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Magazines use mobile to turn consumers into buyers

"Runner's World" and "Seventeen," both leading magazines in their categories, are the first two titles to launch iPhone applications using the NearbyNow platform.

The Runner's World iPhone application "Runner's World Shoe Shop," which went live on Aug. 1, includes five different shoe guides, broken out for men and women. The "Seventeen Fashion Finder" by Seventeen Magazine includes numerous features designed to appeal to teenage girls, who outnumber male teenage mobile phone subscribers and who use their mobile phones more than their male counterparts.

"We started off working with Lucky and we noticed a couple of things right away," said Scott Dunlap, CEO of NearbyNow, Mountain View, CA. "The biggest being that every product has two buttons next to it, buy online and find near me.

"Right off the bat, with hundreds of thousands of shoppers, 17 times more people click the find near me button," he said. "That ratio has held. What we're realizing is that the power of mobile is driving people into local stores. The more we realize that, it showed two things. Lucky, even in the face of a recession, is driving people to purchase.

"Thanks to mobile, for the first time, you can actually see the yield of a magazine ad. We ended up realizing, this is nothing short of revolutionary for the magazine industry. Let's build a platform, to make it easier for a magazine to launch an application."

The Runner's World shoe guides include shoes for trail, motion control, stability, performance training and neutral-cushioned.

Also included in the application are several "how-to" videos, including how to find the right shoe if you over or under-pronate. Videos also feature "how to tie the perfect knot" and "how to determine your arch type."

The Runner's World Shoe Shop also showcases Nike's latest hot product, the Nike Lunar Glide family of shoes.

As part of NearbyNow's continuing effort to connect consumers with products, the application offers users the ability to find and reserve items at local stores or to buy them online.

The Seventeen Fashion Finder, a back-to-school shopping guide mirroring the Seventeen look and feel, is the main feature of the application, which lets teens view editor-recommended back-to-school fashions, find and purchase clothing and accessories at local retailers through the "find it local" and "buy it now" features, and share them via an "email to a friend" option.

Another part of the application features teen star Selena Gomez, who offers her top fashion picks.

"Right now the conversion to purchase on our iPhone applications is averaging between 6 and 8 percent," Mr. Dunlap said. "Just to give context, if you can get a Web site to convert 1.5 percent you're doing well.

"It seems to be engaging folks really well," he said. "It's not only fun to use, but the people who own iPhones tend to be fashion forward.

"When you forward to a friend, when it says forwarded from an iPhone, implies some fashion sense," he said. "Apple is amazing; they've done such a good job there. Either way, it's kind of hard to ignore these numbers, hundreds of thousands of shoppers a month."

Reporting done by Jordan Crook.