According to a new white paper from App Annie titled, “The Growth of Retail Apps: What Retailers Can Learn from Top Apps,” mobile disruption to retail is no longer a distant threat. It’s arrived. Many retailers are now omnichannel and experiencing the benefits mobile can bring to their existing businesses.

By following best practices for retail apps, the white paper notes, including effective user acquisition and engagement strategies, traditional retailers can further enhance their success on mobile. This can result in higher conversion, increased brand loyalty, and more frequent customer engagement.

The retail app environment has changed and technology has provided more options for retailers to build an engaging customer journey, the white paper notes. Consider how the mobile retail sector continues to grow. For the countries analyzed in the white paper, total time spent in bricks-and-clicks retail apps increased by nearly 40% over the past 12 months. Online-first apps increased by more than 50%.

App downloads are growing worldwide, and apps continue to be a disruptive force across industries.

“Consumer behavior has shifted to favor mobile,” the white paper says, “and even a year ago, half of mobile users used their phones during the purchase process (either to find more information or to transact directly). Mobile technologies, such as beacons, mobile payments and push notifications have become long-established components of retailers’ toolkits, and it’s rare to attend a marketing meeting where mobile channels are not discussed. In short, mobile disruption is no longer a distant threat, it’s happened — the shopping experience is omni-channel and our mobile devices are a key retail destination. There are now huge opportunities for those who can thrive in this new environment.”

Mobile retail continues to explode globally. Industry experts predict that there will be continued and dramatic growth over the next few years.

What’s more, today is a new frontier for brick-and-mortar retailers.

“Shoppers are increasingly using multiple channels as a part of the shopping process,” the white paper notes. “Omnichannel customers have been shown to offer higher profitability and larger basket size. Mobile is also an opportunity to enhance the in-store experience. There’s been lot of discussion about the perils of showrooming, yet it seems showroomers are highly likely to make a purchase in the same brick-and-mortar outlet. Ultimately, technology has created more opportunities to engage customers in store than ever before, exemplified by retailers such as Walgreens and Walmart, who have shared the importance of apps to their in-store business. With this in mind, there are a number of key best practices to maximize your success on mobile channels.”

Some of these suggested best practices include:

Flawlessly execute both on the app and in-store because every interaction is an opportunity to delight or disappoint your users

Stay focused on innovation. New technology can offer major enhancements to the customer journey

These recommendations for best practices related to the use of retail apps can help elevate customer engagement and expand brand loyalty.

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