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Rue La La updates mobile app as mobile sales exceed 40pc

Flash sale retailer Rue La La continues to take a leading role in mobile by bringing out an application for the new Apple iPhone 5, which was introduced last month and has a bigger screen than previous models.

The online retailer has also updated its iPad app to gear up for the upcoming holiday season, when tablet shopping is expected to play a bigger role. Rue La La reports that more than 40 percent of its sales are coming from mobile devices and expects the number to consistently reach 50 percent by the holiday shopping period.

“The iPhone 5 app is designed to take advantage of the enhancements that the technology allows,” said Steve Davis, president of Rue La La, Boston. “Essentially, there is a slightly bigger screen and incredible speed and that’s what we have offered to our members with our iOS6/iPhone 5 launch.

“Aspects like Passbook will be added on as we can add a strong benefit to our members,” he said.

At the forefront
Rue La La is focused on moving as quickly as its customers when it comes to technology, hence the new iPhone 5 app. Apple reports that the iPhone 5 sold 5 million units during the first weekend that it was available.

Rue La La reports that more than 80 percent of its mobile sales come through an Apple device.

With approximately 50 percent of Rue La La’s mobile sales coming through an iPad, the retailer has updated its iPad to increase accessibility and drive engagement.

“The iPad has been steadily becoming a bigger part of our members’ mix for shopping with us,” Mr. Davis said. “We’ve seen it overtake the iPhone in percentage of sessions.

“The iPad, with its more intimate use – ie. as people use it in bed and on the couch for browsing and deeper dives into editorial content — is driving sessions that are almost 50 percent longer than on smartphones and even longer than the Web site,” he said.

“Given these factors, we expect to see the iPad take on a leading role for our holiday business by allowing them to immerse themselves in our product mix with beautiful hi-res images and new ways of navigating throughout our boutiques.”

Multiscreen customers
New functionality in the iPad app includes a new “Size Availability Display” feature to help members quickly determine availability of their desired sizes and colorsm a “Size Views” feature that allows for faster movement within the application and between products and a”Today on Rue,” that gives users an additional browsing path with access to all boutiques in the same view.

Additionally, the app now features immediate access to the “Right Now” feature upon launch. This feature, which was launched last year on smartphones, allows members to learn immediately which items are selling out or already sold out, without having to navigate off the home screen.

The retailer is also focused on creating the best shopping experience across all of the channels it operates to help drive sales with multiscreen customers who purchase on desktop, mobile phone and iPad. The retailer reports that these three-screen purchasers are 540 percent more likely to purchase than a desktop-only customer.

“Mobile’s role, as we are now seeing 40 percent of our sales going through a mobile device, is to capture both the immediacy of Rue’s model and offer a hi-res, browsable experience that will connect our members with the perfect gift — either for themselves or a loved one,” Mr. Davis said. “Mobile devices are better and mobile commerce is even more familiar, so our newly launched apps are using the new technologies to prompt more conversion and activation with Rue.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York