What Retailers Can Learn From Spring, A New Mobile Shopping App

After a long, secretive lead up, Spring, a mobile shopping app, finally launched this week. The user experience slightly mimics Instagram. Users download the app to their iPhone (it isn’t iPad or Android friendly just yet) and can follow up to 450 brands that range from Steven Alan and Jenni Kayne to Oscar de la Renta and Alexander Wang. Considering it’s only a few days old, I’m impressed. The technology is seamless, but more than anything, the app is engaging (many online or mobile shopping experiences aren’t). Here’s what retailers can learn from the app:

Go beyond flat product shots:

As previously stated, Spring feels like a shoppable Instagram. There are very few flat product images shot on a white background. Instead, products are shot in beautiful settings or with a stylish outfit, similar to what shoppers see on social media platforms. Forward thinking brands such as Sephora, Free People, and Bauble Bar are already doing this by integrating user generated content into product pages or microsites, but there’s still a long way to go.

Don’t separate content from commerce:

Most retailers and brands create magazines or blogs, but this content is rarely accessible from an ecommerce product page. Spring smartly merges content and commerce by including images of the item worn on bloggers or featured in editorials on the product page, not a separate blog or social media account. It’s a Tumblr or Pinterest style approach that enhances the shopping experience.

Make it apparent that a product is special:

In addition to having a section for popular items, Spring has worked with retailers on limited edition products. This isn’t a new concept. In-store, Nordstrom labels popular items on Pinterest and department stores frequently sell exclusive or limited edition products, but Spring makes it easy for customers to find and shop these items. Similar to a new arrivals section on ecommerce sites, retailers should consider creating a separate section for limited edition or popular products, which can incite the customer to buy.

Make it personal:

Curation is a buzzword, but it often refers to a tastemaker or blogger curating product for the customer to shop. Spring is making the shopping experience more personal by allowing the user to curate or select the brands they want to follow and shop from. Personalized emails have made great gains, but the online shopping experience rarely feels customized to your likes and wants. Spring also allows users to like products, similar to liking an Instagram picture, and the app will send customers alerts if the item is low in inventory or going on sale.

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