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Urban Outfitters revamps iOS app, adds Apple Pay and opens third party marketplace

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Once-troubled apparel retailers Urban Outfitters has launched a new totally rebuilt app and has opened its third party marketplace as a beta trial as it seeks to revive its fortunes.

The retailer’s new iOS app has been built from the ground up and offers a raft of new experiences for consumers, some of them drawing on Urban Outfitters move to use AI, and adding the all-important self-check out technology that more and more retailers are embracing.

The retailers is also adding Apple Pay and Afterpay to allow users to have more payment options, including tapping into the new trend for deferred payments.

Urban Outfitters has taken a strong role in digital, with the retailer reporting double digit growth in the first quarter. It also saw digital growth outperformed stores with a double-digit sales increase – with online and mobile accounting for more than half of first quarter sales.

The retailer has taken a strong position in digital for some time — its websites and mobile apps are built on proprietary technology meant to insure they are fast, reliable and scalable — and is now further ramping up its commitment to digital. Urban Outfitters also posted a 10% sales increase at stores for the quarter, beating analysts’ expectations.

The move to launch a marketplace marks a brave extension of this digital success, seeking to tap into the Amazon effect, but with a more curated approach the retailer is hoping to create a marketplace that can extend its range and sales without cannibalising its own goods.

Retailer marketplaces can prove hugely profitable for retailers and can increase traffic and sales of own brand goods too, when done right. However, they can also become a hinderance to expansion and can damage the core brand should the third party side prove unable to supply or meet the standards of the core brands.

Several high-profile third-party retailer marketplaces have already tried and failed – Halfords in the UK being the most widely remarked upon – although others, such as ASOS and Next have quietly been successful. Urban Outfitters is hoping that it too will see this success in the fashion and apparel market.

Image: Urban Outfitters

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