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Gilt, Rue La La update apps to satisfy 2015’s mobile-savvy shoppers

By
January 22, 2015

IMG_1267[1]_optGilt and Rue La La are retrofitting their applications with new features and functionality such as free early access to sales and pre-sellout notifications that reflect big expectations from the platforms in the year ahead.

The brands’ flash-sale apps have been updated in the past month, a check of the Apple App store reveals. Besides reflecting an attempt to respond to customer feedback, the changes speak to an effort to satisfy shoppers who have become more comfortable with mobile spending and expect even greater shopping convenience.

“Flash sale mobile apps are very popular and now very competitive,” said Sheryl Kingstone, Toronto-based research director for Yankee Group. “Many of these companies find that more than 50 percent of their revenues come through mobile.  

“Mobile is extremely important for all these apps,” she said. “As a result, these companies have been providing great mobile app experiences for the last few years.”

Free access
At Gilt, “insider” members now enjoy free early access to shop Gilt sales, eliminating the need to redeem points. “Select” members shop five minutes before sale begins while “premier” members get a 15-minute head-start and “noir” members a half-hour head-start.

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Gilt app.

Gilt is also leveraging its loyalty programs strategically by rewarding members for frequent purchases.

“Success is all about content, access and reminders,” Ms. Kingstone said. “It’s also important to ease the friction to purchase.”

“However, I would recommend a wish list feature also in addition to add to cart for reminders of sales and potentially out of stocks,” she said. “Other areas of improvements would be a dedicated area for personalized recommendations either based on stated or observed behaviors.

“Mobile is all about frictionless commerce,” she said. “Fewer clicks to find the right item at the right price will create an improved user experience.”

Gilt’s app updates fit with its philosophy that while consumers are willing to convert on mobile, they expect an experience that goes above retail.

Gilt operates from a mobile-first philosophy, thinking first about how a new feature will look on mobile and then building it for desktop, rather than the other way around to ensure “fast, simple and fun” for consumers, said Jason John, vice president of online, mobile and social marketing, at Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2014 last spring.

Brands should think of mobile as an integral part of the omnichannel experience rather than an afterthought.

Gilt, with a young, affluent customer base, launched its mobile app in 2009. It has multiple mobile platforms, including apps for iPad, iPhone and Android as well as a mobile Web site for Gilt. It has also developed an iPhone app and mobile Web site for Gilt City.

At ecommerce boutique retailer Rue La La, users now can get notified when items in their carts are about to sell out so they don’t miss out on that must-have score. The app also makes it easier to add items to a cart.

Rue La La’s new notification feature fits with the brand’s history of going social. For instance, in November, Rue La La leveraged Twitter in a holiday campaign that used pet photos and held a giveaway when users reposted images.

The app has received several upgrades in attempt to respond to customer feedback that Rue La La has collected. As Rue members become more comfortable spending via their mobile devices, the brand is prepped and ready for a hopeful and profitable season.

The updates are pleasing shoppers, judging by feedback on the App store.

“I love the app,” One Rue La La reviewer wrote. “It’s so intuitive and it saves the contents in your bag for ever if you want.

“Easy to shop and use on the go. Great deals. Easy interface and never had issues with crashing.”

Clear benefits
Rue La La’s effort is more personalized because it zeros in on what is most important to a consumer – something specific that is in a cart.

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Rue La La app.

“Notification of a near-sellout is useful information and gives a sense of urgency that could drive sales,” said Jeff Hasen, founder/CEO of Gotta Mobilize, a Seattle-based marketing consulting firm.

“Whether it’s for concert tickets or to get the first of a limited product supply, early access has clear benefits. Many mobile users crave exclusivity, plus this enhancement by Gilt makes the process more appointment viewing rather than something that a consumer will check out when and if he or she has time,” he said.

“Both updates are smart because they will lead to more sales.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. 

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