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Macy’s, Nordstrom, Buckle, Charlotte Russe, Bon-Ton put gift guides on iPhone

November 10, 2009

For the sleep enthusiast

For the sleep enthusiast

Major retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bon-Ton, The Buckle Inc. and Charlotte Russe are releasing their holiday gift guides on mobile as part of a new iPhone application.

The application, developed by NearbyNow, also pairs the retailers with the gift guides from magazines such as Seventeen, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, All You, RealSimple, Sunset, Details, Southern Living and Cooking Light. As items sell out, the brands have the ability to add and change content to reflect the changes.

“Like many applications, it came from an obvious necessity,” said Scott Dunlap, CEO of NearbyNow, Mountain View, CA. “A lot has changed in regards to how magazines and retailers look at mobile.

“This was built as a showcase for magazines and retailers to dip their toe in the mobile waters,” he said. “It’s a little bit easier than making their own application and we can show them there’s something real there.”

NearbyNow is a mobile shopping concierge service that lets consumers browse products via mobile applications and find the products locally or buy online.

For the mobile commerce enthusiast
Consumers can browse the application in several ways. They can go directly to a specific magazine or retailer’s guide or search by answering a few questions about the gift recipient.

For example, consumers can choose to see a list of products across retailers based on appropriate gifts for a specific gender or based on a certain price range.

The search can also be tailored to specific interests such as green products or gifts for the media enthusiast.

After the consumer selects a product, they can do one of two things to buy it. Consumers can click-to-buy online from their phone or find nearby retail locations offering the product.

The application lets the consumer find the product locally by clicking Find Nearby, the application searches and finds the nearest store with the product in stock.

The application sends the consumer email verification within 10 minutes with product information and stock status.

bon-ton-erica-lyons-necklaceGetting into the game
The products from retailers range from fashion to home goods to stocking stuffers.

For example, one offer from Bon-Ton is an Erica Lyons necklace and one offer from Charlotte Russe is a pair of pajama pants.

Each retailer is offering between 30 and 300 products

Mr. Dunlap said that NearbyNow gave retailers and magazines the flexibility to put advertisements, sale items and coupon codes within their gift guides.

Jason Cavallo, creative services director at Cosmopolitan, New York, said that his magazine hopped on board the iPhone application as a way to test mobile.

“Well, it was really a great opportunity for us to get some initial data on how people are interacting with Cosmo on the iPhone,” Mr. Cavallo said. “We have a couple apps in development at the moment that will be coming out in the next couple of months.

“NearbyNow worked with our sister publication, Seventeen, in developing the Fashion Finder app and we thought this was a great idea so we’d give it a shot,” he said.

Cosmo typically puts out five-to-seven individual gift guides tailored to specific consumers and price ranges, but for the application, the magazine’s online editors combined all the lists.

Mr. Cavallo said that there are about 50 products featured such as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Curve, a shaving kit and several Cosmo-branded items.

The Cosmo items include “Cosmo’s Kama Sutra” and “Cosmo’s Guide to Red Hot Sex.”

Cosmo’s portion of the application is divided into three main categories: for him, for her and gifts under $20.

Benefits of mobile
Mr. Dunlap said that the main question from magazines is often “Does a gift guide drive purchasing?”

According to NearbyNow, the answer is yes.

For retailers, Mr. Dunlap said that the application is a great way for the stores to track how people are purchasing, whether it is online or via Find Nearby.

The application will also help retailers address the challenge of a multichannel shopper.

Mr. Dunlap said that many retailers do not know where to put mobile, since many consider it to between in-store and online.

“No one had any question if they should participate in mobile, which was the big question last year,” Mr. Dunlap said. “This year it was a no-brainer.

“Many magazines that participated believe their gift guides have a broader reach than its subscription base,” he said. “The biggest challenge was talking to retailers and the retailers that did participate in our guide made the shift to understand multichannel consumers.”

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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