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How luxury brands can trigger mcommerce during summer salesBy Tricia Carr
To push merchandise during summer sales to the savvy affluent consumer, luxury brands and retailers should milk their mobile presence by optimizing all sites for commerce and reeling in consumers when they are most willing to spend.
Luxury marketers such as Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs are all in summer sales mode and are spreading the word via email and on their ecommerce sites. To encourage mobile transactions while consumers are out and about this summer, it is imperative that brands stay top of mind via moves such as mobile VIP clubs, special offers, SMS reminders and push notifications.
“Mobile is ideal for summer sales since it enables consumers to act immediately when interest and opportunities present themselves,” said John Puterbaugh, founder/CEO of Nellymoser Inc., Boston.
“During the summer, consumers are often outside and on-the-go,” he said. “It is key to capture them during moments throughout the day when they are searching, browsing, comparing, sharing and evaluating a variety of push and pull marketing programs.”
‘Tis the sales season
Since summer sales can draw affluent consumers who appreciate discounts as well as mainstream consumers who can afford luxury items at regular sale price, it is important to view these transactions as a potential relationship with a new consumer.
Mobile transactions during a sale period can assist in building these relationships because it shows consumers that the brand or retailer is where they are.
If a mobile transaction goes smoothly and gives the consumer extra benefits, a luxury brand can turn a one-time deal into a loyalist in the case of an affluent consumer, or fan of the brand in the case of a mainstream consumer.
“The savviest marketers view mobile as a tool to build loyalty,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA.
“Rather than a one-time transaction, mobile VIP clubs present the opportunity to cultivate a relationship and provide personal information and offers that make communications more effective,” he said.
Consumers who are traveling who want to take advantage of sales, so luxury brands should provide worthwhile opportunities for them to take advantage of sales via mobile.
“More consumers carry global phones because they need to be connected while on business or vacation,” Mr. Hasen said. “It is imperative that brands provide only relevant ads and offers that are worth the consumers’ time and dollars.”
In fact, keeping consumers’ eyes on the true value they are getting from the sale is the key to mobile commerce.
“For mobile to be effective, the offers must be compelling, there must be some element of uniqueness or scarcity and it must be simple to take action,” Nellymoser’s Mr. Puterbaugh said.
“Mobile commerce is really about having a strategy that takes into the account that the mobile phone is a critical tool that we use when making decisions that result in a purchase, and it does not have to be restricted to simply making online purchases through a phone,” he said.
Keep them coming
To raise awareness for a summer sale via mobile, luxury marketers need to focus on calls-to-action.
Luxury brands and retailers need to evaluate the digital and physical touch points that consumers engage with, per Mr. Puterbaugh.
Next, it is key to determine the goals for a given sale such as whether it is to drive people into a physical location or go to their mobile devices purchase a specific product.
“It is important to use mobile to make the message relevant – right person, at the right time, in the right place – and simple and compelling,” Mr. Puterbaugh said.
“Brands should tell consumers what is offered for what time period and what needs to be done to immediately take action so as not to miss the opportunity,” he said.
“Applications need to carefully balance and consider push notifications given that can become annoying if the offer is not relevant.”
Saks Fifth Avenue is known to use push notifications. The retailer has been pushing its summer sale via email and likely will continue to do so via push notifications from its mobile application.
Saks iPad app
In addition, to keep brands top of mind during a sale, luxury retailers should not be afraid to use SMS messages, as savvy consumers are likely to be open to this type of communication.
“SMS often is a workhorse for sales because texts are opened so frequently and quickly,” Mr. Hasen said. “Beyond that, we advise brands to provide relevant information and think mobile, including the optimization of their sites.”
For example, Celebrity Cruises sends an SMS message to an opt-in customer base once a week to alert of new summer deals.
Celebrity Cruises SMS messages
While promoting a sale, brands should not forget the basics. Mobile optimization is key for all mobile transactions.
Sales can drive all types of consumers to a mobile site, so it is a good opportunity for marketers to showcase their best efforts. Ease of transaction is important to maintain consumers on mobile devices.
“Mobile commerce is critical during all months of the year because more and more are buying via wireless devices, including tablets,” Hipcricket’s Mr. Hasen said.
“Mobile provides convenience and knowledge so the consumer feels confident that he or she is finding the right product at the right price,” he said.
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York
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