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Anthropologie wraps up gift registry sales via iPhone app update

Lifestyle retailer Anthropologie is wrapping up mobile sales by rolling out a slew of new iPhone application features, including the ability to access order history and send registry messages to share favorited items with friends.

The brand is kicking off 2016 with an increased focus on mobile strategy as it attempts to reach on-the-go millennials on one of their most-frequented channels. Anthropologie is well-poised to drive more sales with the new iPhone app features, particularly among consumers setting up wedding or gift registries.

“With so many mobile apps available and competing for precious screen space on consumers’ smartphones, retailers need to continue adding new features to their apps to keep them relevant and valuable to their customers,” said David Naumann, director of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Consumers are reaching app fatigue and if an app doesn’t provide real value and they don’t use it often, it will be deleted from their phone.”

Virtual shopping carts
Anthropologie’s revamped app also includes an enhanced visual experience with updated colors and larger, eye-catching imagery. The brand is likely attempting to emulate the high-end, chic atmosphere featured in its bricks-and-mortar stores.

Customers interested in starting registries with the retailer – for weddings or personal occasions – may find a smattering of helpful mobile tools. App users can now view or exchange messages with friends and family regarding favorited items or registry statuses.

If a consumer has her heart set on a festive dress, for instance, she may share it via mobile with a friend to ensure she receives it on her big day.

Registry participants will also be able to view the current status of the recipient’s list, which can prevent duplicate purchases. Additionally, individuals may alert friends of desired items by tagging them with a heart icon, making them easily identifiable.

Mobile is beginning to cement its status as a must-have tool for gift registry creators. Several retailers, including Crate & Barrel, are enabling customers to scan their top in-store picks with their smartphones, an action that will virtually add the items into their in-app registries.

“Anthropologie’s gift registry app includes a lot of cool features that make it very interactive and fun for consumers, which will help inspire more people to register their gift wish lists with this brand,” Mr. Naumann said. “With tagging and messaging features that consumers use every day with social media, the Anthropologie registry further engages gift buyers to purchase gifts from the list and maybe something for themselves.

“Well-designed, creative mobile apps like this make shopping fun and inspire more impulse purchases.”

Connected commerce
Anthropologie fans will be able to shop and monitor recent transactions more easily while on-the-go. Having a target audience of millennial women requires the brand to offer constant connectivity via mobile, so that individuals can browse items whenever the desire strikes them.

The latest iPhone app update also includes enhanced order history tools. Users may take advantage of this by checking shipping and payment information, viewing current orders, reviewing favorite products and tracking packages.

While many apparel marketers typically send shoppers a follow-up email with delivery information, moving this functionality to mobile makes more sense, as individuals will be able to monitor their packages’ location without digging through their inboxes for the correct email.

Another new feature allows users to sign in and request an app ID during the checkout process, which eliminates the need for consumers to carry around their Anthropologie ID cards.

Providing streamlined checkout options is a critical component of fueling mobile sales. Easier sign-in options will undoubtedly bolster this experience.

Ramping up a strong mobile commerce and social media strategy is inevitable for the lifestyle brand, which saw a relatively quiet 2015 in terms of innovation.

Anthropologie has previously hosted Pinterest contests to promote the discovery of new trends among home and decorating platforms by incorporating style insight from its fans (see story).

The retailer could also fuel further app engagement by adding more personalization options, such as virtual styling.

Guess Jeans is fashioning a more personalized mobile shopping experience with its new commerce app, giving users first access to collections and customized style recommendations (see story).

“Just to get a spot on consumers’ screens, retail apps must include: inventory visibility and availability, product reviews, loyalty status, special promotions/flash sales, and store locator features,” Mr. Naumann said.

“However, to maintain a presence on screens and stimulate app engagement, savvy retailers will offer: customer identification, alerts when near or in a store, videos, virtual store maps with product location, push-to-talk to an in-store associate, gamification and other surprises that keep the customer interested.”