Shoppers in the United Kingdom rate the ASOS app as the most brilliant among retailers.
Online-only fashion retailer ASOS Plc Holdings, No. 22 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Europe 500, earns the highest app sentiment score at 87.4, in the October 2016 Application Resource Center report, “How U.K. Consumers Rate the Most Downloaded Retail Apps.” Application Resource Center is the research arm of digital testing, usability and research company Applause App Quality Inc.
ARC determines app sentiment scores by analyzing the words a consumer uses in app store reviews and looking at star ratings. In addition to the reviews, ARC weighs several other app metrics, including usability, encouragement of repeat purchases within the apps and performance under heavy or unexpected demand, such as during sales, says Ben Gray, digital experience analyst at ARC and the author of the report. The firm then applies a rating of 0 to 100 for both the retail company’s Android app and iOS app. The app’s final score is an average of the two scores.
For this study ARC evaluated the 3.5 million U.K. app store reviews of the 50 most downloaded Android and iOS retail apps in the region over the previous six months. Apps had must have a minimum of 1,500 reviews to qualify for the study.
ASOS tops the list and has more than 30,000 reviews. Consumers are particularly fond of the retailer’s simple checkout process. The app allows a shopper to scan her credit card to capture the information so she doesn’t have to key in the numbers.
“ASOS also effectively utilizes in-app push notifications to alert shoppers to the start and end of sales events,” Gray says. “It’s so effective that a lot of reviews warn other shoppers, in jest, that it can become addictive.”
The average score of the top 50 apps is 61 out of 100, which is higher than the 52-point average from ARC’s study of the 50 U.S. retailers with the most sales from mobile apps. The U.K. apps with the highest rating have push notifications, social sharing integration, rewards programs, flash deals and location-based features, such as finding stores near to the consumer, Gray says.
“It’s the nature of today’s digital economy: You can’t please everyone, but since users are the ones determining quality you have to try to provide everyone with a great digital experience,” Gray says.
Fashion retailer Polyvore, loyalty card wallet Stocard, marketplace Wanelo Shopping, deals app Groupon, marketplace Wish and peer-to-peer marketplace 5miles all have scores above 73 and more than 10,000 reviews.
Amazon.com Inc.’s app ranks near the bottom of the top 50, with a sentiment score of 53.9. Complaints about the app vary, and include problems reordering on Amazon Fresh, which is the online retailer’s service that lets consumers shop for groceries and consumables from local shops and restaurants, and frequent permission requests.
Apps that rank poorly have reviews that complain of app freezes, slow performance, blank screens, error messages, disruptive ads and no alternative ways to pay, such as with PayPal or Apple Bay.
Many European-based retailers, however, do not have apps or don’t have enough downloads or reviews to qualify for the study. These include:
Tesco (No. 3 in the Europe 500), Home Retail Group (No. 4), Asda (No. 9), Shop Direct (No. 10), John Lewis Pic (No. 11), Next Plc (No. 12), Dixons Carphone Plc (No. 15), Marks & Spencer (No. 18), Sainsbury’s (No.21), Ocado Group Plc (No. 23), Debenhams Plc (No. 33), Premier Farnell Plc (38), N Brown Group PIc (No. 39) and Kingfisher Plc (No. 47)
The lack of mobile app investment in the U.K. could be because consumers have not adopted previous mobile initiatives, Gray says.
“Soon after the launch of the iPhone, many of the largest U.K. retailers invested in native apps without phenomenal results. Many then pivoted their efforts to shrinking their desktop site to mobile sites to mixed success,” Gray says. “Fast forward eight years and most consumers have developed loyalties to only a handful of retail brands, suggesting that many consumers still want apps, just not always those of the largest retailers.”