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Make mobile personalized, localized and timely for success with millennials: Finish Line exec

By
September 17, 2015

Finish Line's iPhone app

Finish Line’s iPhone app

NEW YORK – A Finish Line executive at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Wearables and Holiday Focus 2015 said that leveraging mobile for personalized, localized and timely engagements drives success with the chain’s target audience of millennials.

During the session, Finish Line: Customer-Focused, Mobile-Led Strategy to Deliver an Epic Finish at Every Touch Point, the executive said that 50 percent of the chain’s Web traffic comes through mobile, with 64 percent of traffic composed of millennials. While mobile conversions are still lower on mobile compared to desktop, the gap continues to close every year.

“Mobile for us at Finish Line has opened up an entire new world of interaction, whether we use local ads, whether we use geotargeting or app push notifications,” said Imran Jooma, executive vice president and chief omnichannel officer at Finish Line.

“What is going to be key is to ensure that it is timely and it is relevant,” he said. “If you are not able to engage your customers, chances are that they are just going to move on.

“The mobile device enables us to offer in a very timely and relevant manner.”

Mobile Marketer organized the Mobile Marketing Summit: Wearables and Holiday Focus 2015.

The millennial customer
Finish Line operates with three guiding principals always in mind: Know your customer, take the time to show customers that you know them and show them that you value them.

The chain has three formats, including Finish Line branded stores in 400 Macy’s stores and the Running specialty chain for runners.  The main Finish Line chain’s target customer is about 23 years old, fashion focused, very socially connected, always looking for the latest and greatest, with instant gratification important to him.

“He is an influencer, he is socially connected,” Mr. Jooma said. “Mobile is what he uses to connect with his entire universe.”

photoImran Jooma is executive vice president and chief omnichannel officer at Finish Line

 

Integrated experiences
While there are many different definitions of omnichannel, Mr. Jooma prefers one particular version offered by Harvard Review several years ago, which defines omnichannel as a shopping experience centered around the pluses of the physical world integrated with the pluses of the digital world.

Per Mr. Jooma, the pluses of the physical world include touch and feel while on digital, the volume of information is a plus. What this means is that consumers want to come to a store and interact with a knowledgeable associate but also be able to look at review online while inside a store.

It is important to keep in mind that consumers increasingly want a friction-free experience, whether they are online or in-store.

The challenge for retailers is to how to create these integrated experiences. Key strategies Mr. Jooma recommends are delivering seamless experiences and offering a digital enablement at every touch point – something that mobile can facilitate

“You cannot just look at these things in silos,” Mr. Jooma said. “No longer can you have a separate desktop team and a separate mobile team.

“It has to come together, with CRM the heart of it,” he said. “This will give you the 360-degree view of the customer.”

Bigger screens
Another challenge for retailers with omnichannel is the wealth of information provided from mobile. The key is to make sure the information is connected, timely, relevant and actionable.

Structuring the data from geofencing, beacons and other mobile engagements needs to be well structured for retailers to succeed, per Mr. Jooma.

With so many opportunities for mobile engagements and so much complexity in the space, retailers are finding it challenging to prioritize. Mr. Jooma recommends that retailers approach this from the perspective of the customer.

The Finish Line is seeing mobile continue to grow. In July of 2014, mobile traffic surpassed its desktop traffic for the first time. Mobile traffic tends to spike over the weekend, with customers using mobile to do research and then going to a store or finishing a purchase on desktop.

The customer is still more comfortable buying on a bigger screen. However, mobile conversions continue to increase as customers get more comfortable with buying on smaller screens.

The move toward smartphones with bigger screens could have a big impact on mobile conversions, per Mr. Jooma.

The glue
The chain launched an app last year, with users of its loyalty program gravitating toward the app, with a 70 percent redemption rate for the app.

Finish Line will be updating its app with commerce capabilities in the next few weeks.

An example of how Finish Line is implementing personalization, localization and timeliness include a personalized gift guide Finish Line provided to customers during the holidays last year. It leveraged customers’ browsing history and provided the ability for users to edit the selection.

Additionally, Finish Line provides a mobile page for each of its stores so customers can easily find the nearest store.

Finish Line also uses push notifications to provide localized messaging, such as when a local tax-free week is taking place or promoting the top trends in a specific region.

Finish Line is also looking at strategies for easily identifying customers when they come in the store so associates can link the in-store and digital customer history.

Some of the ways Finish Line is doing this include offering VIP customers early access to in-store sales and offering rewards upgrades for when customers come in and make a purchase.

“The glue that ties the physical world with the digital world is the mobile device,” Mr. Jooma said.

Final Take
Imran Jooma, executive vice president and chief omnichannel officer, Finish Line

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