WWD Digital Forum – The Rise of Mobile Shopping


The 2014 New York WWD Digital Forum shone the spotlight on the new age of mobile and social shopping. Bringing together industry leaders from Steve Madden, Alex and Ani,  Rent the Runway, Dollar Shave Club and Amazon Payments to name a few, the Forum explored the ways in which digital trends and disruptive technologies are reforming on and offline retail.   If you are headed to Shop.org next week, stop by booth 719 and we can share more about the event!

Some of the key takeaways from the 2- day event include:

The New, Integrated Organization Chart

Not just an ecommerce org chart anymore – the gap is decreasing between on and offline marketing team members- as customer now expect and demand cohesive shopping experiences in-stores, at their desktops and on their mobile devices, brands cannot afford to operate under a separation of church and state mentality. There is an increase need for transparency, open lines of communication and collaboration.

Customer Analysis

Retail customers today crave customization. Customers can tell if they are receiving the same, generic brand messaging as other shoppers across every demographic because this messaging does not resonate product interest, lifestyles or shopping behaviors. Investing in customer analysis and persona segmentation is an assured means of maintaining more granular connections to each of your brand audiences.

Mobile Timing

Timing is everything. With more devices to choose from, today’s shoppers are often habitual in the ways and times that they use their devices. Integrating day-parting into your SEM bidding strategy will help your campaigns more accurately resonate with users.

  • Smartphones: While smartphones are never too far out of reach throughout the day, they are heavily depended on during the morning hours; early morning email updates and long commutes have solidifies smartphones’ roles in consumers’ morning routines.  Additionally, consumers spend much of their weekends out of the house and on the go and iPhones and androids are the go-to devices to keep people connected.
  • Tablets: Consumers tend to reach for their tablets during evening hours when they are checking in on social media or doing some light browsing on their favorite sites from their couches.
  • Desktops: Throughout the weekdays, many consumers spend large portions of their afternoons in front of their desktops at work while breaking intermittently for email updates and searches.

Mobile Design

Everyone knows that lack of a mobile-optimized site is a death sentence today. Shoppers are increasingly relying on their mobile devices throughout every state of the sales funnel and brand sites need to accommodate these needs. However, the debate as to how to best achieve mobile optimization is still raging. Responsive or Adaptive – which is best for your brand? While responsive gained early industry recognition as a comprehensive design strategy for launching mobile sites, more brands are turning to adaptive approaches to make optimization updates within existing site frameworks. For more on the Responsive vs. Adaptive debate, check out PM Digital’s recent report.

Beacon Technology

Beacons are small hardware devices that emit signals that are transmitted through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on smartphones to trigger brand messages when shoppers) and their Bluetooth enabled smartphones) are within a certain radius from the beacon. iBeacon is Apple’s proprietary variation on beacon technology, automatically transmitting signals on devices running on iOS7 and iOS8 software, however, Apple has not yet release iBeacon hardware for retailers. iBeacon’s recipient software built into iOS7 and 8 operating systems automatically scans for BLE signals and can deliver brand messages even when the related apps are not open within the phone. For retailers to target android users they must jump through another hoop; receiving applications must be running on the mobile device for the shopper to receive the BLE- emitted message.

While the continual rollout of Beacons elicits a lot of potential for retailers to deliver real, time targeted messages, brands must be cognizant of shoppers’ reactions. Overuse of beacon messaging may start to feel big-brotherish to many customers. In fact, a recent study found that sending more than one beacon push notification per shopping can elicit a 313% drop-off in application usage. While users appreciate relevancy, a real-time barrage feels too overbearing and will likely cause alienation.

We look forward to seeing how these trends will shape the upcoming Holiday shopping season.

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