October 12, 2011, 9:09 AM

Mobile Commerce Forum Report: A bright start for PacSun’s iPhone app

The apparel retailer believes its app strikes a good balance between features and function.

Lead Photo

Tim Katz

More than 50,000 consumers have downloaded Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.’s iPhone app since it launched in May, said Tim Katz, senior online operations manager for PacSun yesterday during his presentation at Internet Retailer’s Mobile Commerce Forum in Houston. The retailer netted more than 10,000 downloads during its first month in release and has sustained that momentum since.

The app is helping to contribute to PacSun’s m-commerce sales, which represent 4% of its online sales. Katz did not break down how much of those sales came from the iPhone app versus PacSun’s mobile-optimized web site, which launched in 2009. He also said that 10% of PacSun’s online traffic comes from mobile devices.

He said the retailer developed the iPhone app after PacSun’s analytics revealed that more than 60% of  the retailer’s mobile traffic came from devices running on Apple’s operating system, which include iPhones, iPad and iPod Touch devices. Katz said PacSun realized it could create more appealing tools just for these consumers if it built an iPhone app. “The question was why have an app when we already have a robust m-commerce site, but it was really a natural progression,” he said. “We knew we could build features that take advantage of native features that the iPhone has.”

Katz said PacSun’s iPhone app does everything the commerce-enabled mobile site can do, and more. New, app-only features include 2-D bar code scanner capabilities, a GPS store locator, fashion lookbooks and Facebook sharing. It can also send push notifications to app owners to alert them to new information. The retailer also is aggressively adding 2-D bar codes in its stores so consumers can scan them and connect to content. For example, the retailer has placed 2-D bar codes in the display windows of its stores that consumers can scan to download free music.

Katz said PacSun’s mobile initiatives, which also include an iPad app designed to help store clerks help consumers shop in store, follow the retailer’s mission statement to be creators of culture, style and fun.

Pacific Sunwear of California is No. 255 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide and No. 195 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce 300 Guide.

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