It’s no secret that apps are powerful evangelists for retailers. Customers flock to mobile apps from their favorite shops to make purchases, and simply downloading and using an app shows a sense of brand loyalty. But the most successful apps aren’t just about making the purchase of a new pair of jeans while crammed on a commuter train possible.

Brick-and-mortars with a pervasive presence on the ground, like CVS and Walgreens, rely on apps to help improve the in-store experience. According for Forbes, these drug stores are succeeding at winning the hearts of users by offering actual utility like rapid refills. And the love is being shown by high ratings in the app store.

And this past holiday season, Target took the idea a step further: encouraging customers to use their app while already in the store by providing value, not just transactions and coupons. Here’s how:

Once customers are inside the store, the app now has a shopping list feature along with the ability to show a product’s shelf location. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy. The result of the mobile revamp: App users typically buy more items than non-app users.

Between the start of the 2014 holiday shopping season and midnight New Year’s Eve, Target shoppers had used the app’s product locating function over 400k times (and that was only available on their iOS apps).

This bricks-and-mobile strategy, as dubbed by Target’s VP of Enterprise Jamil Ghani, says at least one thing loud and clear: Apps equal spending power – and that’s another reason monitoring app performance is key to retaining happy customers.

What kind of utility-inspired app would you want to see in the marketplace? Let us know below, or tweet us @Apteligent.