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Charming Charlie exec: 40pc of traffic comes from tablet

March 1, 2013

PALM DESERT, CA – A Charming Charlie executive at eTail West said that traffic from tablets has doubled in the past year, making mobile a big part of the fashion brand’s revamp.

During the “Assigning KPIs and Building The Business Case Internally: Investing in Mobile and Social” session, the Charming Charlie executive spoke about how the retailer is currently transforming its brand. In particular, digital is increasing in importance for the brand with ecommerce, social and mobile.

“Starting to learn where [our customers] are shopping helps us to know other retailers that they are shopping at, why they are shopping there. Are they active on social? What types of devices do they use?” said Kim LaFleur, vice president of ecommerce at Charming Charlie, Houston.

“We know that our traffic from a tablet perspective has spiked from 20 percent of our traffic about 12 months ago to now 40 percent, the majority of that being on the iPad,” she said.

“Now we are going to be paying more attention to the experiences and what we do with our audience on the tablets.”

Charming Charlie is a fashion accessories retailer with more than 240 retail locations nationally. The brand hopes to scale up to 800 stores in the next five years.

Digital shopping
Charming Charlie is creating an ecommerce site, which will also include mobile commerce. The company wants to focus mobile commerce around a site versus an application.

Currently, Charming Charlie does not have a mobile site.

In addition to an increase in mobile traffic, email also plays a big role in how Charming Charlie connects with its consumers. The brand is able to send out trend information and talk to its customers regularly.

Social media is also critical in talking to consumers. For example, Charming Charlie has learned that compelling visuals are a must for an accessories brand.

Being able to drive a key performance indicator – such as sales – from social is tough though. Instead, brand coverage or engagement are also factors to look at.

Explaining the context of digital marketing to a company can help create a more holistic strategy, per Ms. LaFleur.

Charming Charlie uses a variety of Facebook games and sweepstakes to engage with consumers. For example, the company partnered with Lucky magazine on a Facebook game that promoted online subscriptions.

A spin-to-win component generated 135,000 spins, 20,000 shares, 89,000 new fans and 40,000 new Lucky subscriptions.

Past learnings
When it comes to online, Charming Charlie originally did not enter digital in the way the company intended. Per Ms. LaFleur, the company got so excited about digital that it lost track of quality in the company.

Additionally, product photography resembled a catalog. Now Charming Charlie shoots more vibrant and compelling photography to showcase the product more.

By investing in social and developing unique content, Charming Charlie has more creative product layouts and influencer programs.

Additionally, Charming Charlie has invested in social games and engagement. In five months, the company has increased its social reach by 125 percent.

When it comes to assigning key performance indicators, Charming Charlie focused on five areas – understanding the brand, consumer and channels, communicating with the team and understanding its brand’s goals.

Charming Charlie did a lot of work to get to know its demographic. Originally, the company thought that its demographic were women aged 7 – 70-years old. Now the brand has learned that its core group of consumers are 25 – 35 years old.

Additionally, the brand used to load its stores with lots of inventory before they realized that shoppers did not know how to navigate all of the product. Consumers were excited about the colors of the products, which led Charming Charlie to segment its products by colors.

In 2013, one of Charming Charlie’s biggest goals is to get its SKU count down in stores to be less overwhelming to shoppers.

“Because we’ve heard so much from our customers about how overwhelming our stores can be, they are elated to be in them but they are also overwhelming,” Ms. LaFleur said.

“One of our top goals is to curate a more relevant store for her, and one of those things involves what we are calling the product diamond, where we are selecting a good portion of trend, a healthy middle portion of core and other things that we call fashion-drivers,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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