Amidst a deluge of iPhone apps, retailers use mobile applications to offer deals and drive loyalty. According to RetailerDaily.com, through a new application for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, interactive direct retailer HSN is making its retail programming available on mobile devices. The HSN Shop App allows customers to remotely browse and shop its 35,000 products.
HSN Shop App provides mobile access to HSN’s TV and online content. In addition, the application offers new features, including shake2shop, which, with a shake of the device, generates random product recommendations. The HSN Shop App? allows the user to call HSN directly or use the device’s browser to make purchases. Items can also be saved for later purchase, or emailed to a friend.
There is a growing trend of retailers launching iPhone applications to drive sales and customer loyalty. In June 2009, specialty grocery retailer Whole Foods Market launched a new iPhone application featuring recipes as well as a store finder. The application makes available Whole Foods’ 2,000+ recipes to iPhone and iPod touch users.In May 2009, fast food retailer Burger King launched an iPhone application that allows customers to place orders. Using a platform developed by restaurant mobile tech provider GoMobo, Burger King also allows customers to log in to locate nearby stores via GPS, as well as receive incentives based on their mobile ordering history.
According to research firm Gartner, iPhone developer Apple sold about 11.1 million units in 2008, so it is not surprising that retailers are beginning to reach out to iPhone users. In April 2009, online retailer Amazon purchased the developer of an e-book reader application for the iPhone and iPod touch devices.
In December 2008, Target launched an iPhone application called the Target Gift Globe to help customers find gifts. After opening the application, the customer selects age, gender, and other attributes to focus a gift search. The screen turns into falling snow (a “snow globe”) that, when shaken, dissipates to reveal a gift recommendation that they can click to purchase through Target.com or find at a nearby store.
In addition, in February 2009, Conde Nast shopping publication Lucky released a limited-time iPhone application called Lucky At Your Service that allowed readers find and reserve shoes listed in its March shoe guide at nearby retailers. Lucky plans to release similar iPhone applications in conjunction with future issues.
Retailers are also looking beyond just the iPhone to launch mobile applications. For example, Best Buy offers more than 140,000 smartphone applications from mobile software provider Handango for the Blackberry, Palm, and Symbian S60 mobile platforms.