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Joe Fresh takes US trendy apparel turf war to app

Going up against the likes of H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, Canadian apparel and cosmetics brand Joe Fresh has released its first shop-on-the-go application to make greater inroads into the bustling United States market.

The Joe Fresh app follows a similar format to its rivals in that it has bar code scans, location-friendly features and the usual bangs and whistles that attract its younger customer profile. Only available through Apple  iTunes, the app has features useable inside and outside of store locations.

“For retailers with highly loyal customers, a retail application like this can make sense, since more functionality can be baked into an app, driving consumer interaction.” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“In particular,  the ability to scan in-store bar codes might enable custom pricing, personalized discounts and other exciting mobile marketing tests that help bridge the gap between online and off[line],” he said.

Refreshing line
Joe Fresh manufactures apparel, accessories, shoes and cosmetics for women, men and children, marketing its clothes from a fashion-for- everyone angle. Its increasing presence in mobile supports this marketing approach.

The clean-cut classic style of the apparel and increasing popularity in Canada makes expanding an obvious choice for Joe Fresh.

The Joe Fresh app can be used to shop by phone or tablet. Users can find mobile deals for online and in-store purchase.

One of the most helpful features of the app is the store locator that assists in finding stores near the user. There is also a feature where consumers can scan or search for items they find in and out of stores.

Details and reviews of the items are listed as well.

Store locator feature

In the fall of 2011 the brand opened its first U.S. stores in New York and New Jersey. There are currently six operational Joe Fresh stores in New York, but the merchandise is also widely available in J.C. Penney stores nationwide.

Joe Fresh also plans to grow its retail footprint in North America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Priceless tags
Launching the app is not the only mobile-forward strategy Joe Fresh has used.

The brand is fully aware of trends in social media and uses this to its advantage. Engaging consumers through mobile is done in a way that makes users almost unaware they are being sold a product.

Completely mobile optimized, Joe Fresh’s Web site operates a blog where readers are sold merchandise through non-advertising content. Articles with fitness tips, interviews with celebrities and how-to DIY posts are available, with all content centered around apparel from Joe Fresh.

Not a stretch

The brand’s accounts on Twitter and Instagram continue a similar pattern. Outfit inspiration, quotes, how-tos and videos can be found on its Instagram. Deals, feedback discussion, pictures and event promotions are posted on its Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Popular hashtags such as #OOTD #KidsOfInstagram are used, as well as some from events such as #Oscars and #NYFW.

Joe Fresh has also developed some of its own hashtags such as #JoeFresh, #FreshDelivery and #FreshInspiration.

Mobile deals available through the app

Sephora is doing similar things through Snapchat, its own app and many other forms of mobile social media (see more).

Although Joe Fresh is a popular brand in Canada, it is still just emerging in the U.S. and developing an app can be a costly risk.

“An app is far more expensive to develop than a mobile commerce site and the retailer has to take on the added burden of marketing the app to drive discovery, downloads and usage,” Mr. Kerr said.

“The ROI should be carefully considered and an app only undertaken after a dedicated, integrated mobile site is up and running,” he said.

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York