NEW YORK – The idea of combining mobile with other channels, most notably in-store, is something that will continually grow and provide new marketing channels for consumers this year, according to a Saks Fifth Avenue executive at the Women’s Wear Daily Digital Forum. Using either smartphones or tablets in-store is going to come into play more frequently with luxury shoppers. In fact, mobile is going to become the key connector for different channels.
“Consumers are using tablets and smartphones in new ways,” said Denise Incandela, president and chief marketing officer of Saks Direct at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York. “This is becoming the norm. Luxury shoppers are becoming more mobile and are using their devices everywhere. “Therefore, brands should make their in-store experiences more mobile-friendly,” she said. “There has to be a way to combine the rich search and finding capabilities of online and mobile with the luxurious in-store environment.”
Shoppers can use smartphones or tablets in-store for a variety of reasons. Brands can take advantage of this by using QR codes. If consumers scan a code on an article of clothing, they could view the item walking down the runway or see product reviews, per Ms. Incandela.
Furthermore, a majority of consumers are likely to compare prices in other locations via their phones or tablets. Consumers could also draw inspiration from featured items on a mobile site or application and try to find them within the store. This is also true with items found in-store prompting mobile buys if the store does not have a certain color or style.
Saks iPad app
Consumers are also doing mobile and in-store shopping distinctly.
“Shoppers might see something in a store and buy it online, or buy something online and pick it up in a store or buy online and return to a store,” Ms. Incandela said. “The point is that they are using the medium in different ways and for different reasons, and brands need to create a seamless cross-channel presence,” she said.
The idea of an omnichannel presence is relatively new, but important to the luxury world. As high-end brands are developing new channels in which to engage consumers, they need to make sure that every medium is consistent with the others. This will not only exude the luxury vibe, but make sure that consumers do not get confused or mix-up brands. Saks is creating a more seamless experience cross-channel through tweaking its Web site, creating a new mobile application and optimizing its Web site for mobile.
Saks smartphone site
In addition, its Web and mobile sites look very similar, further emphasizing the importance of similar design and capability.
Not surprisingly, an executive at Saks competitor Neiman Marcus said that since the consumer is the center of a company’s business, an omni-channel presence must be implemented to ensure that the customer experience is at its peak. “Marketers must realize that customers are expecting a cross-channel digital strategy,” Ms. Incandela said. “More specifically, the combination of the in-store experience and search and filter capabilities of mobile is nirvana.”
By Rachel Lamb - Luxury Daily