Mobile madness has struck the retail industry full force in the last year. The potential to lend yet another channel to the customer offers a supplement to the customer experience, both in-store and online.
As part of last week’s Retail 3.0 Virtual Conference & Expo, Andrew Koven, President of E-Commerce & Customer Experience at Steve Madden, shared a case study example of how the shoe & apparel retailer is putting mobile to work.
“We believe mobile provides for that unique informational device wherever, whenever and however,” Koven said during his session titled “Engaging the Mobile Consumer: Strategies to Optimize Customer Acquisition, Conversion and Retention.” “We’re supporting the purchase and the confidence building for the consumer to make that investment in our product.”
Steve Madden, which operates a number of stores in the U.S. and overseas, recently entered the mobile commerce arena as they launched a mobile storefront for customers.
Koven shared Steve Madden’s mobile approach with attendees for a more customer centric approach on how to build and manage a mobile mindset to complement your brand.
Madden Goes Mobile
Steve Madden found that .5% of total online revenue was passively driven by customers that were shopping via the mobile phone. The non-optimized Web site saw approximately 55,000 mobile visitors per month, so the retailer recognized that its customers were inclined to shop on the mobile phone, even without an optimized experience to do so.
“We are truly a multi-channel brand,” Koven said. “We’re less concerned about where the consumer buys the product. We’re most concerned about the accessibility, availability and the visibility so that the consumer — wherever they want to purchase Steve Madden products, and whatever information they need — has the information that will help them make the decision.”
For the month of March, Steve Madden had 55,000 site visitors via a mobile device. There were 340,000 mobile views and 450 orders placed “ This is significant,” Koven noted. “Right away the reason to go mobile became very obvious. It’s because that’s where consumers are going.”
So the retailer took time to develop a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) site We took a lot of time to design WAP site. The retailer made certain to not focus on the applications side, but wanted to have some application features on the WAP site, as an extension of the Steve Madden brand.
“I believe, and obviously time will tell, that today we perceive mobile apps as a value add, at least as a brand,” Koven said. The WAP site really is the most significant. As we get a better sense of how customers are interacting we can understand the utility value of what type of applications might make sense for us to develop to enhance the customer experience, but we want to have a little bit of travel distance before we go into apps.”
Going Mobile: Step-by-Step
Koven stressed how mobile is good for all — the retail company, brand and most importantly, consumers.
6 Steps to take your brand to the mobile phone:
- Define Business Requirements & Statistics
- Get Relevant Departments on Board– ecommerce, IT, marketing,
- The Process: Get IT on board for project management & guidance; (hosting; testing; serve and platform; security; source code) and get marketing on board to define and plan objectives and timele (go live strategy; data collection; SMS; MMS; barcoding; email; print; etc.)
- Testing: Find out what works and what does though analysis & reporting (setup detect and redirect; usability; system; e-commerce vulnerability testing; load testing; connection speed testing; mobile environment testing; uptime testing).
- Mobile site management
- What Next: Devise a continuation strategy (SMS; Bluetooth; WAP site, QR codes, MMS click to call).
“We don’t expect that mobile right away will have high single digit or low double-digit conversion rates because it’s not consistent with e-commerce and we wouldn’t expect that,” Koven said. “However, from an origination standpoint, and information standpoint, we believe that we will help to drive a lot more purchases of Steve Madden products.
Elements of an Effective Mobile Strategy
- Relevant, timely information
- Images and content closely tied to product
- Well written, clarified product description
Koven encourages retailers to ensure that they are catering to customers that are utilizing mobile devices to browse and buy more with fully functional offerings.