November 30, 2010, 10:59 AM

One Kings Lane uses e-mail and a contest to market its mobile app

And Sephora makes a hero of its mobile app on its e-commerce home page.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Lead Photo

The One Kings Lane iPhone app promotes gifts chosen by its staff. The retailer is marketing the app with giveaways and e-mails.

One Kings Lane Inc. wants consumers to use its new mobile app to shop from their iPhones.  And it’s using an e-mail campaign and prizes to encourage them.

The flash-sale retailer has sent an e-mail to its customers promoting its new iPhone shopping app and announcing that any shopper who makes a purchase from the app before Dec. 12 will be entered in a drawing to win one of four $500 One Kings Lane gift cards. The e-mail includes a link shoppers can click to navigate to Apple Inc.’s App Store to download the app. One Kings Lane developed the app with the help of a contract developer.

Mobile shopping apps for flash-sale retailers such as One Kings Lane can be especially important and lucrative as such retailers typically offer deep discounts for brief periods of time—often only a day or two, says One Kings Lane CEO Doug Mack. “One Kings Lane for the iPhone was one of the most requested new capabilities from our members,” Mack says. “As each new sale on OneKingsLane.com is for a limited time and has limited quantities, it is particularly important for our customers to be able to shop anytime, anywhere to be sure they do not miss any of the great values we offer.  The initial reception from our customers has been extremely positive and we will continue to innovate in this arena.”

Other flash-sale retailers including Gilt Groupe, HauteLook and Rue La La offer mobile shopping apps and sites.

More retailers are heavily promoting their mobile shopping channels. In addition to e-mail marketing, some are using precious e-commerce home page real estate to market mobile apps and sites. Beauty supplies retailer Sephora.com, No. 112 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, this fall placed a large hero shot on its home page promoting its Sephora To Go iPhone app and offered a free make-up sample to those who downloaded the app. The hero shot is gone, but Sephora is still offering the free gift.

“We see the Sephora iPhone app as a customer service tool that brings information and helps a client shop Sephora from her phone anytime, anywhere,” says Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora Direct. “Clients can quickly see past purchases, view or create a shopping list and see product reviews. Clients have been asking for the app, so we’re excited to let them know it’s here.” Sephora also offers an m-commerce site.

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