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Nordstrom’s Hautelook drives 40pc of conversions via mobile

August 15, 2013

Hautelook's iPhone app

PHILADELPHIA – A Hautelook executive at eTail East revealed that in addition to seeing an uptick in mobile traffic, the medium is also converting significantly.

The “What’s Next in Ecommerce: The Evolution of the Industry and its Impact on Your Retail Business” keynote panel session included executives from Urban Outfitters, C. Wonder, Hautelook, RetailMeNot and Replacements, Ltd who spoke about the next wave of online and mobile commerce for their businesses. One of the key takeaways from the session was that in addition to mobile traffic growing for retailers, conversions and transactions seem to catching up, evidenced by Hautelook’s mobile numbers.

“We have about 40 percent [of shoppers] that are transacting on a mobile device,” said Kevin Diamond, chief technology officer at Hautelook, Los Angeles.

“So it’s less than desktop, and some people want to grab it right there, and that’s why we see such larger traffic,” he said.

Drive on mobile
Hautelook sees anywhere between 50 – 60 percent of traffic coming from mobile devices.

According to Mr. Diamond, mobile lets Hautelook experiment in ways that it cannot via desktop.

The panel at eTail East

For example, push notifications alert consumers when a sale starts at 8 a.m. when the brand might be missing out on a chunk of consumers that are not closeby to a desktop.

This also gives mobile shoppers the benefit of being able to check out the merchandise since Hautelook inventory is limited.

Then later during the day, tablet-based efforts can be pushed when consumers are using devices as a second-screen companion.

“It makes it where we can actually test things that normally on the desktop would be a universal experience,” Mr. Diamond said.

“Now we can actually say, ‘OK, does this work better for the person on the go?” he said. “Does this work better for the person that wants to sit there and spend more time?”

Hautelook requires that consumers register for the site to shop, which in turn helps the brand personalize merchandise across multiple screens.

Gender, location and a user’s name can all be used to tailor specific experiences to consumers.

At the same time though, there are still bigger opportunities for Hautelook to dig deeper into customization and personalization.

Hautelook’s iPhone app

Merging digital and in-store
As opposed to Hautelook’s online-only focus, Holly Devine, executive director of ecommerce at Urban Outfitters, Philadelphia, spoke about the different opportunities that mobile and online offers to a retailer with a big bricks-and-mortar footprint.

Instead of focusing exclusively on increasing online sales, in-store plays a critical role in getting a consumer engaged with a brand. This means parsing out separate strategies for tablet, smartphone and Web.

For example, Urban Outfitters offers three times more products online than it does in-store. Arming store employees with digital tools is one way to help consumers who are tangibly interacting with products and provide people with additional information.

Urban Outfitters also has a small target age demographic, so many of the marketing efforts are more aimed at keeping the brand top-of-mind versus pushing hard sales.

Additionally, Urban Outfitters has an active social media presence and uses platforms such as Instagram, Vine, Facebook and Twitter to strike up a conversation with consumers about everyday things instead of solely pushing products.

“Traffic has grown immensely on every mobile device,” Ms. Devine said.

“You may not be able to get that parity [between desktop and mobile sales], but if you get that continuously emerging experience on your device simultaneously, that is where it has meaningful impact on the total of your business,” she said.

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

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