Kenneth Cole To Kick Off Mobile As Key ‘Gateway’ For Coming Holiday Season

Retailers are planning to dial up their mobile initiatives this holiday season as they look to nurture the “everywhere consumer” and connect across a variety of touch points.  After launching its mobile commerce site earlier this year, apparel retailer Kenneth Cole plans to embrace the technology to offer customer’s an enhanced Black Friday and holiday shopping experience.

As part of the Mobile Marketing Summit in New York City, sponsored by Mobile Marketer, Kenneth Cole VP of E-Commerce Tom Davis delivered the Keynote address today, addressing the retailer’s goals and tactical measurements for mobile commerce.

Davis, who sets strategic direction for the company’s e-commerce organization, pointed to the rapid adoption of smart phones and the growing expectation for them to outpace desktops in the coming years. Research from Morgan Stanley indicates that there will be more smart phone units shipped than desktops by 2013. “The writing is on the wall,” Davis said of the figure. “Retailers better get into the game now to find out how you can effectively leverage mobile commerce [in time for the smart phone outpace.]”


A panel of mobile experts affirmed Davis’ points, citing the growing need for retailers to nurture the “everywhere consumer” by being equipped with the tools to deliver an enhanced shopping experience at every touch point, particularly the flexible mobile device.

Davis pointed to the mobile phone as a “gateway” that has enabled the evolution of the “everywhere customer.” “There’s a certain level of expectation among consumers in the marketplace,” Davis said. “If [retailers don’t have the tools to deliver], then you’re forgotten about. If you’re missing a communication string, the customer can easily move between storefronts [on the mobile device] much faster and more efficiently than they can in [a brick and mortar environment].”

Mobile: Putting The Customer In The Middle
With its ability to deliver a more personal, targeted experience, the panelists pointed out that the mobile phone gives retailers the opportunities to provide customers with an efficient channel to deliver relevancy. Davis said the mobile device truly puts the customer in the middle, enabling them to approach shopping in a way that suits their needs and preferences. Moreover, retailers can leverage mobile intelligence to ultimately drive transactions.

“To be able to know from a data set that someone accessed Kenneth Cole through mobile or Facebook, then had redeemed a coupon, you can build customer segments and profile, which are important,” Davis said. “Mobile shoppers should not be spoken to the same way that in-store shoppers are.” Davis said this ability to build customer profiles will become a large part of how retailers strategize and deliver customer experience efforts.

Davis said that by the end of 2011, mobile optimized sites will be expected among customers, as well as the industry. He also anticipates the mobile channel to make a noticeable impact on retail revenue by the end of 2012.

Davis pointed to several key topics for retailers to be aware of, including:

Mobile optimized photography- retailers should ensure that their product images render well and clearly on the mobile device. Photography should lend itself well to the high-res environment on mobile phones, he said.

Extended mobile strategy- mobile commerce is more than just a mobile-optimized web site or rich application, Davis said. Retailers should think about mobile strategy as a gateway to other commerce-driven activities.

The Mobile Marketing Summit Holiday Focus 2010 event centered on tactical mobile strategies and topics for holiday 2010. Panelists included executives from Kenneth Cole, Steve Madden, Usablenet, AT&T, ESPN, Pepsi and Waterford, as well as industry experts on mobile growth.

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