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Jo-Ann crafts an iPad app to drive inspiration and sales

July 23, 2012

The Jo-Ann iPad app

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is extending its mobile strategy with a new iPad application intended to inspire crafters and drive product sales.

The Jo-Ann app for iPad gives crafters several ways to discover their next project along with instructions, videos and tutorials. The app also features money-saving offers on products and the retailer’s weekly ads.

“We are hearing directly from our customers that she is voting for deeper engagement with Jo-Ann via mobile devices, as measured by extraordinary growth in downloads, page views and direct sales across all our current mobile app platforms,” said Bryan Kipp, director of marketing for Jo-Ann Stores, Hudson, OH. “We’re seeing incredible growth in this space.

“Our primary goal is to connect with our core consumer in new and meaningful ways, while providing her with a singular and consistent brand experience,” he said. “Giving her 24/7 access to creative inspiration and making it easier to engage with Jo-Ann is one of the key benefits of having a mobile application.”

The Idea Center
The iPad app focuses primarily on providing customers with new project ideas via the Idea Center, which includes videos and photographs of projects.

Projects include step-by-step instruction, techniques and complete tutorials.

Users can also search by project type, including crafts, sewing and scrapbooking.

The Jo-Ann iPad app

The app also has an interactive store locator where users can browse Jo-Ann’s weekly ads and seasonal catalogues and see all special offers available at the store.

A Shopping List feature helps users keep track of the supplies they need for projects. Users will also find information about in-store events and crafting classes in participating stores.

Additionally, users will find a heart icon, which when clicked will save a project, photo or video in the Favorites tab. Users can share content directly from the app to Facebook, Twitter and email.

The chain is promoting the app via print, digital, email, social media and in-store messaging.

Crafting a mobile strategy
This is not the retailer’s first foray into mobile.

Jo-Ann launched an iPhone app in late 2010 and expanded to the Android platform last fall.

The smartphone app works as a coupon wallet, enabling users to browse available Jo-Ann coupons and redeem them in-store and online.

The chain also has an SMS text program which launched last fall. Customers can sign up to receive up to 3 messages or coupons per month.

Jo-Ann plans to continue to update and evolve its apps over time.

Michaels, another crafts retailer, is also active in the mobile space. The retailer has rolled out a mobile optimized site, mobile coupons, QR codes and SMS text messaging initiatives to engage its customers (see story).

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores operates more than 770 Jo-Ann stores in 49 states that provide fabrics and supplies for crafters.

“The smartphone application has been a huge success and we look forward to making this an even more interactive experience for our customers,” Mr. Kipp said.

“We have seen extraordinary growth in customer participation in SMS text messaging channel as well,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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