Eddie Bauer chooses journeying over commerce in new app
July 31, 2014
Rugged American clothier Eddie Bauer has released its first mobile application, which acts as a companion for outdoor exploration and surprisingly has no support for ecommerce activity.
The iOS-based Adventure Guide brings more than 10,000 U.S. locations across nine different activities such as hiking, backpacking and trail running, right to the fingertips of enthusiasts as a resource for planning outings. By not creating an app focused on extending its ecommerce storefront to mobile, but instead developing a tool that outdoor enthusiasts can engage with throughout their day, Eddie Bauer hopes to become one of the eight apps, on average, consumers keep on their homescreens.
“For almost 100 years, Eddie Bauer has been inspiring and enabling countless people to live their adventure by providing quality, innovative products. We are experts in outdoor outfitting and people have come to trust Eddie Bauer to provide exactly what they need and nothing they don’t," said Molly McWhinnie, PR manager at Eddie Bauer.
"The Eddie Bauer Adventure Guide is no different – It’s an easy, intuitive app that provides all of the relevant information for each adventure that a user will discover after selecting their own personal criteria."
Trailblazing new channels
By utilizing the intuitive Guide Me interface, users will instantly receive tailored results after selecting unique criteria including the outdoor activity, location, personal skill, child and pet friendliness, and ADA accessibility.
Each result features a star rating provided by outdoor experts, and contains a detailed description of the location and relevant information to maximize user experience such as current temperature and weather, distance to the adventure with easily accessible driving directions, and a step-by-step path to the activity starting point, along with duration of the trip and hours of daylight available to plan accordingly. trail type, seasonality, and total elevation of the activity, is also provided when applicable.
Recommended Eddie Bauer outerwear, apparel and gear is advertised, but not aggressively. At launch, the app features destinations to enjoy hiking, backpacking, trail running, mountain biking, stand-up paddling, kayaking/canoeing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing. New locations, activities and functionality will be added in future releases.
Ensuring app success
The vast number of mobile apps may imply the channel is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many, however analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness such as the case with Eddie Bauer.
More than half of mobile device users worldwide said they regularly used brand, product or store apps, according to a February 2013 study conducted by Ipsos OTX.
Of those who regularly used at least one branded app on a phone or tablet, 52 percent said the app made them more interested in buying from that company. U.S. women and those between ages 18 and 34 were the most likely to say a brand app would make them more inclined to purchase.
While many see consumer engagement with brands’ mobile offerings as simply a way to get discounts and deals, the greatest percentage of worldwide respondents, 43 percent, actually said they used branded mobile apps to keep informed about the brand, product, store or company. But getting discounts and coupons came in close behind, cited by 41 percent.
Innovative companies are increasingly reaching out to their customers with the help of useful apps. The idea is to use them to convey brand messages while offering a service, instead of relying on conventional advertising.
Audi, for instance, has invented the Start Stop app, which notifies the user which apps could be closed to save power. Just like the new feature in the brand’s cars, which powers down the motor when idle, the app promotes a company with an energy efficient outlook.
Before developing an app, brands need to first figure out what they would like to accomplish. Do they want to spark a viral campaign, encourage consumers to purchase products within the app, or are they simply wanting consumers to engage with the brand outside of commerce?
Regardless, mobile apps need to be entertaining, relevant and engaging while avoiding the temptation to be too sales-driven, like the examples above. Eddie Bauer’s first major step into mobile was in June 2012 with the launch of a mobile optimized site. If Adventure Guide proves popular, the retailer can further develop it to work seamlessly with in-app purchasing and other calls to action, and even social sharing as networks such as Facebook extend word-of-mouth recommendations.
"With more and more people looking for an outdoor adventure to enjoy, whether it be in their own backyard or even for a few hours while traveling for work, they can now pull out their iPhone and with our app, easily find what they are looking for," Ms. McWhinnie said.
"Our goal was to make it an invaluable tool to have with you at all times, and provide easy direction and support in finding your next outdoor adventure."
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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