Monday, July 12, 2010

Brands, Retaliers Explore iPad Catalogs

Advertising Age reports that Digital publisher Dirxion is working on digital catalogs for the iPad, to be launched next month. Brad Gorman, mobile and iPad manager, said the company has numerous retailers who are "begging to be in the beta test."

"The internet allows for great shopping tools to find the best prices or get reviews, but it's missing the pizzazz -- the reason why we want something in the first place," Brad Spirrison, managing editor of Appolicious told AdAge. "With the iPad, now you can have great content combined with a great pathway to e-commerce all on one device. That's a game-changer."

It's the move closer to the sale that is especially appealing to retailers and brands. Says editor Graham Charlton, "Anything that reduces the friction between a product being seen and acting on it will increase sales."

Numbers booster
Gilt Groupe, an online high-end fashion brand, launched its iPad app at the same time as the device and has seen that come true. The number of user visits increased; the times of the day they visit have diversified; and Gilt has tracked a 25%-plus increase in revenue per user connected directly to its iPad app.

"Our iPhone app helped people transact quickly at noon when they needed to, but the iPad app is different, it's more about sitting and browsing and researching," said Carl Sparks, president and CMO at Gilt. "It was liberating to build something completely new -- throw out the mouse and throw out the keyboard and start over with the way users want to interact with products and images."

Gap, along with agency AKQA, created the Gap 1969 Stream app, a "shopping experience built just for iPad," for Gap's 1969 denim line. It has celebrities, designer tips, music, videos and mix-and-match modeling, all touch and swipe -- and all tagged for one-tap buying.

Brands interested in commerce on the iPad should be willing to design and optimize for the device. "Don't half-ass it out of the gate and give the customer a terrible experience," warned Mr. Grady.

Pottery Barn, for instance, has been criticized by reviewers online and in the app store for its catalog app that doesn't live up visually to its real-world catalog, needing an account to log in to read it, and the inability to buy through the app. notes Ad Adge.

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