Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nordstrom's new iPad app combines an online-like retail experience with an archive of its interactive catalogs

Marketing apps can a difficult thing and no less costly than marketing anything else – which is probably why you don't see 30-second ads for apps on network television. Another thing about apps is that one can not always be sure about exactly when their app will appear in the App Store, making marketing and releasing press releases difficult.
I often receive press releases or media inquiries about an app well after it has appeared in the App Store or in Google Play. The Nordstrom for iPad app, for instance, was released in plenty of time for the Labor Day holiday but yet the press release has just come out - you'd think the retailer would have wanted the release of this app more well known to assist its holiday weekend sales.

The new app for Nordstrom is actually the second app bearing the retailer's name. A previous app, Nordstrom The Catalogs, was released just in time for the Christmas shopping season last year. That app came from Synapse Group which has a couple of other apps in the App Store including one for SkyMall, the in-flight shopping catalog.

The new Nordstrom app combines an online-like shopping experience with an archive of the catalogs. The app works in both portrait and landscape, though the catalogs continue to be designed from the print editions and so really do not work well in landscape, the text being totally unreadable.

Retail brands such as the auto companies often produce some of the best apps seen on the iPad. But retailers, other than Amazon I suppose, still are a ways behind the rest of the industry.

As a marketing tool this app lacks any pizzazz, any imagination. How this app is any better than the website is hard for me to see. The website works perfectly well on the iPad's browser – in fact, I think it is a superior experience as this new app's scrolling is pretty choppy, at least on the front page of the app. Once inside things improve considerably.

Since we are on the subject of brand marketing... did you see the ad from Canon on the home page of the NYT today? It's pretty cool, but unfortunately it is Flash and that leads to some performance variations.

In any case, here it is in case you missed it: