Overstock.com Inc. next week will unveil a fully transactional iPhone app designed to reach out to the ever-increasing number of iPhone users coming to its e-commerce site. The app expands the e-retailer’s mobile channel, which includes an 18-month-old m-commerce site, Mobile.Overstock.com, and a text messaging program.
“It’s clear that mobile apps are not fringe and not a fad, and that their use is going to expand,” says CEO Patrick Byrne. “To be a contender in mobile commerce you have to have an app.”
The Overstock.com app, built in-house, features large graphical pages, shop by department, product detail pages with links to comprehensive product descriptions and customer reviews, and the ability to share product pages with friends and family via e-mail. The checkout process is sped along by enabling registered Overstock.com customers to log in using their e-commerce credentials so they can use payment and shipping information stored in their accounts.
The highlight of the app, though, Overstock says, is its Lott-O lottery game. The game displays a screen that is completely gray and resembles the surface of a scratch-off instant lottery ticket. A mobile shopper wipes his finger across the screen to “scratch” away the surface to see if he won a prize. The e-retailer says shoppers are almost certain to at least win free shipping, and some will receive discounts. Shoppers can play Lott-O once a day.
The game is aimed at urging shoppers to routinely use Overstock’s mobile app, while also reinforcing the value-conscious nature of the Overstock brand, says Byrne.
“On the traditional web, people pick a product, search for it on Google, look at a few sites; but that’s not the way it is on mobile,” he says. “Mobile is more brand-centric. Mobile shoppers are going to go to their favorite retailers, and having a mobile app is key.”
Overstock.com is No. 29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name).