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Urban Outfitters embraces mobile shopping’s future with 3D Touch support

Urban Outfitters is among the first retailers to leverage 3D Touch for the iPhone 6S, enabling users to quickly access content such as product details while pointing to the ongoing streamlining of mobile shopping.

Users of the retailer’s app who have the iPhone 6S or 6S Plus can also search for in-app content from their device’s home screen. These new features are part of a recent update to the app that includes support for iOS 9 and showcases what the next-generation of mobile shopping apps could look like.

“3D Touch is certainly a useful enhancement to expose popular retail app features to users in the Home Screen – such as offers, account, scan and others,” said Maya Mikhailov, chief marketing officer and co-founder of GPShopper. “It could also introduce new functionality in the app itself, such as ‘quick view’ on browse results, zoom into an image with a finger drag or and even a shortcut to add to cart or buy.

“However an app user might need a prompt that this is available as a feature,” she said. “It is too early to tell if it will drive noticeable increase in mobile conversions, because there are still many older iOS devices in market.

“For those that have the latest phones, it will certainly drive increased ‘mobile moments’ behavior from shoppers – short bursts to get the info they need.”

Early adopter
Urban Outfitters is one of the first retailers to introduce 3D Touch support for its application.

3D Touch is a new feature available on iPhone 6S and 6S Plus phones that enables users to tap, press and deep press with different outcomes for each. For example, tapping on an app icon on the home screen may open the app but deep pressing could bring users to the daily deals section in the app.

With retailers continuing to struggle with low mobile conversion rates even as mobile engagement continues to grow, 3D Touch holds out the promise of bringing much-needed simplicity to shopping on a small screen.

For users of the Urban Outfitters app, they will be able to use these actions to easily access content from the home screen such as search, bar code scanner, Urban ID and listen to UO Music.

The app also features Peek and Pop, providing a preview to product details with a light touch, explore UO community pictures or browse UO Music playlists. A deeper press enables users to take actions in the same areas.

Educating shoppers
While 3D Touch greatly expands the interactions that developers can create, the challenge is going to be educating consumers on how to use the new capabilities without confusing them with too many options.

Urban Outfitters has also integrated the app with Apple’s Spotlight Search, meaning users can find and open app content using the search box on their phone’s home screen.

Finally, Urban Outfitters becomes the latest retailer to integrate Slyce’s visual recognition technology, enabling users to scan images on the in-store catalogs and printed materials to explore and shop for items in the app.

Urban Outfitters is smart to quickly jump on these new capabilities, as its audience of young, fashionable consumers are likely to quick adopters of the new iPhone and excited to try out its new capabilities. By being one of the first retailers to take advantage of some of the new features, Urban Outfitters will be able to drive engagement with app, boost mobile conversions and build customer loyalty.

“Besides 3D Touch, for retailers the availability of Apple Pay / Wallet from the lock screen can be an important feature for driving mobile payment adoption from consumers,” Ms. Mikhailov said. “Ultimately these digital wallets, and mobilizing their own loyalty and customer engagement programs will play a critical role in how retailers connect with the modern app addicted shopper.

“Also, in-app Search has a lot of potential for retail apps as well – including their content into the search results of iOS9s result set means that more discoverability and usage of app features,” she said.

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