Mobile Shopping Conference- Saks Exec Discusses Mobile Strategy Alignment To Corporate Goals

Posted on October 21, 2011


Mobile Commerce Daily– NEW YORK –During the “Creating a Strategic Mobile Roadmap that Aligns with Overarching Company Goals” panel, executives discussed their mobile strategies. The session was moderated by Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta.

Saks mobile site

A Saks Fifth Avenue executive at the Mobile Shopping Fall conference said retailers and brands need to create a strategic mobile roadmap that aligns with overarching company goals.

“There is a lot of vapor in the mobile space,” Larry Glenn, senior director of app development at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York.

“Very often, [companies] will come to you to help you solve the problem, but their solution is just three HTML5 pages,” he said. “Customers don’t care if it was complex to execute. They care about the end-value.”

Tablet presence
Last week, Saks rolled out its new iPad app.

According to Mr. Glenn, it made sense to roll out an iPad application because many of the company’s customers were accessing its site via their tablets.

In addition to its new iPad app, Saks also has a mobile-optimized site.

“We saw a ton of traffic coming from the iPad,” Mr. Glenn said. “With that we knew that we could provide a much more richer experience with the iPad.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t have an iPhone app [soon] as well,” he said. “The demographic that we have is very skewed towards iOS.”

According to the executive, the company is very tentative on SMS.

“We have to be very careful with the brand and there’s a perception of SMS that it can sometimes be low-end,” Mr. Glenn said. “You also have to think about where does it fit in the purchase cycle.”

Marketing strategy
According to Kelly Shoenefit, manager of online customer experience at Southwest Airlines, marketers need to find a strategy that works for them – whether it is a mobile site, applications, SMS or all of the above.

“We had a mobile Web site pretty early on and all it had was contact and check-in information,” Ms. Shoenefit said. “And as Internet check-in grew, we started seeing the online and mobile numbers grow.

“Functionality was key when creating our mobile site,” she said. “What we’re doing today is looking at what not only will help people transact, but also engage them.”

While the company has a mobile-optimized site and applications, it does not really have an SMS presence.

“We do in an operational sense,” Ms. Shoenefit said. “We have not used SMS in a marketing sense.

“When you think of coupon codes and offers, that’s not something that we’ve done,” she said. “If something changes with your flight, we are sending you an alert, but we are currently not using that in a marketing sense.”

According to Ms. Shoenefit, companies may have different strategies within their individual departments, but communication is key to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

For example, Southwest Airlines is running an NFL campaign that includes QR codes and a SMS call to action.

However, the campaign is not being executed by the company’s mobile department.

“We have different groups that are launching their own campaigns,” Ms. Shoenefit said. “It’s completely separate from our mobile strategy and as long as we are all communication, it’s fine.

“It’s still a cohesive experience for the customers,” she said.


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