As previously mentioned, onboarding is a MUST for apps. It’s your chance to set first time users up for success while ensuring they understand not only how to use your app, but why they should use it. In addition, onboarding can also come in handy further down the line when you release app updates. Below are some key onboarding campaigns you should be running with your retail app:

INTRODUCTION: This is a series of in-app messages that are shown to new users in order to help them become acclimated. Lead with your best foot forward and showcase any key functionality and cool features or benefits your retail app has to offer. By the end of the introduction, users should know how to use your app to complete basic tasks like searching for a product or checking out. 

Chick-fil-A's onboarding introduction clearly depicts the benefits of their app to the user by highlighting special rewards and easy ordering capabilities:
PRO TIP: End your onboarding process with a CTA that drives users to start exploring your app. You might even want to consider providing an incentive for them to make a purchase right then and there. Something like free shipping for new users on their first day in the app usually does the trick. This helps set them up for success while moving them through the funnel.

Chick-fil-A ends their onboarding with a food incentive, while Target uses theirs as an opportunity to showcase the value of opting in for push notifications:


NEW FEATURES: Whenever you launch significant new app features, make sure you share them with your users by giving them a very quick overview of the update, and highlighting any key enhancements. This strengthens the user experience while boosting engagement since they know you’re invested in making your app better.

PRO TIP: Use an interactive tutorial to walk users through new features. This ensures they fully understand how to take advantage of the new functionality.
Chick-fil-A's tutorial easily shows users how to place their first order within the app:

EFFECTIVE PERMISSION REQUESTS: We know from research users who have push enabled will open an app 3x more often than users with push disabled. We also know that asking users for permission to send them push notifications during their first app visit is a major faux pas unless it is at the end of a compelling onboarding campaign that clearly showcases the benefit to the user. Users need to see the value in your app before they’ll be willing to grant you permission to reach them. Tit for tat. The same goes for any other permissions you want to ask users for, such as enabling location tracking so that you can send them location based push notifications when they’re near one of your brick and mortar locations. The ask needs to clearly depict the what’s in it for your consumer.

PRO TIP: Increase the likelihood that a user will enable the permission by leading with an incentive. For example, a user might want to enable push notifications because they’ll get told the instant an item in their wish list gets discounted. When users understand that the reason you’re asking for something is to provide value to them, they’re much more inclined to agree.
Aldo, Target, and Gap all effectively ask for permission requests by clearly outlining the "what's in it for me" to their users: