850cede9c8687bd9d1077643c5dbfdda5e51465d800f542ad06e5} of time spent on mobile devices happens in apps. Data also shows that apps have three times the conversion of the mobile web. Now, retailers are being encouraged to place their app front-and-center as the main entry point for omnichannel commerce.

Here are just a few of the benefits retailers are already seeing and the force behind the ramped up competition for the digital dollar:

  • Successful apps drive more frequent visits and lead to larger basket sizes.
  • Apps go beyond mobile web experiences by incorporating better and more responsive navigation – enhancing the overall user experience.
  • Apps also have better flexibility when it comes to integrating customer service and chat features.
  • Apps provide significant advantages for retention and re-engagement (e.g. push notifications for abandoned cart messages or special offers).
  • The best apps do not require users to re-login, increasing the likelihood that shoppers will engage frequently.

Mid-Sized Retailer Achieves Massive Growth

A great example of a mid-sized retailer achieving massive growth and success through focusing on an app-based strategy is H-E-B. This Texas grocer had focused on enhancing its app just before the pandemic hit. Features like digital coupons, self-checkout and in-app donations were already part of its structure. When the pandemic began, H-E-B experienced a 1,050{94a118ca39e850cede9c8687bd9d1077643c5dbfdda5e51465d800f542ad06e5} increase in monthly active users and hit revenue goals ahead of schedule.

This success shows any company, regardless of size or category, can become the favorite option for consumers with the right app strategy – even during a pandemic. The key is to focus on building effective user acquisition (UA) strategies. For example, businesses need to develop a comprehensive approach to acquisition across in-app, social and search channels.

According to research, mobile commerce will account for over half of ecommerce by the end of 2021. The most successful retailers will be those who have genuinely embraced and run with mobile-first and shifted their storefront to their user-friendly apps.

Payment industry guru Taylor Cole is a passionate payments expert who understands the complex world of He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to stocks to cryptopay. He enjoys eating pie with ice-cream on his backyard porch, as should all right-thinking people.