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Office Depot exec: Mobile is about task-completion rate, not conversion

February 28, 2013

PALM DESERT, CA – An Office Depot executive at eTail West said that the company views mobile as a utility tool to help consumers shop instead of using the medium to drive conversions.

During the “Leveraging Web and Mobile Technologies To Drive Cross-Channel Conversion” keynote session, the Office Depot executive discussed how the company is embracing mobile for multichannel marketing. The executive also said that the Internet is the one thing that has changed the multichannel experience.

“Mobile is a content-consuming device, not a conversion device,” said Stephanie Pike, vice president of ecommerce at Office Depot, Delray Beach, FL.

“It is not about the conversion rate on the mobile and the tablet – for us it is about the task-completion rate,” she said.

“What are the use cases that we have built an application to do and how do you actually execute against that and measure it?”

Mobile measurement
Nowadays, consumers come into stores with a wealth of information. Therefore, retailers need to be ready for informed shoppers with their own in-store digital tools.

Depending on the type of user, content is consumed differently via mobile.

Office Depot segments the different types of mobile users as a way to measure engagement.

For example, when a sales force team launches with a tablet, there are analytics on how they used the tablet. Similarly, store associates and consumers have separate analytics attached to them.

Office Depot sees that approximately two-thirds of users authenticate when they visit the site, which helps the brand get a better grasp on what return visitors are looking for.

Session length and bounce rate are also especially critical measurements for mobile. As mobile continues to cut into a site’s total volume, there is most likely a substantial amount of users that are leaving a site within 10-seconds of visiting the site.

Ms. Pike

If brands want to look at conversions, they should be looking at tying it to different channels through a unique identifier.

Shop on mobile
Office Depot is currently running a small QR code initiative in stores. The technology is in the brand’s smaller footprint stores. The brand plans on shrinking the company’s store footprint through implementing the QR codes in some of Office Depot’s stores.

QR codes also help Office Depot’s endless aisles initiatives. If a consumer is scanning an item but does not have the item in-store, consumers can view related items via the code, for example.

To help convert traffic, Office Depot has also rolled out PayPal to mobile to streamline the check-out experience for consumers.

The company also uses mobile point-of-sale and in-store tablets to equip associates with mobile tools. Based on a shopper’s purchase history, store employees can make product recommendations.

“A Web site is not a series of pages – it is a conversation,” Ms. Pike said.

“A digital presence though isn’t just a conversation anymore – it’s tying together all those different touch points and it is really about a relationship,” she said.

“People buy from who they like, so if they like you, you have a better chance of standing against the $2 billion investment from Amazon and their technology all the time.”

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

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