July 22, 2010, 6:00 PM

Gilt Groupe debuts an Android mobile app

The daily deal retailer is building on its iPhone app’s success with an Android app.

Lead Photo

The limited-time sale retailer is building on its iPhone app’s success with a new Android app.

“We are starting to see downloads of the Android app and sales through it already this morning,” Shan Lyn Ma, senior director of product development at New York-based Gilt Groupe Inc., said earlier today. “The main insight we’re seeing so far is that the orders have been primarily from men.”

That wasn’t surprising, she adds, because men are known to be strong users of smartphones that run the Android operating system. And they’ve been an important part of the early growth in mobile activity on Gilt’s iPhone and iPad apps, which the retailer launched in August 2009 and April 2010, respectively, Ma adds.

Since Gilt launched the iPhone and iPad apps, consumers have downloaded hundreds of thousands of them, and sales placed through them have accounted for as much as 8% of Gilt’s total revenue, Ma says. “We were surprised at how fast customers started shopping on those apps,” she adds. “They immediately started buying up a storm.”

Gilt is also expecting a continued strong response to its new Android app, she says. The Android operating system has been gaining market share, rising to 13% of mobile phone subscribers for the three months ended May, up from 9% for the prior three-month period ended February 28, according to comScore Inc.

The rising popularity of Android is partly due to its functionality, which Gilt has incorporated into its new app, Ma says. Using the Android software development kit, Gilt’s team of in-house software developers, with some outside assistance from Android specialists, have built features not available in the retailer’s iPhone or iPad apps, Ma says.

The main new feature is a widget that appears on the home screen of its Android app that lets customers see scheduled sales without having to open the app or their smartphone calendars, Ma says. The Gilt App for Android provides zoom and pinch touch-screen technology that lets customers see products up close and flip between portrait and landscape views. It also provides a Quick Response, or QR, code that users can show friends with Android smartphones; the friends can scan the code with their Android phones to receive the app. Users can also use the app the invite friends to join Gilt via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

“Android users can now shop Gilt sales, preview upcoming sales, and invite friends from anywhere via multiple messaging channels, including sharing the app via QR code,” says Jag Bath, vice president of product management.

Ma adds that Gilt is has pushed ahead its mobile app strategy in response to customer demand for mobile access to its limited-time sales. “Members keep telling us they want to see our sales no matter where they are,” she says.

Gilt is No. 140 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.


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