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HauteLook Boosts Smartphone Purchases By 700% During Black Friday

Black Friday 2011 was a success for the retail industry, with 226 million shoppers visiting stores and e-Commerce sites throughout the weekend, up from 212 million in 2010, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF). IBM research further noted the increase in purchases made via iPhones and iPads during Cyber Monday, with mobile access accounting for 6.6% of sales in 2011 versus 2.3% in 2010.

HauteLook is among the e-Tailers experiencing this spike first-hand: the members-only shopping web site experienced a 700% year-over-year spike in purchases made via smartphone during Black Friday 2011.

HauteLook is a flash sale site that opens events daily at 8 a.m. PST. The e-Tailer carries items in verticals including men’s and women’s fashion and accessories, beauty, children’s apparel and toys, home décor and travel getaways. With a free membership, shoppers can access a curated assortment that is discounted up to 70%.

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The HauteLook e-Commerce site experiences traffic boosts between 8 to 10 a.m. PST, when sales first begin. The mobile optimized site and smartphone apps account for 20% of the retailer’s overall sales. In addition to its impressive 700% Black Friday sales increase through smartphone access, HauteLook increased transactions completed via tablet by approximately 200%.

“Mobile access has become a large part of our business, both through smartphones and tablets,” said Greg Bettinelli, SVP of Marketing, HauteLook. “As we continue to grow, we are making it a priority to promote mobile applications that are engaging and easy to navigate.”

Leading up to Black Friday weekend, HauteLook implemented several web and app alterations to increase gift purchases, according to Bettinelli. The merchant featured a “gift of the day” special as well as a “holiday gift shop” to spotlight top-selling items consumers can buy for family and friends, as well as themselves. Although HauteLook did not offer Black Friday sales or promotions, the e-Commerce site experienced a 40% surge in traffic on Black Friday and a 34% increase on Thanksgiving Day. Overall e-Commerce sales increased 17% on Black Friday and 6% on Thanksgiving.

Consumers are gravitating to the web to complete holiday purchases, making site stability and seamlessness a priority for HauteLook during this season, according to Bettinelli. Addressing this priority, HauteLook has created streamlined item categories and site organization in an effort to reduce the time it takes for shoppers to move from item to checkout.

For optimal holiday sales performance, HauteLook taps social media interaction to encourage brand enthusiasts to act as brand ambassadors across channels. For example, to promote sales and contests, HauteLook posts detailed item images and alluring calls-to-action that attract brand enthusiasts and encourage sharing of these offers. Sharing via social media by brand ambassadors is especially impactful during the holiday buying season.

“Social media is all about amplification,” Bettinelli said. “Most people who follow brands on Facebook and Twitter typically are brand enthusiasts already. Delivering a message that encourages them also to be ambassadors is vital to increasing brand awareness. Social media isn’t about selling items on Facebook; it’s about driving incremental behavior through exclusive access to sales, events and information.”

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