Today’s Retail Apps Meet mCommerce Purpose But Fail To Inspire Omnichannel Shopping

(Brendan Miller and Madeline King)

The Forrester Industry Wave™ evaluates digital experiences of firms; they highlight digital best practices from leading firms and help our clients better understand what digital strategies will best win, serve, and retain customers.

Retailers have more work to do on their apps to inspire omnichannel shopping. In 2019, smartphones will influence 32.2% of US offline retail sales. With more than $1 trillion on the line, we selected nine top US retailers to see what kind of digital experience they bring to the table online and in-store. Retailers need to stay focused on app features that add rich customer value or risk losing their app users, who are also likely their most loyal customers.

We identified four leaders: The Home Depot, Sephora, Walmart, and Target. Home Depot decisively takes the leading spot with its best-in-class in-store capabilities. All four leaders distinguish their apps by adding customer value beyond mCommerce. Here are some of the ways they stood out:

  • Leaders have a simpler in-app checkout. Too often, retailers’ apps have tedious checkouts, forcing users to click through four or five pages to make a purchase. Sephora proves to be best-in-class with its two-step checkout. Retailers are not keeping up here, though. Not one of the nine retailers offer anything like Amazon’s one-click checkout.
  • The Home Depot best connected the app to the in-store shopping experience. Home Depot offers superb in-store visual item mapping data and exact inventory availability. Every retailers’ app offers in-store barcode scanning capabilities that advance to product pages, but no app offers guidance on checkout steps, leaving users to flounder when completing the sale in-store.
  • Target leads with predictive search and robust filtering capabilities. Target is the only evaluated retailer that allows users to filter by shipping preference. Home Depot also leads as one of the only retailers to execute voice and visual search well. Most of the evaluated retailers failed to facilitate the search process with intelligent search capabilities and robust filtering and sorting.

Forrester clients can read the full report here.