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Gilt exec says mobile marketing must consider audience and experience

March 16, 2015

Gilt's mobile app for iPhone Gilt's mobile app for iPhone


NEW YORK – The mobile mind shift has changed the way people live, and brands must change their marketing strategies accordingly if they want to stay relevant with consumers, according to a senior executive at Gilt during Mobile Marketing Day on March 12.

The trend of purchasing products directly on mobile devices has been steadily increasing in recent years. By using the latest technology to make it easier for consumers to do this, brands can ensure that they will not fall out of favor with an increasingly mobile-oriented client base.

“People have really changed their behavior,” said Yon Feldman, vice president of engineering and mobile at Gilt, New York. “People have changed the way they live.

“People are using their phones for everything, and they are on them all the time," he said. "We want to be part of that.

“We want to be one of those destinations people go to when they don’t want to look awkwardly at people in the elevator or they’re in an Uber and have a few minutes to kill. It’s really changed the way we organize our company and the way we do business, everything."

Mobile Marketing Day was organized by Mobile Marketer and the Direct Marketing Association. Moderated by Mobile Marketer staff reporter Mike Barris, the panel included Greg Murphy, product manager for mobile at Salesforce.

Devising strategies

There are a number of different ways for brands to improve their mobile strategies. It is particularly important to consider what device the consumer is using and in what way she is using it.

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Mr. Feldman spoke at the Mobile Marketing Day in New York

“I would focus on trying to find the places where your customers are and provide the best experiences that you can there,” Mr. Feldman said. “We also try to provide a good experience on as many devices and platforms as we can."

Different strategies might be more appropriate for different devices or platforms, so brands should determine which are more popular among demographics they wish to target. Knowing the audience is essential to having successful mobile strategies.

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Gilt's mobile app for iPad

“For Gilt, specifically our customer base is very iOS-heavy, and they tend to buy the latest devices, so we try to provide the best experiences on those devices," Mr. Feldman said. "But we make sure that we are doing at least table stakes, if not better, on most other platforms.

“You can’t be everywhere, so we provide a really good mobile Web experience," he said. "We don’t have a native BlackBerry app, so if you’re still on a BlackBerry, you can use our browser and shop on our site.”

On the table

Another aspect that brands can focus on when targeting mobile strategies is what experience the consumer is looking to have. Consumers may be looking to casually browse products, to learn more information about the brand or to directly purchase on their device.

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The homepage of the Gilt online Web site 

“Really pay attention to how people want to interact with your business on each particular device, and then what can you take advantage of on that device to make that experience better,” Mr. Feldman said.

“For example, when retina iPad came out, Gilt could really highlight those images and you could almost feel the fabric," he said. "You could see it in such detail that you could almost feel it.

“Once you find the audience and what experiences you want to go after, really try to figure out how can you use that particular platform to enhance the experience and how people want to interact with your business on that platform."

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The Gilt app allows users to purchase on their mobile devices

Gilt has been well aware of the importance of mobile marketing for many years.

A Gilt executive said at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2014 that affluent consumers are willing to convert on mobile, but they expect an experience that goes above retail.

Gilt operates from a mobile-first philosophy, thinking first about how a new feature will look on mobile and then building it for desktop, rather than the other way around to ensure “fast, simple and fun” for consumers. Brands should think of mobile as an integral part of the omnichannel experience rather than an afterthought (see story).

Nevertheless, it is important for the brand to continue implementing new technology to stay afloat in the competitive market.

“It is table stakes these days,” Mr. Feldman said. “If Gilt isn’t providing a good experience on a particular mobile platform, and in most cases hopefully a great experience, our competitors are.

“And if we’re not there, people are more loyal to their device than they are to your business," he said. "So if Gilt isn’t providing a great experience, it’s not like somebody is going to say I’ll just wait until I get home, and I’ll do it on my laptop because the iPhone app sucks.

“They’re like, I’m going to uninstall this app and install the Rue La La app or the Fab app. People are really loyal to their devices.”

Final Take
Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York