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April 21, 2011

Quidsi Inc. has rolled out iPhone applications for its and ecommerce destinations that let consumers make purchases even if they are in a no-service area.

Shopping on the Soap and Diapers apps lets customers select items to purchase even when they are without service or Wi-Fi access and still have their orders delivered for free in one or two days.

The iPhone user’s list is stored locally, allowing customers to complete 95 percent of the purchase offline.

The order automatically finishes when the mobile device regains service.

Additionally, the app lets users scan product bar codes to comparison-shop on-site versus in-store prices, or quickly add items to their shopping cart from the products they already have at home.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Rimma Kats interviewed Josh Himwich, vice president of ecommerce solutions at Quidsi, Jersey City, NJ.

Here is what he said:

What’s the monetization strategy behind the app?
The app is a free extension of our site.

The mobile channel is very powerful – think of all the times you are walking to lunch or doing laundry and you think, “I really need more dryer sheets” or “I forgot to get toothpaste again.”

By putting our sites into the pockets of our shoppers, we allow them to re-order products they need, wherever they are.

What’s the app’s target demographic?
Our customers in general are busy, digitally savvy people who are looking to eliminate their errands and find more time for themselves and their families.

Why is mobile commerce important for and and are all about making life easier.

If we can help people pick up their shampoo, deodorant or baby food while they are riding the subway or walking home from work, we think that helps them complete the errands they have to do so they can spend more time doing what they want to do.

The Soap and Diapers apps allow you to carry a drugstore and a huge baby specialty store in your pocket – you can quickly and easily order what you need, and it will arrive in one or two days, or even same-day in New York City.

Why is offline functionality such an important feature?
There’s nothing more frustrating than going through an order process and being ready to check out, and then having a site crash or losing service.

We think that’s a huge pain point for consumers. Being able to go through 95 percent of your order process offline eliminates this issue, and makes the order process go that much more smoothly.

The big plus for the offline functionality is that you can quickly add things to your cart that you need to reorder anytime, anywhere, instead of waiting to get back online. There’s never a moment where you can’t run your errands.

Finally, many of the employees at Soap and Diapers are themselves loyal New Yorkers, and so know first-hand how frustrating it is to be trapped without service in the subway. And wherever there’s frustration, there’s also opportunity. We’ll now be the only commerce-enabled mobile app that works wherever you are.

What other key features help the app stand out?
One feature we are really excited about is the bar code scanner. This allows you to scan items that you use in your house, and you will be automatically taken to that product page to add to your cart with one click.

What’s the current state of’s mobile presence?
This is our first foray into mobile.

Our Facebook pages allow customers to re-order items they’ve shopped for before from within Facebook, and we’ve found that to be successful.

We’ve also seen that customers shopping our sites from the iPad spend a lot of time browsing and ultimately have larger orders than average.

While our sites aren’t specifically designed for tablets, we think the browsing experience we’ve created is especially conducive to this.

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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