Apparel retailer Francesca’s operates more than 700 brick and mortar stores around the U.S., but with the Coronavirus pandemic causing a slowdown in foot traffic, it pivots to smartphones to sustain consumer loyalty.
With its new smartphone app, Francesca’s can accelerate its shift to e-commerce and retain relevance with shoppers, many of whom have turned online this holiday shopping season. The app includes exclusive member deals, free shipping on app orders, and the ability to scan barcodes in store to add an item to one’s virtual cart. Francesca’s plans to add new products regularly and notify app users about collection drops via smartphone. With the app, consumers can view more products and sales than they would at a brick and mortar location, which could encourage app downloads and shopping from home. The Francesca’s app is currently available only on iOS devices but the retailer plans to add the app to Androids in the near future.
Francesca’s is the latest traditional retailer to take advantage of smartphone usage during the Coronavirus pandemic, though its entrance is relatively late as compared to most retailers. Particularly as young people spend more time online and on their phones, Francesca’s new app could appeal to its target market with an interactive, loyalty-building service. The launch of an app also allows the retailer to boost its presence beyond malls, as traditional shopping takes a hit during the pandemic according to a Gartner report on the topic. By differentiating itself via virtual initiatives, Francesca’s could appeal to a new audience of e-commerce enthusiasts and begin to build a following of digital devotees. Launching its app during the holiday shopping season could give Francesca’s a boost as it recovers from lost in-store sales earlier this year. While the brand announced it would have to close 140 stores in November, its app could help rebuild its image and revenue.
Many retailers have shifted their focus to digital capabilities as the pandemic caused consumers to pull back from in-store shopping. With its new mobile app, Francesca’s could entice returning and new customers, allowing it to step up its mobile marketing efforts and enter a new era of e-commerce.