Loyalty Apps Part 1

7 of the best customer loyalty mobile apps in retail - part 1

  • 7 mins read
Rob Verheul
by Rob Verheul
Managing Director

Graphite's Managing Director and a BIMA 100 winner. Also on the BIMA Young Talent Council, which is focused on creating a pipeline of future innovators in all areas of digital.

Published on Thursday 7th February 2019

A good retail mobile app can enhance customer experiences across channels seamlessly. The best retail mobile apps help to engage customers and simplify user experiences. They may blend both physical and digital retail experiences, acting as a payment point and offering a frictionless access point to account and loyalty data. This can be a driver both of repeat purchase, but also an aid to reduce pain points in the customer journey. It’s not always easy to get it right, and app stores are full of mobile apps that are either rarely downloaded, rarely used or poorly rated. Clearly, usage is key. A 2017 report by App Annie suggested that users in the United Kingdom have an average of over 80 apps downloaded to their mobile phones, but they use less than half of them. In the UK, users tend to use an average of around 10 apps per day across all sectors, it’s likely only 1-2 of those apps will be for shopping. So, user engagement and retention remain key to any strategy. Some retailers are innovating and leading the way on mobile. In this two-part series, we look at 7 examples of the best retail apps that offer either a loyalty programme or enhanced account member benefits.

We have reviewed the apps customers have rated the most highly across iOS and Android and some of the reasons each retailer is rating so highly. To select our ‘Top 7’ we looked at around 200 UK retail apps and combined the customer rating scores on Android and iOS to get an average. We then reviewed which retailers are incorporating a ‘loyalty offering’ or programme into their app to make our final selections.

In the first part of this two-part series we review our ‘Top 3’ apps:

1. ASOS

Combined iOS & Android Customer rating: 4.75

Why do customers like it?

The ASOS app allows easy in-app payment and includes AI-driven product search. Customers can take a photo of a product they like in-app, and it will pull a similar item from a pool of over 85k product images.

Customers say:

"So easy to use! So easy to find what you want. LOVE. Also being able to have free next day delivery for a year is a godsend."

"Recommend paying for Premier Delivery as it’s really worth it. Love all the extra features being added like the fitting assistant, different boards for saved items. Use Touch ID for payments, good recommendations."

"I find this one of the smartest apps on the market. Fast and easy to navigate. Thanks, Asos."

There have been over 50m installs of the ASOS app and the company suggests that over 77% of all UK traffic now comes from mobiles devices. ASOS was previously running an online A-list loyalty scheme which allowed customers to unlock rewards ranging from birthday discounts and early access to the sale to exclusive offers and events. It axed this scheme back in October 2018. At the time ASOS released a statement to they would ‘work on even better ways to reward our loyal customers’ instead. It’s likely ASOS will look to drive further loyalty through its subscription-based Premier Delivery scheme. Customers love the delivery scheme and as at August 2018, the number of premier customers who pay £9.95 per year for unlimited next day delivery increased to 1.3  million (a 53% increase according to Marketing Week).

ASOS App

2. Nike

Combined iOS & Android Customer rating: 4.75

Why do customers like it?

The Nike app gives customers access to everything Nike, enabling customers to reserve trainers in their size, get access to a dedicated personalised ‘Nike’ online store, faster checkout and delivery. Access to Nike experts and invitations to exclusive events, tips on the latest trends along with content from the world’s greatest athletes.

Customers say:

“Nike constantly thrive by leading with innovation. With Nike app it’s  not only easier and more simple to find the product that we need, but it now also allows you to bridge the physical retail and digital experiences into one. This is not something any brand in the market offers right now!

“The custom shoe bit is the best. I can finally create shoes that I actually like that suit me most, and they are delivered in great quality.”

The Nike app already has millions of users, and they continue to listen to customers and innovate at the forefront of the retail pack. Within the app, you can sign up to create a NikePlus account which gives access to events plus free shipping and returns. The NikePlus brand itself has over 100 million members worldwide, and those members spend 4 times as much as other consumers. The recently launched update ‘Nike App at Retail’ allows customers to shop from the app and check out seamlessly in store. The changes mean customers can order from the app, try in store and then check out easily while in store. You can also open the Nike app and scan a barcode to try shoes on directly in store. If you shop in a Nike store, it’s big in ‘experience’. Geolocation tagging enables physically browsing products to become a more enjoyable experience. Nike focusses on trying to understand what users want, to reward them better. They say they spoke to over 500 consumers around the world to craft the features users wanted in a mobile loyalty programme. This included personal experience, self-service options, and an easy way to navigate to products. You can reserve products from home and in less than 2 hours they are ready to pick up. Once you have found something you like, you can pay on the spot with the instant checkout feature. Nike pilot features in store before they roll them out. Expect to see more features rolling out soon.


Nike App

3. Hollister (Cali Club)

Combined iOS & Android Customer rating: 4.7

Why do customers like it?

The app allows customers to log in to their Cali Club account to see their point balance, they can be notified about the latest products, and it will enable users to ‘save’ products they love. Again, the app bridges the gap between physical and digital, allowing customers to shop within the app and collect in store. Its loyalty offering includes access to events, early access to sales and birthday rewards. Users can also earn Cali Cash, points are awarded for things like creating your account and shopping in store. Customers can redeem points for cash certificates.

Customers say:

"Amazing! Really easy to use, you can listen to great music - even if not in the app - and you can get points that are converted into money to spend in-store!"

"Easy to navigate, simple approach, good system for ordering :)"

"I love this app, I love Hollister. It’s so easy to work and not hard to find what you are looking for, also you get rewards like money off in store. Very good app."


Hollister App

These innovative retailers are moving towards delivering seamless mobile and in store retail experiences. They also provide practical benefits like free shipping and easy to navigate UI. Each of the retailers has created experiences that are personalised to customer interests. In part 2 of this series, we will review the rest of our Top 7 and the common themes that link some of these highly rated apps. We’ll also look at what other retailers need to consider in order to compete.

Graphite is a digital customer experience agency that has worked with leading brands to via user research, design sprints, rapid prototyping and mapping user journeys to enhance experiences. If you would like to know more about our design sprint and digital customer experience services, get in touch for a chat.