February 9, 2011, 12:53 PM

GNC supplements its m-commerce site with a mobile app

The app lets users store a loyalty card and use it for in-store and mobile purchases.

Lead Photo

Health products, vitamins and supplement retailer GNC  Inc. has beefed up its mobile channel with a new iPhone app.

The app, built by m-commerce technology vendor Branding Brand Inc., complements the m-commerce site the retailer launched in December. GNC’s mobile site was also built by Branding Brand.

The app is closely tied to GNC’s Gold Card loyalty program. When a user first downloads and opens the app, she is asked to enter her card number. From that point on, she need no longer carry her card into GNC stores or have it when purchasing via her phone. The stored card in the app acts as a mobile loyalty card she can present when purchasing in a shop or via her smartphone. It tracks order history, loyalty points and more.

“It’s like a virtual branded Gold Card shoppers can use if they don’t want to carry a million cards around with them; if, for example, they are out on a jog and want to go to a GNC store,” says Chris Mason, co-founder of Branding Brand. Tying into the loyalty program also enables GNC, No. 237 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide,  to send shoppers reminders to take their supplements or re-order products. Over 80% of GNC’s in-store transactions involve a Gold Card, Mason says.

The app also features a bar code and Quick Response, or QR, two-dimensional bar code scanner that enables shoppers in stores to scan a product to access ratings and reviews and product information pulled from GNC’s e-commerce site.

Both the app and site took about six weeks to create and launch, though the app required another two weeks to be approved by Apple Inc. before it was available for download in the App Store, Mason says.

Next up for GNC, Mason says, is an app for smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system and an app formatted for tablet computers such as Apple’s iPad.

Branding Brand has worked with retailers including Sephora.com, No. 112 in the Top 500 Guide, and Drugstore.com, No. 46, on their mobile commerce initiatives. It has developed mobile sites and apps for more than 45 retailers, it says. The vendor also developed a Facebook store for GNC.

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