- Canadian department store Hudson's Bay launched a bilingual iOS app to reach shoppers whether they're in stores or on the go. The app's homepage showcases a curated selection of the latest brands and new products, per an announcement.
- The app, available in both English and French, lets in-store shoppers scan product barcodes to search for additional styles and sizes and see more detailed product descriptions. Customers can buy products and get free home delivery. The app also lets shoppers track order shipments and save a list of their favorite items for later purchase.
- The department store plans to add more features and updates in the next few months. The app can be downloaded for free from Apple's App Store.
Hudson's Bay is among the department stores that have struggled to adapt to the growth in e-commerce and greater competition from discount chains. It's not clear that a redesigned mobile app will help the company, whose history goes back more than 300 years, amid shifting shopping trends.
Hudson's Bay has an opportunity to develop a "bricks and mobile" strategy that seamlessly combines mobile browsing and in-store shopping, reflecting prevailing consumer shopping habits. "Mobile window-shopping" is a new trend in North America among mobile consumers who don't buy products in retailer apps after browsing them, according to a study from marketing firm Liftoff and mobile measurement firm Adjust. In the United States, 85% of shoppers still regularly visit physical retail stores, while using mobile phones to help make purchase decisions, according to a survey released by RetailMeNot.
Meanwhile, Hudson's Bay is looking to cut costs by closing underperforming stores and renegotiating leases with landlords, while executive chairman Richard Baker seeks to take the company private in a $1.74 billion deal. Same-store sales fell 4.3% in the most recent quarter as the company sought to lure former customers of Sears Canada with lower-priced products, while Walmart Canada remains a strong competitor, per BNN Bloomberg. The proposed management buyout has faced criticism from shareholders who are demanding that the company improve performance. HBC last month announced that its board had formed a special committee of independent directors to review the proposal.