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American Eagle’s mobile app leads fashion retailers for incentivizing usersBy
American Eagle’s mobile application was named the leader among fashion retailers in a new report from Plastic Mobile based on how it incentivizes users with mobile-exclusive promotions, features and push notifications.
With consumers’ use of mobile growing throughout their everyday lives, branded mobile app experiences must focus on providing value and utility if they are to become memorable, according to the report. One of the biggest misses for fashion retailers with the exception of American Eagle is effectively leveraging social media and loyalty to drive app engagement.
“It was surprising that the retailer’s customer service and loyalty programs were not extended to their mobile apps to further engage and reward customers,” said Melody Adhami, president and chief operating officer of Plastic Mobile, Toronto.
“In-store and online customer service play a large role in purchase decisions, and the mobile platform should be no different in having one-on-one conversations to resolve customer issues,” she said. “In regards to loyalty programs, many retailers reviewed didn’t use the mobile platform to reward loyal behavior or even recruit new loyalists, even though most of them emphasize their loyalty program in-store.”
Plastic Mobile tested mobile apps for 10 leading fashion retailers in various use cases such as in-store, en route and at home. The apps were evaluated on their on-the-go performance and rated against criteria such as loyalty, transaction, customer service and in-store experience.
The full list of tested app in order of their rankings are: American Eagle, The Gap, TopShop, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, H&M, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel.
American Eagle’s app is remarkable for integrating the retailer’s loyalty program and social media efforts. While the app also offers easy browsing and checkout, one barrier to use is slow load times.
The Gap app offers a quick search function and an easy checkout process that exceeds expectations. However, it falls short on customer engagement and loyalty.
TopShop’s app is also lacking when it comes to giving social media and loyalty features a prominent role.
Other misses include the need for better navigation on apps from Zara, H&M and Express.
The Mobile X Retail App Report identifies social media as the biggest missed opportunity for the retailers reviewed as an interactive, two-way experience is a key component to encouraging and driving mobile loyalty behavior.
Other areas of opportunities for fashion retailers to harness the potential of their mobile apps include customer service, in-store experiences and loyalty programs.
Going forward, branded wallets are likely to play a bigger role in fashion retailers’ mobile apps.
“The portfolio of retail apps this year had most of the basics down, from browsing beautiful high-quality images to seamless checkouts,” Ms. Adhami said.
“The next biggest thing for retailers in 2014 will be introducing branded wallets, where customers can use the retailer’s mobile app to store account balances, debit and credit card information, as well as coupons and deals that can only be used at the corresponding retailer,” she said.
“Branded wallets presents retailers the opportunity to further bridge the gap between mobile and in-store experience.”
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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