If you can afford an iPad, chances are you can afford a new pair of skis, too. If you’re lucky enough to own one of Apple’s sleek tablets, consider browsing for outdoor gear using backcountry.com’s free mobile application for the iPad. The smooth interface allows you to easily shop on the go — or from the couch — in a setting that is more enjoyable and easier to use than the company’s website.
Backcountry launched the app August 8, 2011.
“We have tons of content on our site. We thought, ‘lets make an easy way to consume that content,’” Peter Eischeid, backcounty's mobile product manager said.
When you launch the app, 19 categories of gear appear. As you browse for products, each touch to the screen brings you closer to what you want. Perhaps it’s the way the iPad displays pictures and video, or maybe it’s the way the developers organized everything, but gear appears in a more robust format than on the company’s website. This allows you to feel like you’re close to the items you’re interested in and perhaps feel more confident in clicking that “add to cart” button. It’s truly engaging.
Right now, when you enter a category, say skis, it’s hard to tell which ones are the newest, or why a certain pair appears at the top of the screen. Eischeid said that products are displayed using the site relevance engine and that in the future, best sellers, items on sale and Web traffic may organize products.
“Every month we hope to launch a new update to the app with additional functionality, more interaction and more ways to find product,” Eischeid said.
Eischeid said one update backcountry is considering is adding an interface to compare products. Future versions may let you read backcountry's blog “The Goat” and interact live with customer service representatives.
“Backcountry.com is excited to get to a new space and learn how our customers want to use the space,” Eischeid said.
So far, the app is a joy to use. It will be interesting to watch the app develop over time. Even in its initial launch, this app is one of the best ways to browse for gear on the Web.