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Online retailer has launched an iPhone application to let consumers snag clothing and accessories from some of the world’s most coveted designers—starting at 20-40 percent off retail—right from their mobile devices.

Exclusively for the iPhone, house stylists have edited Bluefly’s extensive designer collection into a specially curated “Best of Bluefly” assortment. IPhone shoppers can directly access only the designer pieces they want to see, customizing their search results by category, brand, color or size.

“Our strategy was to give the mobile customer a curated and easily digestible selection of products and categories,” said Marty Keane, senior vice president of ecommerce at Bluefly, New York.  “To that end we created a ‘Best of Bluefly’ assortment  packed with pieces that perform consistently well on Bluefly.

“At the same time, we wanted our customer to be able to access the full breadth of our product offering so we built in search functionality among other tools,” he said. “We’re looking at the iPad, and I can see an Android app evolving too.

“Beyond that, we’re in the process of creating a mobile experience across all devices.”

Founded in 1998, New York-based Bluefly is an online retailer of designer brands, fashion trends and superior value.

Application users can zoom into high-resolution product images just as they would on the Web site and log into their accounts to track and review recent orders.

Here is a screen grab of the application:

Here is another screen grab of the application:

Customers can even add to a shopping bag created on their desktop or laptop, and checkout on the run with their iPhone.

“It’s about sheer portability,” Mr. Keane said. “As devices become more sophisticated, the shopping experience on these devices becomes easier, with larger screens and zoom views.

“We built the Bluefly app to really be a true cart experience,” he said. “Once you select the product you want, go directly to the product detail page to decide whether you want it or not – there are no other distractions.”

Here is another screen grab of the application:

One might wonder why Bluefly chose an application versus a mobile Web site.

“If the brand is looking to provide product information to help support other marketing initiatives, then a mobile Web site will reach the widest group,” said Scott Dunlap, president/CEO of NearbyNow, Mountain View, CA. “But generally the conversion to purchase on mobile Web sites is very low.

“If the goal is to expand your audience with a rich experience of high resolution images, educational videos, games and coupons, notifications, then mobile apps are the way to go,” he said. “Your engagement will be much longer and deeper, and conversion to purchase will be significantly higher.”

“Since these two options address different goals, most brands will likely end up doing both in the long run,” he said.

NearbyNow did not create the iPhone application. Mr. Dunlap was asked to comment as a third-party expert.