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People love shopping on their phones. In fact, mobile commerce — or m-commerce — is likely to make up nearly half of all US retail m-commerce sales by 2025.
With m-commerce on the rise, there are hundreds of specialized shopping apps for buying virtually any kind of product—from clothing and electronics to cars and houses.
In this post, we’ve listed some of the best shopping apps to help you save time, find the right products and services, and snag the best deals. Or, if you’re a marketer for organizations in these industries, consider partnering with these apps to gain awareness and loyalty from shoppers.
Online marketplaces connect shoppers to sellers. Unlike other shopping apps, marketplaces rarely own any inventory.
They simply facilitate transactions by handling processes like product showcasing, payment, order fulfillment, shipment and delivery.
Amazon is one of the biggest online marketplaces in the world. The e-commerce giant enables third-party sellers to sell new or used products in exchange for a percentage of their profits.
There are over 350 million products listed on Amazon, from apparel, jewelry, books, consumer electronics, kitchen utensils, furniture, toys and baby products to everything in between.
Amazon currently delivers to over 100 countries, and even offers same-day and overnight delivery in certain areas. Their mobile app makes it easy to shop on the go, and features like price comparisons, personalized ads, discounts and sales enable a world-class online shopping experience.
Of all the items consumers buy online, clothing tops the list. Shopping apps for clothes have made it easier for shoppers to purchase fashionable apparel, shoes, bags and accessories from the comfort of their homes.
Features like customer reviews, detailed product information, organized categories, sizing guides, free delivery, and unique deals and discounts often make clothing apps seem like a more attractive option over brick-and-mortar stores.
ASOS is a fashion shopping app home to over 850 brands and 85,000 products across categories like clothing, makeup, shoes and accessories.
The app makes it easy for buyers to shop for trendy looks all in one place. ASOS also offers free shipping and return options, and even lets users take pictures or upload photos of products to look for similar items.
The retail app currently ships to 240+ countries around the world and supports popular payment methods like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna, and major credit and debit cards.
ThredUp is an online thrift store where shoppers can find used fashion items pre-vetted by the company — some items are also labeled as ‘new with tags’. Find great deals on designer clothing, bags, jewelry, shoes and accessories.
You can find something that fits every budget. ThredUp also assists sellers with cleaning out their closets on consignment and shipping pre-loved products to the company. When an item gets sold, the seller gets paid in cash or credit.
Social media is becoming the new shopping hub. In fact, recent data from Sprout Social shows 98% of consumers plan to make at least one purchase through social media in 2022.
The social media shopping apps below help consumers find, research, buy and review products without leaving their favorite social platforms.
4. Facebook marketplace
Facebook marketplace is the social platform’s native shopping hub. Buyers can connect with sellers in their area or other cities to find new and used products in various categories.
The biggest benefit of Facebook marketplace is that it’s convenient and free to use for anyone with a Facebook account. You can list and buy products with no hidden fees, interact with buyers and sellers via Messenger, and even complete checkout on Facebook’s main app.
5. Instagram shopping
Instagram shopping enables businesses to set up storefronts on the social media app. Other Instagram shopping features include product tags in photos and videos, product catalogs, product detail pages, product launches and checkout on Instagram.
Users can find shops, collections and Guides from the Shopping tab within the Instagram app. Because shopping is also connected to Instagram’s algorithm, users are able to see personalized brand and product recommendations on their Shopping and Explore tabs.
6. YouTube shopping
YouTube offers creators the ability to connect their stores on external e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, and promote merch and other products by:
- Tagging them in videos and live streams
- Showing them in video end screens
- Displaying them in channel stores
Currently, only eligible creators can set up shop on YouTube. Additionally, viewers can only buy these products if they’re located in any of the specified countries.
Cashback shopping apps reward shoppers for buying products and services.
These apps typically have partnerships with brands, and pay customers in cash or loyalty points in return for their purchase through an affiliate link.
Most cashback apps are free to download and use, and can help consumers save tons of money on everyday purchases in the long run.
Rakuten is a cash back shopping app featuring over 3,500 brands. The app also has a browser extension that lets shoppers find deals online. Buyers earn rewards every time they make a purchase through Rakuten’s app, website or affiliate link.
Consumers love using Rakuten because of its wide selection of partners that include restaurants, ride-sharing services and retail stores.
The cashback app has 15 million+ members and has paid out over $2 billion in cash back rewards. Shoppers can receive cash back from purchases by check or PayPal.
RetailMeNot is another shopping app that offers coupons and cash back on products from 15,000+ brands—both in-store and online. The app also offers a free Chrome extension that applies codes automatically as you shop.
Once you’ve made a purchase, you need to wait approximately 45 days for approval. Then, you can easily redeem the cash you earned back from your RetailMeNot account using PayPal or Venmo.
Ibotta is a cash back and gift card shopping app at more than 5000,000 retail locations. The app also has a browser extension that lets shoppers earn cash back online. Buyers earn cash back every time they make a purchase through Ibotta’s app or affiliate link.
Ibotta features a wide range of shopping partners including grocery stores, retailers, restaurants and bars.
The cashback app has paid out over $1 billion in cash back savings. Shoppers can receive cash back from purchases by PayPal or gift cards to favorite retailers.
Grocery shopping apps help consumers buy groceries online via home delivery, store pickup or both. These apps often come with features like virtual shopping lists, the ability to check out nutritional information, and an organized selection of brands and products.
Grocery apps are huge time-savers as they eliminate the need for shoppers to commute and browse the aisles in a physical store. Some apps also offer exclusive discounts, bundles and deals to help shoppers save money on items they regularly buy.
Flipp is not exactly a grocery delivery app. Instead, it helps shoppers find great deals, coupons and weekly ads from 2,000+ retailers so they know where to shop and what to buy.
Shoppers can also create digital shopping lists in the app and Flipp will find deals for those products. Or, you can manually clip deals to your shopping list to have them on hand while you shop.
Mystery shoppers (or ‘secret shoppers’) are paid by research companies and retail businesses to investigate or audit product offerings, customer service and in-store experiences.
With mystery shopping apps, users complete specific tasks and gigs to earn rewards. These apps are often used by people who want to make some extra cash on the side.
Shopkick is a mystery shopping app that works a bit differently. Instead of completing gigs and tasks, users earn rewards (or kicks) for scanning barcodes in select retail stores.
These rewards can then be redeemed for online gift cards or PayPal credit. Shoppers can also watch videos and learn about new products within the app to earn kicks.
12. Field Agent
Field Agent is a mystery shopping app that helps users (or agents) earn money by completing tasks like conducting audits and surveys, trying new products, leaving reviews, and collecting information about in-store products.
The app uses this information to help companies learn more about retail customer experiences and improve their products and services. Field Agent is currently available in 8 countries, including the US, UK and Canada.
Car shopping apps are online marketplaces that let you buy, sell trade, and finance new and pre-owned cars. While buyers may need to visit in-person before buying a car anyway, using a car shopping app can save them plenty of time.
Features like advanced search filters, built-in chat, photos and videos, car inspection reports and loan calculators help buyers narrow down their options and show up at meetings only for shortlisted cars.
CarGurus is a shopping app for new and used cars. It comes packed with features that make it easy for buyers to make the right choice. For example, their deal-rating algorithm analyzes thousands of points like price, reviews, location and accident history to find the best deals.
Additionally, CarGurus is also a great place for selling cars and finding financing. The smart tools that come with the app streamline the whole process. CarGurus is currently available in the US, UK and Canada.
Carvana is a US-only app for buying, selling and trading cars online. You can easily find used cars that fit your budget using advanced search filters and personalized financing terms.
The best part about this app is you can buy your car online and have it delivered to your door. Carvana also offers delivery tracking and pick-up at one of their Car Vending Machines. All purchases are protected by a 7-day money-back guarantee, so buyers can easily return and get a full refund for vehicles that aren’t a good fit.
The future of shopping apps
Shopping apps have made it easier for buyers and sellers to connect in virtually every industry. Thanks to busy lifestyles, smartphones and the convenience of apps, consumers are increasingly choosing e-commerce over in-store shopping—especially when it’s on the go.
But what’s even more interesting is how online shopping is becoming a social activity over a transactional one. More shoppers are turning to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok for product research and purchases.
Brands need to constantly look for creative ways to connect with customers on these platforms. Check out our social shopping guide to find tips and predictions about the future of social commerce.