November 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

More retailers turn to iPhone apps to reach holiday shoppers through their mobile phones

The all-important holiday shopping season is driving retailers to use every means to connect with consumers.

In a tough economic year, the all-important holiday shopping season is more important than ever, and that’s driving retailers to use every means to connect with consumers. More retailers are making those connections through mobile commerce, aiming to drive traffic to their web sites and stores.

“This holiday season, probably more than any other in recent history, retailers must find new ways to make shopping and buying more appealing to consumers,” says Barbara Schrantz, executive vice president of sales promotion and marketing at The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

With that in mind, Bon-Ton and several other retail chains are offering their wares through Nearby Now’s Holiday Gift Guide. That’s an iPhone app that lets shoppers select featured products and either put them on hold for pickup at a store or click to the retailer’s web site to make a purchase. Other participating retailers include Nordstrom Inc., Macy’s Inc., Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. and The Buckle Inc.

The gift guide also lets shoppers browse among holiday gift ideas from several magazines. “NearbyNow has managed to bring together an impressive array of publishers and retailers into an iPhone app for holiday shopping,” Schrantz says. “It’s the most creative and unique way we’ve seen to deliver that multichannel experience to the consumer.”

Mobile madness

There are several other initiatives aimed at connecting with shoppers through their mobile phones.

Home décor retailer Yoox.com has launched its own Style Gift Guide as an iPhone app that lets shoppers choose among Yoox.com’s gift items and ship them worldwide. Yoox.com also offers other iPhone shopping apps.

Shoebuy.com Inc. has unveiled an iPhone app developed with Klick Mobile that lets shoppers search, browse, read reviews of and buy products from Shoebuy’s online catalog of more than 900 brands of footwear. Shoppers can search by category, gender, style, brand, size, color and price.

“Our customers are savvy and enjoy great convenience, so this is another way we can expand our business to let them have the shopping experience they desire,” says Scott Savitz, Shoebuy.com founder and CEO. “We have loyal customers and the iPhone app allows us to be there for them, on the go.”

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

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