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Study: Retail Brand Apps Drive Foot Traffic

E-commerce and brick-and-mortar may be competing entities, however, online followers can also be retailers’ most faithful in-person customers, according to a new study conducted by Wefi.

Wefi analyzed in-store app engagement of shoppers in the Greater Los Angeles region over a five-month period, at 49 stores, for seven major retailers, including Costco, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Sears, Target and Walmart. The mobile data analytics firm found that retail brand app users, on average, make 12 more trips to the store every year than their counterparts without apps.

To determine the engagement-level of customers, Wefi tracked the percentage of users that had the app open while they were in the store. Target has the most in-store engagement with 72.34% of their app users. Kohl’s landed in second place with 53.29%, followed by Sears with a 37.14% engagement rate.

The study showed that consumers who had a store’s app downloaded was likely to visit the corresponding store more frequently. For example, Kohl’s experienced the greatest increase in visitors, with app users visiting the store 86 precent more than non-app shoppers. Those with the Target app visited the store an average of 2.8 times per month versus the 1.74 visits per month for shoppers without the app.

Wefi found that retail apps can also benefit stores by encouraging users to shop longer. Macy’s saw the greatest effect with app users staying 29 percent longer than shoppers who did not have the department store’s app. Walmart was second with app users staying in the store for an additional 47.95 minutes compared to the app-less customers who stayed on average for 40.01 minutes. Costco saw the least improvement, as users stayed for only an extra 1.34 minutes.