SaleCycle’s team have picked some of the mobile commerce apps that have impressed them over the last year.
Mobile commerce sites have improved a lot over the last few years, and pundits had predicted that this would make retailer’s apps redundant.
However, apps still have a big part to play for retailers. Often used by the more committed customers, they’re a great retention tool which can allow retailers to provide a more personalized experience for loyal customers.
A recent Criteo report found that apps account for 54% of mobile sales among its clients, ahead of 46% for mobile web, showing the value of apps.
So, in no particular order, here’s our pick of the best apps. These apps might be the ones we use most regularly, contain features that have impressed us, or provide a great all-round experience.
“An obvious choice, but it’s an app I use a lot through sheer convenience. There are now apps that look better and deliver flashier features but Amazon was one of the first to see the potential of mobile commerce.
It launched apps early and its barcode scanner became a real pain for traditional retailers as shoppers used it for ‘showrooming’ – viewing items in stores and checking to see if they were cheaper on Amazon.” Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief
“Vivino is a social wine network that allows you to scan the label of any bottle to unearth the price, description, food pairings, rating, reviews and more importantly, where to purchase.
On top of the already impressive bottle scanner, Vivino app learns what wines you like based on your taste palate, and recommends bottles that you may like via email – or offering the purchase direct within the app.
It’s a fantastic way to brush up on your wine knowledge and to discover new wines, all while being made to feel part of a community. I’ll drink to that, cheers!” Phil Docherty, Customer Marketing Manager
“You can purchase flights directly within the app, and find all of the usual tracking and upsell cross sell info.
A key feature is the ability to scan in your passport to save time when checking in. Simply line up your passport within the on screen guides, and the app scans and populates all of your passport data in under 20 secs. No more double and triple checking you entered your passport info correctly.” Chris Gascoigne, Video Marketing Manager
“Vinted is a marketplace dedicated to secondhand fashion (clothes, shoes, accessories) that allows users to buy and sell items directly in the app.
What I like about this app is its simplicity, easy product forms, tips to take the best pictures, to paying options… you call literally ‘open your online boutique’ in minutes.
What’s more, Vinted especially nailed two important parts of the buying process: a very wide choice of delivery options to match each customer needs and clever, non-intrusive, smartphone notifications when someone wants to buy one of your items.” Caroline Baudin, Marketing Manager, South EMEA.
I have the ASOS app on my iphone, ipod and ipad. Literally, a device for all occasions! I love that the experience feels the same and the sync feature lets me share my Saved Items and my Shopping Bag across them all.
The app looks really attractive, navigation is very clean and even with frequent use, I’ve still never seen an ‘oops’ page.
I love the card scan payment because lengthy checkouts are a personal bugbear, but my favourite features are the ability to share products with friends, which (sometimes) helps me prevent the all too frequent fashion faux pas of my youth, and that the app sends me notifications about promotions and sales, which means I don’t miss the bargains. What’s not to love?!” Rebecca Waiting, Global Head, Strategic Account Management
6. OCBC Pay Anyone
“OCBC’s Pay Anyone app makes it simple to send money to anyone in your contacts list in a few easy steps.
No need for long bank account numbers or personal details, just choose the contact or enter a phone number or email address. The recipient can then choose which account they’d like the money deposited into and OCBC takes care of the details.” Katie Ash, Product Marketing Manager.
“I love the PayPal app. Not only is it a fast and easy way to pay friends and check your balances, but the way it opens up when shopping on a mobile website saves me so much time.
I don’t need to reach for my wallet or remember the card number, security code and pet’s favorite color. Put simply I love this app because it makes it so much easier and quicker to buy things.” Jack Ford, Acquisition Marketing Manager.
“Airbnb has been a lifesaver for me in the past. When I was in Barcelona with a friend we had issues with our hotel and we wanted to leave. After a lengthy battle we received a refund but we had to leave immediately so we had to find somewhere to stay right away, and this is where the Airbnb app helped.
It’s simple to use. By selecting the nearby option on the search, and a few quick tweaks on the filters to find something within our price range, we found a place almost immediately.
I was amazed that within 40 minutes I had created an account, paid and was booked into an ideal apartment which was cheaper than our first place.” Taylor Ottaway, Marketing Apprentice
9. Lucky Trip
“This app is awesome for travel inspiration. Set your budget, tap lucky and before you know it you’re planning your next weekend vacation.
The search options splits up the screen beautifully into three split image sections, showing the destination, accommodation and an image of something cool to do. If the first one isn’t quite to your taste, hit lucky and see what awaits.
This app makes unique trips find you and with summer coming to an end, a few nights in Crete with a wood cabin as a base, teamed up with a few surf lessons sounds perfect to me. It’s the perfect streamlined experience to find an awesome holiday – way better than any travel agent could offer.” Nic Weschenfelder, Marketing Executive.
“Moneybox is a money saving app for people who (like me) make most of their payments by card (or phone/watch!). The app tracks every purchase you make and gives you the option to ‘round-up’ each payment to the nearest pound.
So for example, if you spend £2.40 on a coffee – you can round it up to £3 on the app and save or invest (it offers different levels of risk) the additional 60p.
The UX is gorgeous and it genuinely makes you want to save as much as you can, which with Christmas around the corner, is no bad thing! ” Chris Sheen, CMO
“I don’t buy much online, but there is an app which really makes my life easier: Voyages-SNCF. This train app allows the user to add a travel booking and modify the date or hour later. An email is sent to the user’s mailbox few days after to remind him he has to modify or book the travel.
I am living far away from my family and friends, and always have something planned on weekends, so I often use this option to organize my agenda. This pleases my parents as the more organized I am, the more I can visit them!” Amélie Combe, Content Marketing Executive South EMEA
12. Just Eat
“A man with a figure like mine doesn’t order a takeaway very often. However, when I do the last thing that I want is to be sifting through crinkled takeaway menus from shops that may or may not still exist. Nor do I want to be looking at how every shop claims their Parmo is the ‘Best in Teesside’.
Just Eat helps rid the saturday night takeaway of this mundane task, allowing you to search specifically for what you’re fancying and what’s more, everything is accompanied by customer reviews. “Rats in the kitchen” “Pizza had the base of a moccasin” all of which are extremely helpful when decided how to spend your hard earned cash!
Further to this, there’s no need to have any human interaction at all, if you choose not to. You order via the app, you pay by the app and can even ask the driver to throw it through your window if that’s what you desire. A great app, helping people stay fun, fat and antisocial.” Matt Anderson, Marketing Executive.
Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.