Launching A Highly Successful Mobile Retail App For Android

At A Glance

Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion retailer offering clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and kids. Since 1901, they’ve been committed to providing their customers with the best possible shopping experience, helping customers express their style—not just buy fashion. Having found early success with their iOS app, they found their Android version was measurably lagging. They called in GenUI to ensure their reputation for best-in-class service didn’t miss a beat. 

A Tough Situation

“The iOS app went forward with a number of different features, and the Android development just couldn’t seem to keep up. It couldn’t handle the traffic, and we just weren’t happy with it altogether.”

Tim Nguyen, Program Manager, Nordstrom

As the situation worsened, Nordstom decided to pull the app from the Google Play store.

A collaborative look under the hood

Quickly recognizing the need to closely collaborate with the Nordstrom team, GenUI recommended that a small team of their own move onsite to help speed up the discovery time and ensure no rock was left unturned.

“From the beginning the GenUI team wanted to thoroughly gain an understanding of the iOS app and how it needed to work for Android. So they established a little home base here to help figure out what the needs of the Android product were.”

Tim Nguyen, Program Manager, Nordstrom

After conducting a thorough examination of the existing code, GenUI came to the never-easy-to-hear-for-clients conclusion that it would be best to start over. 

The Solution

Through development practices including pair programming, test-driven development and continuous integration, the team built a sturdy, scalable app that can respond to market changes and new user demands quickly. From an initial pair of programmers, the team grew to six and then later eight; four sets of paired programmers. After six months with GenUI, the app was launched.

“The goal was to create feature parity to the iOS version on Android, which we achieved after about a year of engagement. What’s notable about that is that Nordstrom’s iOS app had a team of 30 developers. We were able to accomplish feature parity in one year with a team less than one-third that size.”

Jason Thane, CEO, GenUI

“I was impressed with how fast we were able to get to market from scratch on an Android app. And to get almost a feature parity just five to six months after, was pretty remarkable.”

Tim Nguyen, Program Manager, Nordstrom

In the latter half of the engagement, GenUI was asked to recommend talented developers that Nordstrom could hire full-time. Ultimately, Nordstrom hired five permanent developers who were recruited and vetted by GenUI.

“The most important factor in the success of a project like this is the quality of the individuals on the team. We had a very tight knit team. Lots of trust, lots of communication, lots of shared rituals and effort.”

Jason Thane, CEO, GenUI

An Award-Winning App

The app earned Nordstrom Google’s Top Developer badge, which the Google Play editorial staff awards to the best apps and games in the store. To date, the app enjoys a 4.5-star customer rating across more than 2M downloads. Reports from Nordstrom indicate that sales performance for the Android app has been on par with its iOS counterpart, which is a rarity, as iOS users regularly spend more than Android users.

A summary of accolades to be proud of: 

  • App earned Top Developer status from Google Play Store editors
  • Average 4.5 star rating and over 9,000 user reviews (Top 5% of Apps)
  • Android sales performance on par with iOS after just one year
  • More than 2M downloads (Top 5% of Apps)
  • High app store rankings across top 15 retail keywords

And eighteen months later, the team members sourced by GenUI have become integral to the Nordstrom team. 

“To this day, we still have a few GenUI folks that stayed on with the team and are just superstar players. They’re definitely very valuable and have helped to flesh out the overall team. GenUI was a huge help to comb through candidates and ensure quality folks be brought on board.”

Tim Nguyen, Program Manager, Nordstrom

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