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Macy’s Fashion Week microsite could hamper sales without better optimization

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August 31, 2015

Macy's has previously hosted one-off runway shows during fashion seasons

Macy’s has previously hosted one-off runway shows during fashion seasons

Macy’s is providing Fashion Week attendees with the ability to purchase new looks instantly as they are modeled on the runway via a new microsite accessible on smartphones, but its lackluster optimization could frustrate users seeking to make a purchase.

The retailer, which is scheduled to close out New York Fashion Week, will host a wide-scale event featuring performances from top musical artists as it showcases presentations of new designs from lines such as Tommy Hilfiger and Levi’s. Consumers attending the event will be able to visit macys.com/FrontRow on their mobile devices to instantly purchase any runway looks that strike their fancy, but may have difficulty interacting with the small print and buttons if the retailer does not revamp the site prior to the show.

“With the smartphone adoption rate in the U.S. nearing ubiquity, and with over 60 percent of all online interactions now occurring on mobile devices, of course it’s wise for Macy’s (or any retailer) to adopt a ‘mobile-first’ approach to its marketing and ecommerce efforts,” said Jordan Cohen, chief marketing officer at Fluent, New York. “The concept of the ‘Front Row’ site is smart, especially leveraging mobile to take advantage of a live event in order to drive real-time, impulse based shopping.

“However, when looking at the site on my iPhone, the execution is lacking. The text is too small to read, and the buttons are too small to tap.”

Revenue potential
Offering fashion enthusiasts the ability to buy new looks as they come down the runway is an optimal way of leveraging mobile to fuel revenue spikes. Many consumers will have their smartphones on their persons at all times during these events, so they can easily grab photos of outfits and share their experience with friends on social media.

Fans who attend the Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row on Sept. 17 at Madison Square Garden are encouraged to visit the macys.com/FrontRow site to shop their favorite looks modeled during the show instantly.

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The mobile version of macys.com/FrontRow

Consumers appreciate the instant gratification and constant connectivity that mobile provides, which also results in increased opportunities to drive impulse purchases.

While anyone can access macys.com/FrontRow on their mobile device to purchase tickets for the show and view a list of scheduled performers, Macy’s must ensure that the site is as mobile-optimized as possible when it comes time for shopping during the runway event.

Attendees’ attention will be compromised by the slew of activities surrounding them, meaning that the retailer has a slim window of time to cement an impulse purchase. It would be beneficial for Macy’s to enable account members to sign in prior to the event and load their credit card information, so that they may simply tap and check out if they wish to buy a new outfit.

This strategy, if implemented successfully, could prompt a slew of other retailers or fashion designers to offer the same shoppable content during their own shows.

“Astute marketers understand that the best opportunity for generating conversions is at the peak of the magical experience,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, New York. “Creating a real-time shoppable runway does just that.

“Mobile is the natural outlet through which to provide that experience as attendees of the show will be digitally equipped primarily through their phones and the same goes for the at home viewers who are watching the show while browsing through their phone,” she said.

“Macy’s is not the first fashion retailer to roll out a shoppable runway. Other retailers such as Burberry and Ralph Lauren have done so in the past and we can expect more to follow suit.”

Commendable efforts
While Macy’s may have missed the mark with the initial rollout of its microsite, the brand’s dedication to pushing mobile as an integral part of the omnichannel experience cannot be understated.

This week, Macy’s introduced a complimentary personal shopping service that enables consumers to book an appointment with a stylist via a mobile-optimized site, highlighting smartphones’ journey into becoming must-have shopping companions (see story).

Additionally, the brand has pinpointed the fitting room as the next frontier in the mobile transformation of in-store experiences, and is currently testing a program in one store while other retailers explore similar strategies (see story).

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Consumers can explore trends and collections prior to the show

The retailer still has time to tweak the dedicated microsite and input more mcommerce-friendly features for consumers to enjoy.

“If you asked me a year or two ago whether the right venue for this type of program would be via a Web site or an app, I would have said an app,” Fluent’s Mr. Cohen said. “But according to Fluent’s ‘Mobile Shopping Survey,’ which we conducted earlier this year, consumers are now equally likely to say they’ve made the majority of their mobile purchases via a mobile Web site or a mobile app.

“Retailers have made large investments in creating mobile-optimized Web experiences and those investments are starting to pay off.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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