Homebase Launches Stock-checking iPhone App

Homebase has launched a free mobile shopping platform, as the home improvement retailer aims to leverage the 3m stock checks that customers have made on its website this financial year.

The Homebase iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app includes over 30,000 browsable products. Customers can use the app to check stock and reserve 20,000 products for in-store collection in all 330 UK Homebase stores. As yet, however, the app is not transactional in the sense of enabling customers to place an order from the app. Online Homebase product stock enquiries have increased 30 per cent since October 2009, with the decorating category receiving the highest volume of stock checks.

Products featured on the app are sorted into 13 categories including Ecohome; Homebase ‘Best Buys; and a temporary Christmas category featuring almost 1,500 festive products all now accessible from Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch devices. Users can also organise search results by customer review score.

The app has been developed by the same in-house team that produced the app for Argo, another Home Retail Group business. The Argos app clean has been downloaded almost 1m times in the UK to date.

The app template has been reconfigured to work with Homebase systems, ensuring it is fully integrated with Reserve & Collect orders on the Homebase website. This means that reserved products are guaranteed to be ready for collection within three hours.

Homebase says it has seen a 33 per cent year-on-year increase in unique visitors to its website and that 40 per cent of Homebase customers visit the website before shopping in-store. Online sales at Homebase have increased 63 per cent in the past 12 months.

“Homebase hasn’t rushed into this space, and as a result, we are proud to release an m-commerce solution that goes beyond a marketing tool to improve the DIY customer shopping experience,” says Harvey Bennett, Homebase’s head of multi-channel & planning. “We have developed the first stage of our mobile proposition to cater for the growth of website visits from on-the-go mobile users, and future developments will look to continue to improve the cross-channel Homebase shopping experience for this emerging consumer base.”

There’s more information about the app here.