Kind: Shark
Link: REI
Platform: iOS
Version: 4.8.1
Rating: 4.5 Stars
AppScore™: A
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Teardown: REI iOS App

REI is a leading outdoor retailer with locations in all 50 states. Unusually it is organized as a customer cooperative, with over 6 million members nationwide.

REI sells a large number of technical outdoor items through it’s app, which is more challenging than selling something like everyday clothing or cosmetics. It does this well though, with well thought out features like highlighting in-depth customer reviews. The app earns an AppScore of 92.


REI is very much in the same niche as Patagonia or the North Face; it aims at being an aspirational brand for affluent urban dwellers stuck behind a computer while dreaming of the outside. With that demographic, a native app becomes a must have, and REI has pulled it off well.

As usual, let’s highlight the good, the bad and the noteworthy. If you want more details you can order a detailed version of this report.

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The Good

Buying something from a smartphone is naturally inferior to being able to walk into a store and see the item for yourself, in the flesh. For that reason, detailed product reviews are extremely effective tools to enable customers to satisfy themselves that an item will suit their needs and hence make the purchase

Obviously, a retailer needs to have a sufficient number of reviews for this approach to work, but if it does, showcasing these reviews prominently usually leads to a conversion bumb:

Very well done. If your company has enough reviews per item, consider taking a leaf from REIs app and showcase them prominently.

The Bad

Confession time: We really struggled to find something bad to highlight from REIs app. This is the closest we got:

So not very bad per se, but it does go to show – don’t use unclear jargon in your apps. You want to be able to generate new customers from your apps, and you cannot assume that they will have experience interacting with you and your brand previously.

The Noteworthy

One unique feature of REI is that you can always take back and exchange most items at any time. Yes, even worn hiking boots. Given that, it’s even more useful than normal to be able to track what you’ve purchased at REI. REI does a commendable job making that easier for you:

All in a well done feature that helps REI further it’s unique selling position (return and exchange anything).


REI does an excellent job with its iOS app, to the point where we’re a little surprised to see it with only 4.5 stars. The only “flaw” we could find was a little inside baseball jargon that’s likely to confuse those not already familiar with REI terminology, but this is obviously something that could be remedied pretty quickly.

Author: Emily Gomez & Einar Vollset, Corresponding Author:


For each teardown we collect over 200 data points, including UX best practices, search capabilities, payment integrations as well as re-engagement tactics and social/engagement features. Each teardown includes an overall score, along with the score for each of the 20+ categories we collect data under. We then provides either video and/or slideshow content of the actual app, highlighting important parts of the app along with particularly good, bad or surprising functionality.