SWIPE’N’SHOP: Britain’s House of Fraser department store group has launched an Android app that aims to beef up the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Designed by the London-based Poq Studio, the app allows customers to “personalize” their shopping by scanning barcodes to view product reviews and to access real time stock availability in a particular store. The app had a soft launch in November and House of Fraser said it saw downloads grow 52 percent week-on-week starting in December.

“We see our mobile apps as an essential part of our multi-channel strategy,” said Andy Harding, the store’s executive director of multi-channel. “Over 50 percent of our online sales come from handheld devices, and with a growing number of customers shopping via Android devices, it’s important we have suitable platforms for all mobile users.”

House of Fraser has been at the forefront of digital retail strategy in the UK and last September partnered with the coffee chain Caffè Nero to create a hybrid space in Cambridge, England. On the ground floor, shoppers can have coffee, eat and shop from touch screens. They can then try on their products, collect merchandise and browse further in the House of Fraser showroom upstairs.

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