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Brands are catching up when it comes to building a great presence on mobile, and sometimes consumers are willing to cut a company some slack because they love the brand so much.

Zita Cassizzi, chief digital officer at, the online shoe retailer, acknowledged at our VentureBeat Mobile Summit that the Toms mobile app isn’t the best one out there. The app is aging at 2.5 years old, but people are staying engaged with it and with the brand on mobile despite that fact. The app’s main value, taking a picture of your shoes, isn’t as big a deal today in features or functions.

But the dedication to the aging app is a sign of how enthusiastic customers are about the shoes and the causes that Toms supports with every purchase that a customer makes. VentureBeat’s John Koetsier, who moderated the session, put some words in Cassizzi’s mouth, saying she acknowledged the mobile app “sucked” during a backstage conversation.

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After the session, Cassizzi disagreed with that exact wording. “We were bantering on feature functions and I said our app doesn’t have any gee-whiz to it. [The] point we tried make backstage was there is no gee-whiz features that you need in an app to make it engaging.”

During the panel, she said that over half of her company’s traffic is mobile, and that her customers are connected to their mobile phones just about all of the time.

“It’s about knowing who the customers are and what they value,” she said. “Our customers value social engagement, content, commerce, conversation, and we are all about creating communities. They want to connect to their friends and share their values in a mobile way.”

She said, “Mobile is like an appendage for them. We want to engage them in an intimate way in their pockets, in a really authentic way where we talk to them about their values. A mobile experience has to be truly value-added and entertaining.”


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