The University Co-op, a provider of University of Texas memorabilia and a non-profit corporation owned by university students, faculty and administration, recently announced the launch of its new iPhone-shopping app. Designed to complement the company’s current mobile optimized web site, the new application was released in partnership with Digby through its Mobile Platform.
“The top goal was to create content and continue to engage our customer beyond what we do with Facebook and Twitter,” Brian Jewell, VP of Marketing for University Co-op told Retail TouchPoints. “ROI always comes into play, but at least in year one, we are looking for engagement more than anything. We feel very strongly in all our touch points with our customers, it is about content that they feel they can get from us that is engaging and entertaining. When they think about a Texas Longhorn purchase, they will think about us.”
The retailer launched its m-Commerce site in 2010 to provide University of Texas sports fans, students and faculty with a streamlined browsing and buying process via smartphone. Through the iPhone application, shoppers can seamlessly search, browse and buy merchandise via similar features to the m-Commerce site, including What’s New, Best Sellers, Sales and Promotions, Gifts and a store locator. Browsers also gain “Texas Longhorn” fan access to the Tower Cam feature, where they can view live video of the UT tower after the university’s football team wins a game.
“Mobile is a significant channel on its own but it adds value for all the other channels that The University Co-op participates in especially driving consumers to the store,” said Dan Lowden, VP of Marketing for Digby. “Many will search and browse the app but then want to go see, touch and try on apparel in person in the store. Also, while in the store, The University Co-op is promoting the fact they now have a mCommerce site and iPhone App to help drive awareness and downloads. The mobile app is a great complement to all channels and acts as an overall shopping companion.”
Other app features include unlimited access to University of Texas sports schedules and scores, Twitter and Facebook integration, an RSS feed with The Daily Texan, Austin American Statesman and The University Co-op blog, and weekly discounts for loyal app users. By activating push notifications, users also can receive alerts on specials, events and promos from the retailer.
“With no question, the mobile app takes us to a level of service never achieved by us before on any platform,” Jewell said. “We felt that this was the next step after the introduction of the mobile website and a great portal from content to merchandise in one touch. Now what is the next step? We have a number of ideas, some currently in the works right now to bring our various portals to more people.” According to Jewell, the retailer is currently developing strategies to deliver limited-time offers to shoppers via location marketing applications.