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HauteLook exec: Building native apps is hard

April 25, 2012

SAN DIEGO – A HauteLook executive at the Mobile Shopping Spring Summit said that marketers looking to delve into the mobile space should think mobile-first and constantly measure everything to better reach their target consumer.

During the “Case Study: Constructing the HauteLook mobile experience” session, the executive discussed the obstacles and strides the company had to take to build its mobile applications. Mobile is small, confusing and fragmented, but the space is also growing and can be a big sales generator for marketers.

“Building for mobile is a lot harder than building for desktop,” said Kevin Diamond, chief technology officer at HauteLook, Los Angeles.

“If you can, go mobile first,” he said.

Measure, measure, measure
According to Mr. Diamond, it is important for brands and marketers to measure everything both before and after.

When HauteLook decided that it was going to make a footprint in the mobile space, the company decided to build an iOS native app and a mobile site first because that is where its members are.

The company decided to outsource the app because it had no expertise in-house.

However, HauteLook found that it would still have to do a lot of management and a majority of testing.

According to Mr. Diamond, the company saw a lot of success with its initial mobile launch.

“We determined that mobile was strategic for our business,” Mr. Diamond said. “But, there is still a big learning curve.

“Performance issuers are hard to know, handle and find,” he said. “So much can go wrong with a dropped connection.”

The HauteLook iPhone app

Mobile support
Although building native apps is hard, supporting them is harder.

It is important that marketers understand the standards of the device platform.

Additionally, simplicity is key for a successful experience.

According to Mr. Diamond, it is critical that marketers continually test their mobile efforts to make sure that they are up-to-date and that the user experience is seamless.

If consumers find a mobile app to be difficult or challenging to use, they are most likely going to delete that mobile app.

Keeping users satisfied with their content experience is important, especially if marketers want to build on that consumer-relationship experience.

HauteLook is also keeping up with its growing consumer base who do not only have Apple devices.

With a mobile site, iPhone and iPad app already in its portfolio, HauteLook is now looking to roll out an Android app.

“Everyone was building Android apps so we decided we need to build one,” Mr. Diamond said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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