Multi-Channel Retailing Takes a new Meaning with Retail Apps

Retail Reference Architecture, it's evolution and real-life pragmatic implementations happens to be one of my key interest area.

So far on this blog I have discussed the concept of Retail Reference Architecture, proposed a concise yet complete Simplified Retail Reference Architecture and also shared some of the innovations from real-life implementations of Retailers such as ASOS. As a matter of fact I do follow fortunes of ASOS with great interest. To me this is a bold, new take on the science of retailing (...some might call is an Art of Retailing) which combines best practices from innovator's such as Amazon.com and presents a unique and deceptively simple business model. This post shares some of my further observations about ASOS and more importantly how they continue to lead the innovative use of Information Technology in the retail space.

Since summer ASOS  has launched its App for the Apple range of mobile devices. The new service has been designed for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users, and along with the function to ‘save for later’ any item of interest sold by the trader, the app also includes a locator for local drop-off points for customers looking to return unwanted purchases.

Free to download, the new app lets you browse and shop directly from fashion editorials, very similar to Net-à-Porter's. The app comes with trend reports and also contains content originally produced for the online version of the Asos magazine as well as exclusive footage and features such as video and 360-degree views of clothing items. The iPad app is available for free from the App Store since August this year with both Android and iPhone versions scheduled to launch by the close of 2011.

As the App design James Davie says, "this App design provided a series of new challenges. Most importantly striking the perfect balance between giving the user the familiar ASOS shopping experience, and the equally familiar iPad navigation experience. The final result is a balance of both which should give the user a quick, painless and enjoyable shopping experience." Having personally used this App now I can confirm that this is one of the best fashion retailing App available out there with intuitive navigation, fresh content, catalogue, bold designs and just tons of "coolness"! Above the cosmetics, what stands out for me is the fact that, customer accounts are totally synchronised across all of the retailer’s platforms so whether they are using the new apps, the standard website or the mobile site all of their details will remain consistent.

This App and iPad appear to be made for each other and not just a lift-off from ecommerce site made to fit with iPad format. Just to clarify I am not a regular ASOS shopper but as a keen Retail Technology practitioner and follower... this company and it's innovation are worth watching!

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About the author
Amitabh is a senior enterprise architecture practitioner who specialises in business and technology strategy definition, governance, architecture as well as methods and tools. He is an active industry networker, blogger, speaker and contributor to the advancement of enterprise architecture discipline. Currently he is the Chief Technology Officer in Fujitsu Services Private Sector Division.

See all posts by Amitabh Apte

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