Global IMPACT:
In London,
apps are everywhere

Adidas has is. Uniqlo has it. Nike has it.
Learn how big brands extend the shopping experience with great apps. This is part 1 of 4 in our new mini-series about the future of commerce in London.

Apps are everywhere

What does the future of omnichannel commerce hold? Karoline Lotz Jonassen went to London to gain inspiration on how retailers are meeting customers’ needs in Europe’s biggest shopping mecca.

One thing is clear, omnichannel e-commerce apps are here to stay.

Last time I went to London, I was 11.

I dragged my mom up and down Oxford and Regent Street for hours. I had never seen so many people before – we literally had to fight our way through the crowds.

the future of commerce in london

One Saturday in September, I was back. A post-corona Saturday – that is. The usually crowded streets were almost empty, and I had the stores on Oxford Street to myself.

Quite nice due to the purpose of my trip:

To explore the shopping experience and future of commerce in London.

With apps, self-service checkouts, screens everywhere, mPOS, and an opportunity to get an in-store purchase delivered to my home address are just some of the characteristics of London shopping.

Stores like Adidas, Nike, and Urban Outfitters gave me the feeling of stepping into the future of omnichannel commerce.

Apps are everywhere

As I make my way through the stores of London, I am overwelmed by the amount of apps I am introduced to.

With in-store features, brands are opening the door to a whole new world of self-service.

I can check products’ in-store availability, perform self-checkout, am introduced to communities, and I can extend my shopping experience.

It is convenient and gives me the seamless experience I yearn for.

IMPACT har mystery shoppet i Adidas flagship store i London
Interaktive spejle er med til at gøre instore oplevelsen digital i Adidas' nye butik i London

Worldwide sales through mobile devices are estimated to hit 3,5 trillion USD in 2021. Today, it is involved in more than 70% of every single transaction and is a primary channel or on the way to become one.

Apps are a great place to serve customers – especially the ones who are already or have the potential to become your loyal repurchasers.

Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive apps I tried.

In-store apps

As I browse around in Adidas’ flagship store near Bond Street Station, I experience the in-store app concept taken to the next level.

A pair of sneakers caught my eye. I took my boots off to try them on but to my disappointment, they were too small. I simply used the app to request the right size and the store staff brought them to me!

Adidas simply understands my pains and does their best to remove it.

The app does not only demand great stock and product information management but also insights into the merchandising of each store.


Some in-store apps also offer self-checkout options which make the buying experience even more smooth.

Self-checkout is a new form of transaction which whose popularity has been rising in Denmark in 2020. But outside of Denmark, this has been going on for years, e.g. Sainsbury’s mobile self-checkout launch in the UK in 2018.

I will investigate new ways of self-checkout and the benefits of mobile checkout in the next episode of this mini-series.

Commerce apps are popular in London
Commerce apps are popular in London
urban outfitters has a great commerce app

Community apps

Nike never does anything half-heartedly.

In their 4,000-sqm store with four floors located on London’s shopping epicenter – the corner Oxford Street and Regent Street – they promote their apps everywhere you look.

One of them is the Nike Training app where they invite you to take part in a well-executed community with access to training programs, friends, and competitions.

The community app does nothing directly in relation to my shopping experience but the app makes me attached to Nike as a brand.

It is a great way to ensure high brand awareness and deliver an extraordinary customer experience. As PwC claims that consumers on average pay 16 % more for a better customer experience, it is no wonder that this is a focus area for Nike.

Nike’s apps are without a doubt part of their strategy of taking back ownership of their channels and the customer touchpoints

Branding and loyalty go hand in hand which leads me to the next subject – loyalty apps.

Loyalty apps

It is hard not to mention Nectar when discussing loyalty apps from the UK.

Before my travels, I heard a lot about the Nectar app. It is a loyalty scheme allowing users to enjoy personalised offers, and collect and spent points from more than 400 partners such as Asos, eBay, Esso, and Sainsbury’s.

Another loyalty app from the British grocery industry is the Tesco app. Sources claim that the Tesco app is in the pocket of 68% of the British population. That is quite impressive!

The app is like a modern version the old-school loyalty card. I was able to find deals and track my points.

The next morning, I took the tube to Oxford Street and headed to the nearest Tesco to get a bit of breakfast. I paid with my app and received my points.

the future of commerce in london

Loyalty apps are definitely something we have seen rising in Scandinavia as well. And it makes great sense.

According to Invesp, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and on average spent 31% more compared to new customers. Let alone that it costs five times more to aquire a new customer than retain an existing one.

AR apps

The use of augmented reality in commerce is still in its early phases, which shows in the number of cases, execution, and customer adaption.

But in both Sephora and Nike, I saw the value of AR apps.

In Sephora, I tried makeup on virtually. While the execution has room for improvement, this will definitely become more relevant once the solution is tuned and the technology behind is improved.

Nike found that 60% of consumers use the wrong shoe size – causing returns and lower satisfaction.

To solve this pain, the brand launched “Nike Fit”. With the use of AR, the app measured my foot in just 15 seconds.

By measuring the shape, size, and volume, the app could recommend the right size with an accuracy ranging within 2 millimeters. And the app got my size correct!


Nike has a cool commerce app

Pros and cons of commerce apps

Apps can be tricky. Critics will say that an e-commerce apps will cannibalise both the website and the in-store sales.

But some also said the same about multichannel commerce back in the day. With that said, an app will not solve all your worries, and it has to be done right.

A well-executed app opens the door to a whole new marketing channel where you can collect customer data and use this in push marketing and in-app promotions.

It's a great way for brands to take ownership of their own channels and position in the market.

What are the crucial factors to succeed with an app?

There are multiple considerations you need to make when your company wants to unleash the potential that a mobile app has to create value for your customers, revenue and commerce experience

I have teamed up with our app expert, Ask Ullerup, to answer how to create a successful commerce app. He digs into how to:

  • Have a clear value proposition
  • Make it work – every time
  • Create a marketing and data strategy

About the London series

Karoline Lotz Jonassen is an E-Business Consultant at IMPACT and helps our clients develop their e-commerce strategy, digital concepts, and roadmaps to optimise their returns on digital investments.

As part of the Omnichannel Index 2020, Karoline went to London to gain insights and inspiration on how retailers are meeting customers’ needs in Europe’s biggest shopping mecca.

She has tested in-store apps, conducted self-checkout, and spoke with staff regarding their digital touchpoints in-store.

In the next segments, Karoline will look at digital self-checkout and single-view of data.

karoline lotz johannesen er e-business consultant hos impact