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Best Buy exec: Consumers are at the center of the mobile shopping experience

June 17, 2011

NEW YORK – Mobile has changed the face of traditional retail and commerce with consumers using their devices to not only buy products, but also to make informed decisions prior to purchasing, per a Best Buy exec at the 2011 MMF.

During the “Generating Retail Foot Traffic and Sales Through Integrated Multi-year Strategies” panel, speakers discussed how important it is to optimize consumer engagement in the retail channel. The session was moderated by Jon Beber, director of business development at BilltoMobile.

“Best Buy completely believes in a connected world,” said Margita Labhard, strategy and business development of new business customer solutions group at Best Buy, Inc.

“The means multichannel and multiplatform,” she said. “The customer is at the center and if we don’t create a compelling experience, we’ll be behind.

“We have to listen and learn.”

Mobile shopping
The company has found great success in its partnership with shopkick.

Consumers can download the shopkick app and go to retail locations, such as Best Buy to redeem offers and get rewarded.

“Offers are a nice hook,” Ms. Labhard said. “But with shopkick, you can couple rewards, offers and gaming to drive foot traffic and we found that triad really worked.

“There’s no one solution for Best Buy or one retailer,” she said. “Working with a network of retailers from shopkick worked for Best Buy.

“It’s one app that customers can experience with many different retailers.”

The executive said that shopkick helped drive foot traffic and engagement to Best Buy’s locations.

“That marriage of those things and not just offers actually do get that customer relationship we’re looking for,” Ms. Labhard said.

Gaming experience
Karen Stermitz, shopper marketing innovation manager at Hewlett-Packard Co., agreed that shopkick helps connect the company with consumers and have them interact with its products in a new and exciting way.

“For HP, shopkick has been very interesting,” Ms. Stermitz said. “This has given us an ability to test digital currency and see how it works.

“It’s also creating awareness,” she said. “They’re actually picking up our products and interacting with them.

“We think that shopkick is a huge opportunity for us and helps drive consumers to our product.”

Ms. Stermitz also said that for companies looking to enter the mobile commerce channel, it is important to test, and test continually.

It is important for companies to test and see what works and what does not. Then, they can modify it and continue on.

“Pilot and learn and try to improve the shopping experience,” Ms. Stermitz said.

Test, test, test
Jennifer Hatherley, vice president of mobile marketing and digital innovation at Beeline Group, agreed that testing on mobile is key for a successful mobile marketing strategy.

“First start with the objective,” Ms. Hatherley said. “Then, break it down to the key elements.

“It’s not all about the success,” she said. “Sometimes we look at what we failed at and make sure we’re not going to do that again.

“It helps us understand what is valuable.”

Additionally, establishing a relationship between the brand and the consumers is key.

“We map out what the customer journey is – awareness, engagement, transaction and loyalty,” said Jack Philbin, president/cofounder of Vibes Media. “It’s important to test and learn.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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