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River Island extends mcommerce reach with Kindle app

By
October 31, 2014

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River Island’s Kindle app

Fashion retailer River Island has launched a Kindle version of its mcommerce application, making it one of the first major retailers to extend its reach to the Amazon-owned platform.

River Island, which is based in London and has over 300 stores around the world, is using the app to enable shoppers to access its entire range on the go. Users of the app can also view trends, check in at local stores and share purchases via social.

“The code required to develop a Kindle app is very similar to Android code – we’d estimate about 99 percent the same,” said Harriet Phimister, marketing manager at NN4M. “This means that for retailers that already have Android apps, such as River Island, it makes a lot of sense to tweak the Android code very slightly and extend their mcommerce offering to thousands of new users. This involves very little modification.

“Even though the Kindle platform’s user base pales in comparison to iOS and Android, it remains another opportunity to retailers to connect with their customers,” she said.

“Three NN4M clients have Kindle apps: River Island, Mothercare and Debenhams. We’ve seen a rapid uptake in user downloads since the creation of these apps.”

River Island partnered with NN4M to develop the Kindle shopping app.

Tablet shopping
River Island already offers iPhone, Android, iPad and Blackberry apps.

Collectively, these apps have achieved more than 3,600,000 unique device downloads and helped produce a jump in the retailer’s sales.

The Kindle app offers many of the same features as these apps, including the ability to check stock at a nearby store.

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Offering a Kindle app also gives River Island another way to tap into the growing use of tablets for shopping. For example, comScore data shows that tablets accounted for 46 percent of mcommerce spending in the second quarter of 2014 and saw a 75 percent growth rate from the previous year, per Ms. Phimister.

Additional exposure
Despite the benefits of a Kindle app, many retailers have shied away from them because the platform is owned by online retail giant Amazon, which is viewed a major competitor by many retailers.

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“We have seen a growing interest in the Kindle platform from retailers,” Ms. Phimister said. “Retailers know that their customers are becoming ‘omnichannel’ consumers who expect a seamless retail experience across platforms.

“With more and more customers using Kindles, it makes a great deal of sense to cater to these users,” she said.

“Kindle offers retailers another opportunity to engage with their customer base. We are seeing that our clients that have Android apps are open to investing relatively little time into creating a Kindle app in order to take advantage of the extra exposure and customer reach.”

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

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