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REI gears up for holiday in-store traffic via mobile ad campaign

By
December 11, 2012

Outdoor apparel and accessories retailer REI is luring consumers into stores to check out the latest cold-weather gear with a mobile advertising campaign.

REI has used mobile advertising in the past to increase both online commerce and in-store traffic. The mobile ads are running inside a variety of mobile sites and applications, including Pandora’s iPhone app and People magazine’s mobile site.

“Adding location-based targeting to the mobile search ad placement might have a positive impact on driving in-store traffic for retailers that have limited number of stores,” said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

“Since REI still has a relatively small number of stores and not even in all states,  REI can effectively use location-based info to make sure interested customers are actually near the store to take advantage of the in-store offer,” he said.

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with REI. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

REI did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile warmth
Two sets of creative are running that both encourage in-store traffic.

One set of copy reads, “Winter is calling. Gear up and answer.” The other set of copy encourages consumers to shop REI this holiday.

When users tap on the mobile ads, a landing page is brought up that prompts users to type in their ZIP code to find the nearest store.

Alternatively, consumers can use their device’s built-in GPS to locate a nearby store.

A landing page then loads that shows a map of the user’s location and where the nearby REI stores are. Each store listing includes directions as well as a click-to-call option.

Keeping the call-to-action simple works for REI in this case. The purpose behind the campaign is clearly to drive users to a bricks-and-mortar location, which is reflected in the creative and execution of the campaign.

Additionally, the location features give users an incentive for interacting with the ad by taking the guesswork out of finding the nearest store.

Mobile retail
REI has steadily been building up its mobile strategy around both in-store traffic and mobile commerce sales.

For example, the brand ran a rich media campaign last year that let consumers shop cold-weather products from their handsets (see story).

To drive in-store traffic, REI used an iPhone and Android app to let users in New York unlock augmented reality content on out-of-home advertising. Via the app, consumers could find mobile-enabled posters around the city and use their devices to watch nature scenes that ultimately promoted the REI store located in New York’s Soho neighborhood (see story).

Although consumers are increasingly becoming more comfortable shopping directly from their mobile devices, there is still a swath of mobile users who prefer to shop in-store.

“Mobile advertising, as we know today, extends digital advertising approach to mobile phones,” Mr. Kolodziej said.

“However, since customer behavior with their mobile phone is much more personal than with a laptop or a PC, mobile strategy should focus on these customers’ insights rather than simply trying to extend digital strategy to mobile users,” he said.

“The sooner marketers acknowledge that mobile phones are not mobile computers, the sooner we will learn about very successful mobile campaigns.”

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

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