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Does Pier 1 ad campaign miss the mark without mcommerce follow-up?

June 3, 2011

Pier 1 uses iAd to promote sale on summer items

A recent Pier 1 ad campaign is a good example of how retailers can use mobile to drive awareness of specific items that are on sale or are related to a seasonal opportunity. However, it misses an opportunity by not allowing customers to purchase on the spot.

Home furnishings retailer Pier 1 chose to run the campaign on Pandora to promote an in-store sale on summer-related items such as outdoor furnishings. Consumers could click through to a mobile-optimized Web site to learn more about individual items.

“This is actually a good portrayal of how an ad campaign on mobile should start,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta.

“The ad clearly states a savings opportunity for the customer and takes them to a mobile-optimized site that allows the customer to click through to the product.

“The one thing that would enhance this opportunity would be to take the customers all the way through to close the sale once they click on the product catalog, the imagery and pricing could be an in-store driver, but they are losing a percentage of sales by not capturing the sale on the spot.”

That being said, it should be noted that Pier 1 has yet to go ecommerce online a decade after the launch of its traditional Web site, so mobile commerce has to wait its turn.

Pier 1 did not respond to a request for comment by press deadline.

Advertising in a mobile venue is Pier 1’s way of testing the waters after the launch of a mobile site for the iPhone and Android platforms. Like its peers, Pier 1 probably realizes that consumers like to use mobile to browse when they are in or around a store.

With promotions, however, it can be a challenge for consumers to remember something they saw on their mobile phone until they are near that store at a later time.

Seal the Dealio
The optimal way for a mobile ad to work, per Ms. Troutman, is to have a consumer click the ad, go to the mobile store or experience, click “Buy now” and purchase directly from the mobile phone or lock in a “pick up at the store” session.

“Mobile is now-and-quick users looking to use this experience to close the deal now, and not have to remember the sale item for later,” she said.

Ms. Troutman is not associated with Pier 1, Fort Worth, TX, or Pandora and commented as a third-party source with mobile expertise.

The Pier 1 campaign featured the “8 Day Dealio,” with a 25 percent reduction in price on certain summer-related items. The sale ran through May 30.

A banner ad that appeared along the bottom of the screen was part of the campaign.

Consumers could click through to a mobile-optimized site with lifestyle imagery showcasing the retailer’s outdoor furnishings. From here, they could click on specific product categories such as candles, seasonal and dining.

The category pages featured two products per screen with an image of the item, a brief description, full price and sale price.

Users could also search for a specific product and find a store.


Pandora’s bucks
The fact that the campaign appears on Pandora speaks to the attractiveness for national retailers of the streaming music site’s audience, which includes young music lovers and a percentage of people listening via mobile.

Target also recently ran an iAd campaign on Pandora that looked to build awareness of its fresh food offerings.

“The brands that utilize the Pandora mobile advertising solution range from big national brands to hyper-local entities such as car dealerships, schools, entertainment venues and banks,” said Kim Luegers, director of mobile and emerging media at Pandora, Chicago.

“The scale of Pandora’s reach – we have millions of passionate and engaged users and more than half of all listening to Pandora takes place on a mobile device – enables brands to reach a highly targeted audience based on demographics and ZIP code location,” Ms Luegers said.

Retailers can also serve ads in other contextually relevant ways based on the music that consumers are listening to on Pandora.

“Listening to personalized radio is a daily activity that millions of people across the United States engage in and our mobile advertising solution lets brands be present in that experience in a contextually relevant way by having their campaigns on mobile reflect the mood, sound, sight and interaction experience that our listeners experience with their personalized radio stations,” Ms. Luegers said.

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