Mobile Web Critical to Luxury Brand Marketing

Posted on July 21, 2011

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Luxury Daily– Mobile Web value It should be stressed that an enhanced product browsing capability with high-resolution product images is also essential to convey the sophisticated nature of luxury products.

High-end shoppers have a high household income. These affluent consumers are likely using smartphones and surfing the mobile Web.

Affluent shoppers want the best and newest products; they are certainly among the smartphone early adopter segment.

“Luxury brand shoppers are more likely to have the newest wireless device available, and want the speed and convenience of a great mobile Web presence when they click through emails from the brands they shop most,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta.

Even if the site is not mobile commerce-enabled, a mobile Web presence could provide much value to high-end consumers. A presence provides a destination for premium brands to showcase specials, coupons and social media sharing links.

Luxury brands can also use a mobile Web site as a customer acquisition tool, asking visitors to the site to provide their email or mobile number for future marketing.

Best practices
Keeping the luxury shopper in mind, Mr. Taylor provided some creative best practices for high-end brands in terms of developing a mobile Web site.

Keep Integrity of Brand: Maintaining the quality of the brand across channels is of the utmost necessity to luxury retailers.

Mobile should feel like an extension of the luxury brand’s image, and not a watered-down mobile storefront template.

In addition, a great mobile user experience is also something to keep in mind as part of the overall philosophy of high-quality customer service – whether in-store, online, or on mobile. This means considering sophisticated user interface, compelling and comprehensive content, and quick load times for the best mobile experience.

Mobile-Web Consistency: In addition to user interface, reflecting the luxury brand’s image, retailers must also ensure that their merchandising and marketing strategy is consistent on the mobile site.

Retailers should consider complete inventory available on mobile, including relevant promotions and deals, allowing full search capabilities with high-quality images, along with the ability to zoom-in to images.

Drive In-Store Traffic: Incorporating features like a store locator is a smart way to maximize a mobile phone’s GPS capabilities to drive in-store traffic.

In addition, brands can localize content, such as events and promotions, based on the user’s location.

Device Agnostic: Finally, luxury retailers should develop a robust mobile Web site that works on all Web-enabled phones.

A successful mobile experience is one that works for all users, no matter what phone they use.

“Make sure to retain the brand – be careful to present imagery as crisp as possible across all platforms, carry through the social links for sharing, make sure to enable a customer acquisition section such as email sign up,” Ms. Troutman said.

“Don’t lose your customers, make them want to bookmark your site and stay informed of upcoming events, specials and new additions,” she said.

What’s most important?
According to Adobe’s Ms. Dahlgren, high-end merchandise needs to be presented in the mobile channel with rich viewing and interactive experiences so consumers can closely examine and research the merchandise they are browsing.

In the above mentioned mobile research from Adobe, visual information such as full-screen product views, zoom, 360-degree spin, alternate views and video was rated as the third most important feature – above ratings and reviews, and search – for purchasing products via the mobile channel.

Easy check-out and pricing information were the only features rated more important. Also, Adobe’s study revealed that women tend to like more rich visual details such as zoom, spin and alternate views, while men showed a preference for video.

Luxury shoppers want to see high-quality product imagery, videos and better visuals, so rich viewing experiences are a must do for luxe.

“Everyone is becoming a multichannel shopper and luxury brands in particular need to be prepared that their consumers will research and shop beyond one single channel,” Ms. Dahlgren said. “The concept that multichannel shoppers will spend more than single channel shoppers applies to the mobile channel as much if not more.

“Additionally, mobile is very social by nature, therefore,  high-end luxury brands should be aware and build strategies around the fact the customers shopping and researching via their mobile devices will likely want to be able to share their experiences as well,” she said.

Luxury brands must recognize the growing demand for customer engagement across multiple channels as consumers become increasingly comfortable making purchases on mobile.

Without an optimized mobile presence, luxury brands risk losing customers and sales to a poor user experience. So far companies such as Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch have mobile-optimized sites but the majority of high-end brands are absent on the mobile Web.

“High-end consumers expect the best from high-end retailers – the best quality products, customer service, and overall experience – and this philosophy must be extended to mobile,” said Nick Taylor, president of Usablenet, New York.

“Although mcommerce is among the most important features to mobile-enable for retailers, a mobile presence for consumers to find basic information like store hours and location is equally absolutely necessary,” he said.

“Additionally, retailers can also leverage mobile advantages, such as integrating with a phone’s GPS to provide a store locator feature and using notifications to support exclusive sale announcements.”

High-end expectations
Sheila Dahlgren, senior director of product marketing at Adobe, San Jose, CA, said that luxury brands have limited retail stores and therefore need to reach their consumers through multiple touch points.

Luxury brand-conscious consumers are coming from geographies worldwide and in areas such as Asia, 50 percent of retailers’ sales are coming from the mobile channel, per Adobe.

“Therefore it is imperative for luxury brands to have a mobile presence to reach these consumers who are researching and shopping via their devices,” Ms. Dahlgren said. “Additionally, high-end consumers are using multiple Internet connected devices – smartphones as well as tablets – and have the expectation to be able to access and browse for merchandise wherever they are.

“These are demanding customers and luxury brands should be prepared to reach them at all touch points.”

Furthermore, consumers are looking online for luxury goods as evidenced by the recent holiday shopping data that revealed designer handbags and jewelry were the No. 1 products shopped on Ebay’s mobile application.

Even if a luxury brand does not offer commerce it should at least showcase its merchandise via a mobile-optimized experience to meet the consumers’ expectations to be able to access content and information everywhere.

Adobe Scene7 just published the results of a mobile commerce survey that revealed more than 53 percent mobile shoppers spend between 1-5 hours per week researching and shopping via their connected devices.

Additionally, 55 percent spent more than an average of $249 through their mobile devices in the last 12 months. Also, these consumers are not just shopping for shrink-wrapped entertainment such as movies, music and games.

Adobe’s study found the second most popular category of consumer goods purchased via the mobile channel was clothing, shoes and jewelry.

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