NEW YORK: Online retailer Amazon topped the retail app charts in the US during the first quarter according to a new analysis which also argues that bricks-and-mortar retailers can use these products to effectively combat showrooming.

The App Annie & Internet Retailer Index, from app analytics specialist App Annie Intelligence, ranked the leading retail apps in the US by total downloads in the iOS App Store and Google Play during the first three months of the year.

Amazon made two appearances in the top ten, with its Amazon Local app reaching eighth spot, as did Walmart with its Cartwheel app in fourth and the Walmart app in sixth.

The remainder in the top ten included Groupon (2nd), Walgreens (3rd), Etsy (5th), Target (7th), Apple Store (9th) and LivingSocial (10th).

The report noted that retailers had sometimes struggled to cope with the changes forced on them by digital technology, with mobile the latest to alter how people shopped. But there was good news.

"Retail apps, when well-designed and leveraged effectively, can be influential at all points of the shopping experience — from awareness and engagement to purchase and retention," it said.

Some of the top apps came from bricks-and-mortar retailers who were successfully using them to drive consumers in-store. Companies such as Walgreens, Walmart and Target had developed various app tools aimed at making the physical shopping experience easier, including built-in scanners to enable product search, GPS functionality to prompt location-based coupons and product suggestions, and shopping lists linked to store maps.

"We know that 50% of Walmart smartphone users have used their device in our stores to assist with a shopping decision," said Wendy Bergh, vp/mobile & digital strategy at Walmart. "We have such a big opportunity to provide our customers with indispensable shopping tools to better shop in our stores and online."

Other tactics being deployed included gamification to increase engagement and loyalty and a move beyond the flash-sale model that first brought Groupon to prominence.

The best apps, said the report, were about more than simply driving sales and had a focus on engaging the customer.

Data sourced from App Annie Index; additional content by Warc staff