Apps from pharmaceutical chains CVS and Walgreens and Amazon were the highest-rated across both the Android and iOS platforms. Among the worst: Those from Kohl's and Giant Eagle.
The study by app development and strategy firm Xtreme Labs evaluated apps from the top 100 U.S. retailers as compiled by Stores Magazine in 2012. by app development and strategy firm Xtreme Labs evaluated apps from the top 100 U.S. retailers as compiled by Stores magazine in 2012.
The top-ranked apps were determined based on a combination of their overall rating (out of 5 stars) and their percentage of favorable ratings (3 stars or higher), among titles with more than 50 downloads.
The lowest-ranked were selected the same way except the average rating for each was combined with the percentage of negative ratings (less than 3 stars). App ratings in the Google
Play storefront and App Store were reviewed from Jan. 16-24.
CVS and Amazon were the top-rated apps in Google Play -- each receiving 4.5 stars and having 90% favorable ratings. Others included Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy and Walgreens.
In the App Store, Walgreens and CVS were both tops with 4.5 stars and 82% favorable ratings. Chick-fil-A, Ikea and Subway
rounded out the five highest-rated apps.
By contrast, Meijer, Kohl’s and regional supermarket chain Giant Eagle had the lowest-ranked retail apps for Android devices, with 2.7 to 2.8 stars. Kohl’s and Giant Eagle were also at the bottom of the App Store rankings, with 1.5 stars apiece. Michael’s Stores, Bed Bath & Beyond, Burger King and Harris Tweeter were also among the lowest-rated.
A full 30% of the top 100 retailers don’t have either an iOS or Android app. Complaints often center on performance -- a third of Android users and almost a quarter (23%) of iOS users cited crashes as a problem in reviews posted to both app storefronts.
“When a quarter of all complaints involve app crashes, it should serve as a wakeup call that consumers will quickly go somewhere else, like eBay or Zappos to fill their needs,” said Jeremy Black, director of retail at Xtreme Labs.
Even if they don’t fail outright, he said too many retail apps don’t offer consumers a complete experience. They might do well in product browsing but fall down when it comes to handling purchases smoothly. Many apps also aren’t designed with the concept of assisting users while they shop in brick-and-mortar stores.
The best apps, like those from CVS and Walgreens, use mobile to bridge the online and physical worlds. These apps focus on utility, letting customers to do things like fill prescriptions and navigate store aisles.
Given Amazon's reputation for customer service and its online-only business, it’s not surprising to see the company also atop the retail app rankings. Black projects that in the next six months more brick-and-mortar retailers will start to create full-service apps to combat showrooming and meet the needs of smartphone-wielding customers.
Xtreme Labs has created apps and done mobile-related work for clients including Groupon, Evite, Citysearch, Fandango, CIBC Mobile Banking and Shutterstock.