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22pc of Rue La La’s revenue comes through mobile

September 15, 2011

Sales and traffic growing for Rue La La via mobile

BOSTON – A Rue La La executive at’s Annual Summit said that 22 percent of its sales com from mobile devices, particularly iPads.

During the “Digital Retail Q&A with Forrester Research” session, the executive said the company is currently building its mobile team. The importance of mobile to flash sales sites was also echoed by an executive from Ideeli who took part in the session.

“Twenty two percent of our business is through mobile,” said Ben Fischman, chairman/CEO of Rue La La, Boston. “IPhones and iPads represent 55 percent of our mobile sales.

“Our iPad sales are through the roof,” he said. “Fifty percent of our mobile sales are going through a tablet.”

IPad in the driver’s seat
Flash sales site Ideeli is also seeing strong sales and traffic from mobile.

The online retailer recently launched an iPhone app but does not have a mobile site yet.

Similar to Rue La La, Ideeli is also seeing close to 50 percent of its mobile sales and traffic coming from the iPad.

“It will be very interesting to see as Amazon promotes its new tablet, what a multi-tablet town looks like because basically we are a one horse town now,” said Mark Uhrmacher, cofounder and chief technology officer of Ideeli, New York.

Mobile insight
The discussion in another session – “Google Insights on Local, Mobile and Payments” – focused on the new mobile retail generation and how commerce is going to be transformed by mobile.

“We believe there is a whole new playing field – that Web-connected, location-aware consumers walking into the retailer creates a whole new level of efficiency to connecting online and offline,” said Stephanie Tilenius, vice president of commerce and payments at Google, Mountain View, CA.

The advent of the smartphone and geo-targeting will enable a new dialogue between retailers and customers, per Ms. Tilenius.

“It will be much more of a one-on-one dialog,” Ms. Tilenius said.

With a lot of spending done locally, there is a huge market for local services.

Ms. Tilenius said that 80 percent of consumer spending is done locally and $14 trillion is spent on local service each year.

“People are walking into stores with a computer in their hands,” Ms. Tilenius said.

Examples of how mobile is enabling the blending of online with offline include Tesco, which recently experimented with a grocery inside the subway in Korea.

Users can scan a QR code on items and have their orders waiting for them when they get home.

As a result, Tesco became the top grocery brand in Korea.

Another way mobile is blending offline with online is by letting users order online and pick up their purchase in-store.

“Thirteen of the top 26 retailers are allowing shoppers to buy online and pick up in store – this is a very important new way to shop,” Ms. Tilenius said.

Retailers can also blend their online and offline inventory so that if a shopper cannot find an item in store it will be possible to scan a bar code or an near field communication tag and instantly order it.

Deals galore
The daily deals business will also continue to evolve.

“There is a lot of discussion about daily deals – these businesses are working,” Ms. Tilenius said.

“After going to a place for the first time through a coupon for Groupon, LivingSocial and other sites, consumers did return to the business,” she said.

“You are going to see a whole new set of formats come around where deal mechanics will be spread throughout the retail environment.”

Another development that is likely to take place is the growth of one-step checkout in-store enabled by mobile.

A shopper can tap an NFC tag, purchase an item and have it delivered to their home the next day.

Some retailers could start to embrace NFC tags over QR codes going forward.

“Large retailers are saying that QR codes are taking too long for consumers to use and they are switching to NFC,” Ms. Tilenius said.

“The connection between online and offline will create a whole new experience for consumers and retailers,” she said.

Fiinal Take
Mark Uhrmacher is chief technology officer and co-founder of Ideeli, New York

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