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Outdoor retailer REI debuts mobile app with embedded store

August 19, 2009

outdoorOutdoor gear and apparel retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. has launched a new snow-conditions mobile application, but with a twist: It has an embedded storefront.

The application, from mobile applications developer Zumobi, is targeted to users of the Apple iPhone and iPod touch, BlackBerry and mobile phones with the Windows Mobile operating system.

“We’ve actually embedded commerce directly into the application,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi, Seattle.

“It really marries content with commerce in a very brand-relevant way,” he said.

Called the REI Ski and Snow Report, the mobile application offers instant information about conditions at ski resorts and mountains in North America and elsewhere.

The application is free to download.

Smartphone users can select a slope and get information such as temperature; new, top and base snow depth; snow conditions; and number of open lifts.

Each listing includes one-touch access to the resort’s contact information. Live Webcam images where available also feature in the application.

The REI Ski and Snow Report includes information on resorts in the United States, Canada, Europe, Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.

In addition to viewing snow conditions, consumers can browse a catalog of REI products that Zumobi developed in conjunction with the retailer.

Consumers can buy an REI product simply by clicking on an item abd starting the mobile commerce process. They are then handed off by the Zumobi application to the REI mobile site.

Founded 70 years ago, REI has a chain of retail stores nationwide, the and online stores and REI Adventures, an adventure travel company.

The retailer offers products for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, paddling, snow sports, travel and hiking.

Zumobi has created mobile applications for clients such as Pepsi’s Mountain Dew soft drink, online retailer Amazon, computer maker Lenovo and financial institution CapitalOne.

The application for REI can be downloaded from the site at or on mobile at Apple iPhone users can download the application from the iPhone App Store.

REI typically targets store or online consumers who are fond of the outdoor lifestyle. Zumobi’s application gives the retailer another channel to browse and shop, although REI’s consumer is typically on the go and ideally suited for mobile.

“We’re helping them reach a broader audience through this new application experience,” Mr. Willner said. “We’re reaching an audience that isn’t going to come into an REI store and is increasingly going mobile.”

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Mickey Alam Khan is editor in chief of Mobile Commerce Daily, Mobile Marketer and Luxury Daily. Reach him at

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