American Marketer


A mobile strategy does not just mean rolling out an app: panelist

July 7, 2010

Ralph Lauren has a multichannel mobile strategy


NEW YORK – Although having a mobile strategy is critical, most companies do not actually have one, according to a speaker at the Luxury Interactive 2010 Conference.

A lot of brands have an application and call it a mobile strategy. Companies such as Nike, Sephora and Ralph Lauren have applications and are incorporating other aspects of mobile into their multichannel campaigns.

“We are clearly in a multichannel environment,” said Patti Freeman Evans, vice president and research director at Forrester Research, New York. “It’s about engaging the customer – they are going to be using and embracing all of these touch points.

“Consumers are expecting you to know that you have a multichannel experience,” she said. “Customers don’t want to choose to only buy from one experience.

“It’s about enabling the customer to find what is going to fit their need and the brand is going to have to attach themselves to those customers.”

Mobile in-store interaction
Brands such as Coach and Aldo shoes are seeing growth in sales due to their in-store pick-ups.

According to Ms. Evans, in-store pick ups are hard to do, but very important.

“It’s about the bigger influence that online and mobile will have on your business,” Ms. Evans said. “Your competition is Amazon, Zappos or Best Buy, which does in-store pickup in 10 minutes.”

User ratings and reviews play a significant role in purchasing.

Sephora has a mobile service that lets users browse product reviews while they are in-store.

Users can scan a bar code and get ratings content.

In addition, Ralph Lauren is encouraging its customers with QR codes.

Users can scan a bar code to get product information directly from their handset.

“Nike is also engaging their customers who want to use the technology,” Ms. Evans said. “People like North Face have a multichannel, multibrand integration, letting customers shop for products whenever they want to.

“They’re enabling this easily across all brands,” she said. “It’s about engaging the customer in a long-term relationship.

“Consumers who have access to many alternatives understand how you, as a brand, are a value to them.”

Let’s not forget about mobile
While a majority of users have mobile Web, Ms. Evans urges companies to not forget about text.

Forrester expects most phones to be Web-enabled by 2015, but the pricing model is still going to be pretty high.

It is important for brands to connect all of its channels.

A customer should be able to access a company’s information or store and service information.

“I may be standing in a store and not want to talk to a sales associate,” Ms. Evans said. “I can just go on my mobile phone.

“Brands should enable customers to have access to them any time they want in their pocket,” she said. “It’s about enabling your digital experience for mobile.

“You already set that experience, so don’t change it now, enable it.”

Engaging app
Brands should place more focus on creating an application that consumers will use more than once as opposed to an application that creates only one function for the consumer.

Additionally, access is changing the world.

Companies need to engage the consumer to whatever touch point makes sense to them.

“Brands are going to be more important,” Ms. Evans said. “People want you to tell them what they want, they don’t necessarily know what they want.

“You need to tell them what is going to fit their need,” she said. “There’s a lot of new technology that is helping consumers become more efficient.”