On a previous post Fred wrote on Heavy Chef, a discussion started around whether there are any good retail e-commerce mobile sites out there. Since mobile marketing and mobile sites seem to be a topic often debated, we asked, mobile commerce provider, Digby to chat to us about the subject. Here’s what Vice President of Marketing, Dan Lowden had to say on mobile marketing and mobile commerce communities:
So Dan, how did Digby start?
David Sikora, a veteran of the software industry, founded Digby in 2006 in Austin, Texas, with a goal to accelerate the convergence of mobility and electronic commerce. He envisioned that customers with smartphones would be able to purchase items via a mobile device and that mobile would become a strategic new retail channel that also complemented the ecommerce, catalog and in-store retail channels.
What is Digby about?
Digby mobilizes retailers by helping them take a strategic approach to mobile commerce. We believe that it is critically important for retailers to deliver a unique branded experience that is optimized for the mobile web and rich Apps for today’s consumers to purchase items anytime and anywhere.
The Digby Mobile Commerce Software Platform is a fully-managed suite of applications designed for iPhone/iPod Touch, BlackBerry and Android devices that empowers retailers to optimize their mobile strategy and unify their web, in-store and catalog channels.
Digby is 100 percent focused on the retail channel and now serves more than 45 top retailers including Toys “R” Us, Costco, The Home Depot, Lilly Pulitzer, Wet Seal, Godiva, 1800-Flowers, Golfsmith, Orvis and many more, Digby is the leading provider of mobile commerce for retailers.
I guess a lot of people ask you this but, what’s the secret to successful Mobile Marketing?
After implementing a mobile commerce platform, it is imperative that retailers incorporate their new mobile channel into their marketing strategy to increase visibility. A strong mobile marketing strategy consists of a press announcement at launch of the new site, followed by interviews, launch events, speaking roles and case studies. Once the site is live, an aggressive marketing strategy using in-store signage, desktop web sites, weekly circulars, and SMS and email campaigns, will enable the retailer to build stronger relationships with their customers by providing them with a great mobile shopping experience when at home, when mobile or when in-store.
Does mobile work better in certain parts of the world / emerging markets / developed markets?
One of the key features of mobile is that it can be accessed almost anywhere at anytime removing previous geographical barriers.
Now, 3G mobile Internet services are extending retail to remote or isolated areas so consumers in New York City, the rural Midwest and even Southeast Asia can have the same access to retailers’ services and products.
Retailers can now reach a larger and more geographically spread consumer base due to 3G’s connectivity as consumers no longer have to live near a retail store or wait until they get home to search, browse and buy from their favorite brands.
Mobile marketing is effective everywhere as purchases from the mobile channel are now available to consumers previously left out retail marketing campaigns.
What must marketers know about mobile marketing before they get started?
For many retailers, the mobile platform is a completely new channel to them. Working with an experienced mobile commerce leader provides retailers with a broad range of operating scale, experience, best practices and capabilities for the mobile channel and mobile marketing that retailers should take full advantage of.
Knowing the demographics of your audience, the types of devices they are connecting from and their preferred method of retailer outreach (SMS versus email versus pop-up notification) is all important information the retailer and their mobile commerce provider should discuss before the marketing campaign is launched.
Who in the industry in your opinion is doing it right?
Wet Seal has done a great job marketing their mobile channel. To execute their marketing goals, Wet Seal laid the brickwork for their mobile strategy in 2008 with the Fashion Community on Wetseal.com and Facebook. Customers can build, tag, share, rate, and purchase outfits through a personalized boutique. Wet Seal extended it to an iPhone application called iRunway in 2009 to allow customers to access this library of user generated outfits and ratings while using their iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. The iRunway app created a cross channel strategy by providing customers with the ability to scan an item in the store and be shown styles generated and rated by other consumers.
In 2009, Wet Seal also enabled a mobile optimized website making it easy and convenient for consumers to instantly shop Wet Seal products and find store locations. It has become the centerpiece for an aggressive and innovative mobile marketing effort. Using the site, consumers can search the Wet Seal catalog, see the latest fashions and buy directly from any Smartphone including iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, and BlackBerry devices. Key features of the optimized mobile site include: rich product photographs; detailed product descriptions; Shop by Category, Just Arrived, Sale, and Clearance; an option to download iRunway; store locator; FAQ’s; an ever-present search bar; online-only product offerings; and secure credit card purchasing. To complete the mobile strategy, the iRunway app was integrated to the Mobile Web platform so that customers can easily purchase the products shown on iRunway.
Do you guys perhaps have a case study of some recent successful mobile marketing campaigns?
When one of our retail customers announced the addition of their mobile optimized web site and BlackBerry app on Facebook and Twitter, app downloads increased 269 percent. Similarly, when the same retailer sent out a Direct Email Campaign for Mother’s Day, the mobile site saw almost 3,000 new unique visitors. They are delivering exactly what consumers want—the ability to buy quickly, conveniently and seamlessly right from their mobile devices—and are working hard to ensure their loyal customers are very familiar with their new mobile channel.
How are large corporates incorporating mobile marketing?
Our larger retail partners know the value in promoting the mobile channel and do so in a variety of ways. The key is to make a public press announcement to maximize exposure of the new mobile channel. Promoting to consumers and business media and industry analysts is a very effective and efficient way to get the word out and create awareness, in addition to creating third-party validation to their mobile channel. It is also highly beneficial to participate in media reviews, speaking engagements, and case studies, all of which will strategically place the retailer in front of consumers.
It is important to work with a mobile commerce provider with a significant number of editor and analyst contacts (300+) and they should help the retailer create the message to market that the retailer wants to communicate. Digby realizes the value in this and often works with our retail partners to maximize exposure of the mobile channel.
For outbound marketing, a retailer can introduce their new mobile platform to existing and potential customers via email campaigns, Facebook, Twitter and SMS promotions and also by adding mobile to their more traditional marketing communication elements (catalogs, direct mail, in-store signage etc). Promoting their brand through mobile ad networks such as Millennial Media, AdMob, and Google effectively drives consumers to the mobile site.
Additionally, linking directly to transactional product pages on their mobile storefront increases customer acquisitions and transactions.
Do you guys know of any great e-commerce mobile communities?
Toys “R” Us has done a great job implementing a mobile optimized website and rich app. Toys “R” Us partnered with Digby to implement a groundbreaking, customized user experience through an iPhone/iPod Touch and BlackBerry app to bring to life all the requirements that drive awareness, engagement and sales.
In addition to featuring large product images, detailed product descriptions, store locator, share to Facebook, email, shop by category, shop by brand, new arrivals, secure checkout and an ever-present search bar, the app also successfully introduces and aggregates many new advancements including barcode product look-up, product video and ratings and reviews.
Toys “R” Us’ barcode scanning and product look-up implementation empowers customers to access mobile coupons and additional product information including complete descriptions, additional images, ratings and reviews and view product video demonstrations before purchase. Customers are given the ease and convenience of taking advantage of the latest promotions by simply scanning the product’s barcode and then showing the mobile coupon at the register.
Mobile video integration provides retailers the opportunity to enhance the overall shopping experience by providing detailed tools and content to consumers whether they are in the store or on the go. The video content appears seamlessly, and when complete, takes the customer right back to the product page where they can make a purchase. Mobile product videos increase the closure rate as customers feel more comfortable and informed about the products they are purchasing.
Toys “R” Us’ ratings and reviews are an integral feature on product information pages as many consumers place heavier emphasis on peer reviews than the vendor’s products’ detail sections. Ratings and reviews provide consumers with the opportunity to share product feedback with the retailer and other shoppers where it matters most: right before checkout.
Through these initiatives, Toys “R” Us will build stronger relationships with their customers by providing them with new ways to learn about and take advantage of products and promotions anytime, anywhere.
That concludes our chat with Digby and Dan Lowden on building mobile commerce communities. Thank you very much Dan for telling us more about mobile marketing, the mobile industry, great mobile campaigns!