Francesca's on Thursday announced that it partnered with Poq, a platform that allows retailers to create custom mobile applications, to build its first mobile app.
The retailer plans to launch its iOS mobile app this summer and its Android version in time for Black Friday, according to the company statement.
The company noted that the app was designed with "improved navigation and increased ease of use" in mind.
Why develop an app during a pandemic? Francesca's stated that it sees mobile as customers' preferred shopping channel. The retailer's e-commerce business has increased as the coronavirus outbreak forced non-essential businesses to close, Francesca's Holdings Corp CEO Andrew Clarke said in a company statement.
"In addition to enhancing her online shopping experience, the app will provide valuable insights into how customers interact with our brand, enabling us to interact with her in a more relevant and impactful way," Clarke said.
Though Francesca's is experiencing more digital activity, the recent decline of brick-and-mortar shopping has hurt the company, too. In May, the retailer warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised "substantial doubt" regarding its "ability to continue as a going concern." Last month, the company introduced the possibility of filing under Chapter 11, saying that it "may be required to delay, reduce and/or cease our operations and/or seek bankruptcy protection" if it is unable to generate or obtain the financing that is needed to continue doing business.
Francesca's decision to build a mobile app follows in the footsteps of other retailers that have attempted to connect to consumers virtually during the pandemic, as many quickly pivot to emphasize technology. And mulling over a possible bankruptcy isn't unusual given that multiple other brands and retailers could do the same.
Though it's not quite clear how the pandemic will affect consumer spending this winter, releasing an app before the 2020 holiday shopping season could be advantageous. A report Poq released in March predicts that more than 25% of online traffic will come from mobile apps by this year's holiday season.