At the end of last month, clothing retailer Free People introduced a dedicated app for iPhone and iPod Touch users. With it, customers can shop from the boho clothing store, which is owned by Urban Outfitters, while on the go. Now, Mashable is reporting that within its first week of launch, the mobile app, which was downloaded 24,000 times, has nabbed an impressive 7 to 10 percent of sales.
The Free People mobile app allows customers to browse and shop, read product reviews, find store locations, and receive alerts for things like exclusive sales. Not only is the mobile app an easy-to-use e-commerce platform, but an engaging experience. Mobile users can join the FP Me social community where they can create profiles, share their favorite items, and upload photos of their personal Free People styles. In its next release, the app will target local users, informing them, with push notifications, of in-stock items and in-store events.
According to Free People’s director of marketing, Jed Paulson, the mobile app is not available to Android users because they make up such a small portion of the retailer’s audience. It was also not introduced to iPad users because mobile site sales have been satisfactory with that audience.
“We were expecting our mobile [web] shoppers to migrate to the mobile app, and for sales on the mobile site to drop,” Paulson told Mashable. “But sales held steady on the mobile site, and we got a 100% boost from the app.”
Mobile apps are becoming more popular among content marketers, and for good reason. According to eConsultancy, 85 percent of consumers favor mobile apps over mobile sites. They find apps to be more convenient, faster, and easier to browse than their website counterparts.
Despite compelling data around mobile apps, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. IT World says there are several factors to consider before choosing between a responsive design, mobile site, or mobile app. The capabilities and costs of each should be taken into consideration.
Content marketers can also make more informed decisions by taking a lesson from the Free People mobile app. Audience research in the decision-making process is crucial. By understanding their target audiences and their mobile habits, content marketers can avoid disrupting processes that work for existing users, and making unnecessary investments.
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