Men's fashion brand John Varvatos tried a number of ways to build their mobile shopping app. After exhausting those that were unsuitable or too expensive, they found the perfect solution with MobiLoud.
Launched in 2000 by its founder of the same name, John Varvatos offers a signature collection of men's clothing and accessories through 20 physical retailers, spread across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
And while they have a successful ecommerce presence, Director of IT Nick Barbarise identified that they were lacking when it came to the mobile user experience. That's where MobiLoud stepped in to help.
Why Build Apps?
While John Varvatos has a number of retail stores worldwide, today's consumers demand the ability to shop online as well.
Their online store johnvarvatos.com provides that. But today, it's not just about being online, retailers also need to cater towards the growing cohort of users who prefer to shop on mobile.
"Looking at the mobile conversion data in our online site analytics, I saw a missed opportunity by not providing an app for our customers."
The other thing Nick identified that led them to building an app was the ability to create a direct and personal communication channel with customers, which an app would provide through native push notifications.
"We needed an application that allowed us to reach out to customers [via push notifications], not just via email or phone."
Searching for the Right Solution
Nick and the team looked at a variety of options to build the app. They looked at various app builders, and considered hiring freelancers to code their apps, which were not ideal.
"We tried a handful of different options in the market in terms of app builders, as well as reaching out to countless freelancers. Nothing out there provided us with the ease and accessibility that MobiLoud did to our team."
The main issue they ran into was support. Their team had not worked with apps before, so if they were to partner with a tool or service, they needed one that could support them throughout the process as a first-time app publisher.
"We have a small team, with no app development experience. We needed someone that would hold our hand through the process of creating a signature app for our company, and guide us on how to maintain the app post-launch, from in-app notifications to analytics."
App Development as a Non-Technical Business
Few ecommerce brands have the resources in house to build custom native apps. These are not IT companies. Their payroll is dedicated towards sales, product management and marketing.
If brands have an IT team, this team is generally very small, and focused on web development. Only the largest brands have the technical ability and/or budget to dedicate to building an app, as Nick explains.
"My IT Team is very small, with limited resources. We don't have the expertise to build Apple/Android apps."
On top of this, app developers are extremely expensive, and even successful retailers like John Varvatos are unlikely to be able to justify the cost (and time investment) of hiring developers to build a custom app.
"I looked around and spoke with many programmers. All were outside of our budget and wouldn't be able to deliver on time. The only option that stood out and fit for us was MobiLoud."
The Difference with MobiLoud
MobiLoud stood out in all the areas that developers or other app builders didn't work out for Nick's team.
We fit their budget, and also provided the white glove treatment that few app builders or app development services do.
"The team at MobiLoud held my hand to ensure our app was done properly from beginning to end. They were there to help with everything from setting up push notifications, analytics and submitting our apps to the Apple and Google app stores."
The other big plus was the price. Nick mentioned that of all the options he looked at, he could not beat the price MobiLoud provided to put an app together.
It's this combination of value and full service that allowed John Varvatos to launch a professional, high-quality mobile app without a huge budget or any in-house app development experience.
Growing Their Reach and Offering a Better Mobile User Experience
Their decision to build an app with MobiLoud was validated by instant uptake from their customers.
"Our first day of launching the app, we had over 1,000 users download it. Our company has wanted an app for some time now, but have had trouble moving forward with the project, so this success was taken very well across the organization"
The app provides a boost to the mobile user experience, offering the same functionality of the website in a faster, smoother, more convenient package.
"Even though the app works exactly like the website, something about having a button on your phone to launch it makes it feel so modern. And the app actually works faster than the website."
The app also gives them the full power of mobile push notifications, which the team is beginning to use to boost sessions and user retention.
Every shopper who comes to the site can now see the App Store and Google Play badges, which add a new element of prestige and social proof to the John Varvatos brand.
The MobiLoud Experience
Nick has some advice for other website or store owners who are on the fence about launching their own app.
"Don't wait much longer! We had zero app experience coming into this and with MobiLoud's help we feel super comfortable in this new realm."
Not only do they have working mobile apps for Android and iOS, by walking them through the process, Nick's team now knows exactly how their apps work, and can work on optimizing this new, powerful channel.
"Along with the services that MobiLoud provided, we now know how it works, how app programming is done, how to get analytics we never had visibility to before, how to reach out to a customer we couldn't before and other great new lessons learned from this project."
They achieved all this without hiring developers and bloating their payroll.
You can read more here about the benefits of building ecommerce apps with MobiLoud.
Read to convert your own website into mobile apps? The process couldn't be more straightforward. To start the ball rolling, get in touch with our team and discuss how MobiLoud can help elevate your business to the next level.
John Varvatos is a men’s designer fashion brand, with an ecommerce presence alongside retail stores spread across the US, UK and Canada.