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River Island targets international consumers with iPad app

British retailer River Island is expanding its brand to international markets with a commerce-enabled iPad application.

River Island is targeting the app at its core consumers, who are young, fashionable and tech-savvy. The brand partnered with mobile development company No Need 4 Mirrors on this initiative.

“The iPad provides a great platform upon which to showcase River Island’s products, and we believe that the application provides their customers with a stylish and easy to use shopping experience,” said Jonathan Heap, chief technology officer at No Need 4 Mirrors, London.

“As the iPad in particular continues to become a fashion accessory in its own right, the power of brands connecting with their customer through a dedicated app is almost expected,” he said.

River Island is a Britain-based retailer that offers contemporary, modern clothing for men and women.

Mobile closet
The app features River Island’s most recent campaign from Fall 2011.

Consumers can shop and browse clothing for men, women and children.

Shoppers can also search through the app by category, including sale and new items.

To purchase an item, consumers have to create an account to check-out, which slows down the purchasing time.

Here is a screen shot of the app that shows how consumers can shop

Consumers can also create wish lists of their favorite items and share content via Facebook, Twitter and email.

For Britain-based consumers, the app uses GPS to find the nearest River Island store.

Consumers can also sign-up for River Island’s email program.

“All our customer data points to the fact that consumers really enjoy interacting with brands using the new technologies and techniques made available by tablet devices and the smartphone mobile revolution,” Mr. Heap said.

“Providing customers with the shopping experience that they want, whenever and however they want it is at the core of a retailer’s overall retail strategy,” he said.

Shop on mobile
River Island’s iPad app comes on the heels of the company’s similarly-designed iPhone app that was released earlier this year.

IPhone apps are a good stepping stone for brands looking to test out mobile, but for brands looking to include shopping, the iPad is a better experience, per Mr. Heap.

The design of the iPad lends itself to a richer experience than the iPhone offers, which River Island clearly recognizes.

In addition to River Island, British online retailer ASOS expanded its mobile reach with an iPad, iPhone and iPod touch app that let consumers shop (see story).

Because River Island is an international retailer, adding apps to its marketing strategy lets the company spread its brand message to countries that do not have River Island locations.

“Mobile retail has really come of age over the last 12 months and it is driven by consumer demand,” Mr. Heap said.

“The channel is increasingly recognized as essential to any successful retailer’s sales and marketing strategies,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York