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CVS, Walgreens, Amazon mobile apps receive highest ratings from users: report

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March 5, 2013

CVS, Walgreens and Amazon have the top-rated mobile applications, with each receiving an average of 4.5 stars, according to a new report by Xtreme Labs.

The Xtreme Labs Retail Apps Report looked at how customers rated the top 100 United States retail mobile apps and found that on the iOS platform, Walgreens and CVS had the highest-rated mobile retail apps, while on Android, the best retail apps are from CVS and Amazon. However, a number of retailers received fewer than three stars, suggesting that many retailers are not using the mobile channel to its full potential.

“The big story here is that of the top 100 retailers in the U.S., only a fraction have made investments in creating products that truly enhance the customer experience,” said Jeremy Black, director of business development at Xtreme Labs, Toronto.

“What we’re seeing is that only about two-thirds of the top 100 retailers have built native mobile experiences, and of those two-thirds only a fraction have done it from a customer-centric perspective,” he said.

“Native experiences are best for ongoing engagement and loyalty, and with analysts estimating $689 billion of mobile-influenced purchase intent by 2016, now is the time for these retailers to build digital strategies that further integrate their brand and experience into customers lives.”

Utility apps score
With consumers increasingly turning to mobile for shopping related activities, retailers need to offer compelling mobile apps if they do not want customers to go elsewhere.

Some retailers are doing a good job of meeting customers’ expectations.

Others near the top of the list include Chick-fil-A, Ikea North America and Subway on iOS. On Android, Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy fill out the top of the list.


The Walgreens mobile app

The popularity of apps from drugstore chains Walgreens and CVS suggest that utility apps that fulfill everyday customer needs such as refilling a prescription are highly valued by consumers.

Numerous apps receive less than three stars from users.

The most frequently cited reasons for a negative review on the iOS platform was a lack of features, cited by 26 percent; crashes cited by 23 percent; poor design with 22 percent, and a lack of compatibility across all Apple devices with 16 percent.

The lowest rated apps on iOS are Kohl’s and Giant Eagle, with an average of 1.5 stars each while Michaels Stores, Bed Bath & Beyond, Burger King and Harris Teeter each had two stars.

Passbook compatibility
Interestingly, 13 percent cited a lack of compatibility with Passbook as the reason for negative review, pointing to how quickly Apple’s new mobile wallet has caught on with users.

“The most common complaints from users in the app stores was that the applications lack functionality, perform poorly/constantly crash and that they are poorly designed,” Mr. Black said.

“What this tells me is that most of these retailers have not invested adequately in meeting their customer expectations with a high quality and customer-centric experience,” he said.

“I think this is the equivalent of walking customers into a messy/disorganized physical storefront, which no retailer would allow.”

On Android, the lowest-rated apps are Meijer with 2.7 stars, Kohl’s with 2.8 and Giant Eagle with 2.8.

The reasons for negative reviews on Android include crashes – 33 percent; does not work as intended – 26 percent; lacks features – 25 percent; poorly designed – 21 percent, and not user friendly – 17 percent.

QSRs perform poorly
The number of users citing a lack of features as the reason for a negative review points to the fact that some retailers are so anxious to enter the mobile space quickly that they are launching very basic apps without key features that users are looking for, such as in-app purchasing.

Xtreme Labs recommends retailers define a complete feature set and roadmap of when each feature will become part of a product  before developing an app.

To address the problem of applications that crash frequently, it is important that retailers find reliable development partners that thoroughly test apps under multiple conditions and variables.

“The quick serve restaurants did very poorly,” Mr. Black said. “This surprises me because much like the drug stores – who did very well – QSRs have the opportunity to provide a lot of utility and integration into their customers’ day-to-day lives.

“There is such a natural fit for QSRs and mobile, however, thus far, they have focused their efforts on marketing as opposed to customer experience,” he said. “In addition, they have Starbucks leading the way, so it should be easy to be a fast follower.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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