October 6, 2011, 10:43 AM

Orvis bolsters its mobile commerce program with apps

New iPhone and Android apps complement the outdoor gear retailer’s m-commerce site.

Lead Photo

A welcoming outdoor scene greets shoppers on the app's home page.

As consumer adoption of smartphones grow—43% of all wireless subscribers have one, says market research firm The Nielsen Co .—retailers such as The Orvis Co. Inc. are focusing on creating mobile apps that take advantage of smartphone features.

Orvis, No. 175 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300, launched its iPhone and Android apps this week to complement its mobile commerce site that debuted in October 2010.

The apps are similar in appearance to the m-commerce site. All feature a central image with a search box at the top of the screen. The apps also include a store locator function that takes advantage of a smartphone’s GPS location technology to display the addresses of the nearest Orvis stores. Digby, which hosts technology on the Internet that runs mobile web sites and apps for retailers, helped Orvis create the apps.

“We have been able to create a more engaging and personal relationship with our customers through our mobile web site, and now through our mobile apps,” says Phil Young, Orvis vice president of e-commerce marketing.

Orvis, No. 124 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, updated its m-commerce site in August to speed up the search and browse capabilities, Digby says. The timing of that improvement, combined with the release of the apps, is critical as the retailer prepares for the fourth-quarter shopping season, the vendor adds.

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