CUSTOMER STORY

Rainbow Shops Found the Best Shopify App Builder and Increased Conversion Rate with MobiLoud

My team is thrilled because we have functioning apps that require almost no effort on our part, to build or maintain. It is a brilliant solution. For someone that wants to see the impact an app has on a business, MobiLoud is the single best way to make that happen.

David Cost
VP of Ecommerce and Marketing
Company

Rainbow Apparel is a fashion retailer, with over 1,200 stores across the US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. They specialize in affordable clothing, shoes and accessories for women, juniors and kids, size inclusive.

Location

US

Industry

Ecommerce

Rainbow Apparel is a fashion retailer with over 1,200 stores across the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – along with an online presence at rainbowshops.com.

And like many retailers, as part of their digital presence, they launched their own mobile apps. They’ve had apps for seven years, during which time they experimented with native apps, hybrid apps, Shopify app builders, and wrapper app services.

Yet none of the solutions really worked as they intended – until MobiLoud came along. MobiLoud helped Rainbow Apparel build an app to their exact specifications, fully recreating their web UX and saving unnecessary cost and effort. Read on to see how they did it.

What Rainbow Want From Their Mobile App

We talked to David Cost, VP of Ecommerce and Marketing at Rainbow, about what their goals were from their mobile app.

The big takeaway was that they didn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel. Their mobile website worked great – they just had some customers who preferred to shop on an app.

“In our experience, users break into two camps. There are users who prefer to buy on the app and users who prefer using the browser.”

The goal of the app was to give an alternative for this segment of their customer base, without doing anything groundbreaking. Essentially, just a recreation of their mobile website.

“Our apps never had any functionality or usability beyond of what we offer on web. The reason to have an app is not to have something that isn’t on the website, but for people who prefer that way to access Rainbow content.”

Trial and Error with Native, Hybrid and Wrapper Apps

As mentioned, MobiLoud was not the first time Rainbow entered the mobile app space.

They first launched an app seven years ago. Between then and now, they’ve tried several options, all of which have come with their own downsides.

“MobiLoud is the fourth app vendor that we’ve had, so we’ve experienced the plus and minuses of the native, hybrid and wrapper approaches to apps. We’ve tried them all.”

Native was first – but the cost to maintain a native app proved to be too much.

They found what appeared to be a good solution, with a wrapper app tool – only to cause issues when they migrated their website to a new platform.

“We were working with other app providers which were also a wrapper. But we moved to Shopify and their solution stopped working, and they were never able to solve it. That send us in a tail spin when we moved from Salesforce to Shopify.”

The next step was to try a Shopify app builder, that would allow them to build a hybrid app, with each platform (iOS, Android, web), managed from their Shopify backend.

Ultimately, these tools couldn’t replicate the same user experience that their website provided.

“The hybrid solutions on top of Shopify are just too limited. The Shopify API only enables certain things and for all the major providers of hybrid apps for Shopify, they had major limitations that the Shopify API would not let them get around.”

They lost a year trying to get around this issue, and launch an app that recreated their website, only to find it wouldn’t be possible with a hybrid app.

“When our first wrapper app stopped working, we were forced into working with another app provider. That was a year of work, and then we discovered all the different things they couldn’t do because of the Shopify API.”

The wrapper approach seemed to be the best bet, being easy to maintain, and easy to recreate their website experience. But they needed a proven tool that could do this for their Shopify website, without any issues.

Finding a Proven Solution

While there is a long list of Shopify apps and app builder platforms that work with Shopify, the majority are hybrid tools that utilize the Shopify API.

Wrapper app builders for Shopify were a harder thing to find. However, MobiLoud was there.

“We started searching for a wrapper solution that works with Shopify websites, you were literally the only ones that came up. Somebody else was suggested but when we asked them the questions of giving us an example of a Shopify store they couldn’t, which you could.”

With thousands of successful apps launched, they could see examples of similar apps that use MobiLoud to launch mobile apps, such as fellow fashion retailer John Varvatos.

“You were able to show us the John Varvatos app, and it worked in the way we expected.”

That was enough to convince David to see what MobiLoud could do for them.

What Made MobiLoud the Best Option

So how did MobiLoud provide the perfect solution for Rainbow Apparel?

A Simple Recreation of their Mobile Website

As David said, they didn’t need any new features, or anything that their website didn’t already have. They just wanted a way for customers to choose between shopping on their mobile site, or the app.

Hybrid app builders couldn’t do that with the Shopify API. But that’s exactly what MobiLoud does. It’s the best way to simply launch your site as an app, as seamlessly as possible.

Working with Shopify Stores

Building the perfect app with Shopify turned out to be a difficult task for Rainbow’s team. The API solutions weren’t perfect, and their previous wrapper app didn’t work when they migrated their site. MobiLoud, however, works great no matter the platform.

No Additional Maintenance

“Before we had web, iOS and Android app and that would be 3 different things to maintain. With the wrapper approach, we have the best of both worlds, and stop having to maintain a third platform.”

A lot of business owners underestimate how much work (and expense) it is to maintain two apps and a website separately.

With MobiLoud, there’s nothing extra to add to your workflow. Just maintain your website as you normally do. Your apps update automatically, and any app-specific maintenance is done by our team.

Cost

“MobiLoud gives us a very inexpensive way to have apps. The cost was so low that it was worth running an experiment to see what you can do. If we had unlimited time and money, we would probably go for a custom native app, but that is half a million to a million a year to maintain.”

For what they were able to do with MobiLoud, the cost is almost too good to be true.

Native apps, as David points out, can cost millions – not just to build, but to maintain and keep the apps up to date.

MobiLoud is inexpensive, and with very little cost up front (not to mention a 60 day money back guarantee), there’s zero risk to seeing what your app is going to look like.

Push Notifications

“Push notifications as a communication channel are extremely powerful. It’s the cheapest communication channel we have, and it’s the most powerful one. We find that users who prefer to interact via an app are more loyal, buy from us more often and spend more time with our content.”

The only significant difference between Rainbow’s website and app is the addition of push notifications. As David says, push notifications are an incredibly powerful tool for online stores. They help nurture more loyal users, who are more likely to come back and shop again and again.

The seamless integration with OneSignal for push notifications is routinely mentioned by happy users as a reason MobiLoud stands out from the crowd.

After 7 Years and 4 App Builds, Rainbow Launched the Perfect App

The Rainbow Shops mobile app

The seven years since the first Rainbow Stores mobile app launched have been a roller coaster. But now, they’ve got the optimal solution for an app, which doesn’t add any hassle to their workflow.

“My team is thrilled because we have functioning apps that require almost no effort on our part. It is a brilliant solution. For someone that wants to see the impact an app has on a business, MobiLoud is the single best way to make that happen.”

Better yet, along with being cheaper and easier, their MobiLoud app build is actually delivering better results than their previous app.

“We have seen our conversion rate increasing when we moved from our hybrid app to MobiLoud.”

The seamless user experience between web and mobile appears to be a winner with Rainbow customers, which makes it a winner with the Rainbow Apparel team as well.

Rainbow Shops is just one of the 1,200+ examples of successful apps launched with MobiLoud. Whether you run an ecommerce store, a news site, forum or any other type of online business, if you’ve been thinking about converting your site to a mobile app, there’s never been a better time to do it.

MobiLoud makes the entire process simple and affordable. Just book a personalized demo to have one of our app experts walk it through for you.

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