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Sprint capitalizes on interest in celebrities with new shopping app

Sprint, Kevin Harrington and Tommy Hilfiger are taking advantage of celebrity-obsessed consumers with a new mobile shopping application that encourages users to shop items celebs are wearing.

StarShop is a new mobile app that allows users access to celebrity-favorite products, deals, tips, exclusive merchandise and video content, to leverage consumer interest in fame to drive product sales. The shopping app acts as a virtual mall, while using celebrity content, attempting to gain an advantage on the numerous other mcommerce apps available.

“There are a huge amount of shopping apps just stepping over each other in the app stores, to really stand out among the crowd in that vast sea there would need to be a key differentiator,” said Marci Troutman, CEO at SiteMinis, Atlanta. “One of the big wins for the new shop app called StarShop, is that it was created by Shark Tank star Kevin Harrington.

“With his ability to market the app to the home shopaholics through As seen on TV, this could potentially be his unique factor to give the app lift,” she said. “There is also reported a deal to have the app pre-loaded on sprint phones, which could be beneficial as sprint does have a base of 53 million users.

“There will be pre-loaded push notifications that will be able to be deactivated, having both an upside or a downside, there are so many preloaded apps on sprint phones that having one extra on the screen is probably not going to sway a user to click and find out more just by seeing it. The push notifications will either annoy consumers that they have to figure out how to deactivate the notices, or it will entice them to look further, there is likely only 10 plus percent of users that will engage just because it’s there, of course 10 plus percent of 53 million is still millions of shoppers.”

The fame game
The shopping app gives users the option to search for products based on celebrity, brand and product category. Videos are featured on the homepage of the app detailing different celebrities and their favorite products with a seamless link to access the products.

Various products are also featured on the homepage across different categories such as Red Carpet Ready and Exclusive Sports Memorabilia. Each product detailed conveniently links to purchase, to greater drive sales.

Celebrity news is also integrated into the app. Individuals that are directly partnered with the app have pages that feature products they love, a tab for news related to the individual, video content they have provided and a biography page.

Users can search celebrities by name or access a specific celebrity’s page in the featured list of stars in the app.

For instance, Paula Abdul is a big music artist that grabs the attention of many consumers, and is one of the names featured in the list of celebrities.

Users can click on Ms. Abdul’s name and be directed to her page that showcases products she uses such as a waterproof speaker, makeup brushes, a lip collection and other various makeup products. A video showcases her meeting with fans and advertising a pair of glasses.

Marketing in mobile
Celebrity tie-ins in marketing are not a new trend in the industry, but with mobile new opportunities are presented. Whether it is getting directly behind a product, or just celebrity engagement on social media, marketers are keen in finding new ways to leverage fame-fanatics.

One growing trend in marketing for brands and retailers that produces high consumer participation is the celebrity social media takeover, which creates a buzz around the brand and its social media accounts (see more).

Also growing is the excitement around mobile shopping and applications, which has caused a bevy of fashion labels and investors to embrace Spring, an app offering a highly curated experience targeting younger shoppers as well as many brand-friendly tools (see more).

“With the potential of millions of shoppers jumping into the app to check it out, the brands that are front and center will definitely get eyes on their brands by being a part of this launch,” Ms. Troutman said. “Every brand knows that, the more well placed touch points for a consumer the better the potential for a sale.

“If it is not seen, it is not bought,” she said. “With as much success as As seen on TV products have had, infomercials playing on an app can have a positive result, the major difference being that when home shopaholics are on a TV station they do not get disrupted and have to turn the channel very often, on a phone there are quite a few things that could distract and the consumer would need to leave the app, to name only a few: phone call, text, email, social media.”

“To stay relevant in the mobile space and keep the consumers interest peaked, it would be beneficial to change up the app often, and offer promotions to get them back in once they are distracted.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily