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Designing a mobile site for optimal conversion effectiveness

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Taken from Luxury Daily on September 12, 2011

By Barbara Green  Barbara Green is technical writer at Digby

In the past, retailers thought of their mobile storefront as a kind of showcase, rather than as a real supplement to the ecommerce bottom line.

But the number of mobile sites that see the mobile interface as a true revenue stream grows every quarter, and the ability to succeed in the mobile world is becoming a business imperative, not just an option.

It helps to view the mobile storefront as you do any retail outlet. If you optimize for the market, sales revenue will always go up.

The following techniques can help you design your mobile site for optimal conversion success.

1. Make a good first impression
The mobile landing page could be a design course in itself.

The limited real estate of the mobile display demands good design principles in a way that Web sites never did.

The following guidelines help your customers make a quick choice from the landing page, enhancing their experience and the chance of a purchase.

Include a banner. The banner can link to a featured product, a list of popular items (buyer’s choice), a sale category or an online discount or promotion that can be entered from the mobile device.

Make sure that the banner image is sized correctly and that it reads well on the small display area. If the image is busy – lots of text or people – you might want to include separate images for portrait and landscape orientation.

Simplify the top level. Include a maximum of five to nine category choices at the top level.

Font size should be readable and category names must be clear. If the customer does not know what the category name means, she will not click on it.

Mirroring the tabs on the ecommerce site is generally not the way to go, unless your ecommerce store has a strong, simple design with few choices at the top level.

Consider the following example from a major warehouse store:

column

Because the Browse Categories choice leads to the complete category list, the retailer did not need to change its catalog structure. But the simplified top level gives the customer an easy choice.

2. Offer a visible, usable search feature
More than half of customers who shop on a mobile device use the search feature.

The mobile interface should offer a prominent search feature that allows the customer to quickly find an item if she comes to the storefront with a choice in mind.

The corollary to this feature is that the products in the catalog should include good keywords and clearly searchable product names.

Test searches frequently and thoroughly to make sure they return good results.

3. Keep in sync
It can be a real source of frustration to a customer if the products offered on the mobile catalog turn out to be out of stock.

The nature of a mobile checkout means the customer may not get the out-of-stock notice until she tries to check out.

Updating the mobile data feed frequently can help to prevent this problem. Nightly updates may not be enough. If your stock turns over frequently, you may want to update several times a day.

And do not underestimate the kinds of things a mobile customer will purchase.

If you do a lot of big-ticket items from your Web site, there is no reason to limit the mobile site to accessories. Offering your full catalog on the mobile site can pay off in a big way.

4. Refresh the experience
In some cases, a static interface may be fine, but for a lot of retailers, seasonal changes are the norm.

If your business relies on seasonal promotions, make sure the mobile site also reflects that model. Keeping the mobile content fresh also gives your customers a reason to come back and see what is new.

5. Get the word out
How much effort does your organization put in on advertising your Web site or social media pages? How does that compare to the effort you put in to marketing your mobile site or application?

Make the most of opportunities to advertise and market the mobile site. For example:

Advertise the mobile site on your ecommerce site. Add a link to the mobile application or site from your ecommerce homepage. And make sure your redirect scripts are functioning properly so that mobile users go to the right site every time.

Monitor your ratings. If you have a downloadable application, monitor customer feedback. You may find some good ideas for improving the application, and you want to make sure it is serving your goals.

Make mobile part of the package. When you buy advertising or start a new campaign, include the mobile site. You will improve the site branding and performance just by keeping it in front of your customers on a consistent basis.

Mobile storefronts are a fast-growing part of the retail landscape.

The best mobile stores are a combination of good design, diligent maintenance, and effective marketing.

If you follow a few best practices, you can turn the mobile showroom into an increasingly productive revenue stream.

Barbara Green is technical writer at Digby, Austin, TX. Reach her atbgreen@digby.com.


 

Written by Kees Winkel

September 12, 2011 at 11:09

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Location-based mobile apps effective in driving luxury consumers in-store

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August 17, 2011, taken from Luxury Daily, written by Kayla Hutzler

The Beverly Hills Four Seasons' has a location-based appThe Beverly Hills Four Seasons’ has a location-based app

 

Location-based mobile applications allow luxury brands to highly target their global consumers and offer them real-time offers and information.

Luxury brands can use location-based apps to break down their global audiences, and deliver relevant product information in particular areas. These types of mobile apps are arguably the best way to drive mobile consumers in-store.

“A location-based feature is a prime, low-cost channel to enable engagement and conversion,” said Shanthala Balagopal, product marketing manager at Velti, San Fransisco.

“Providing consumers with real-time offers that can be redeemed [in-store] immediately helps drive sales and increase loyalty,” she said.

“By filling an unexpected need, it delights the customer and nudges faster conversion.”

Buy local
Mobile apps offer brands a direct channel to loyal consumers once the branded app is downloaded.

Therefore, brands should use their apps to help drive sales both in-store and online.

By incorporating a location-based feature, brands can communicate even more effectively with luxury consumers by breaking them down from a global audience to multiple, regional groups.

A regional group allows the brands to offer more real-time information and relevant product pushes based on the local season and trends.

Luxury brands can also use location-based apps to offer real-time, in-store offers or rewards to drive consumers to their nearby stores instead of just to a mobile site.

In addition, 78 percent of retail consumers use location-based apps on their phone, and 29 percent use them multiple times a day, according to a recent survey by JiWire.

Also, location-based feature reports provide brands with valuable insights about their customers.

“With real-time performance reports, campaign optimizations becomes easier and turn-around time is reduced, thereby increasing revenues,” Ms. Balagopal said.

Don’t push it
However, there are a few obstacles that brands may encounter when creating location-based apps, according to Ms. Balagopal.

As with any app, a brand must first convince a consumer to download it and allow for push notifications.

To achieve this, brands should ensure that a user’s first experience with the app is enjoyable and as stress-free as possible.

After this, a brand should only send highly-targeted, relevant push notifications that will be useful to the consumres.

In addition, a brand cannot send too many push notifications or the user will disable notifications or disregard them as spam.

Also, some brands may find that their consumers are having problems connecting to the app when they are in the store. This can be a major problem for the location-based apps that offer a floor map for local stores.

To overcome this, brands should place WiFi in every store.

Some brands are already using location-based mobile apps to engage with affluent consumers.

For example, the Four Seasons has an app that curates experiences around the hotel for customers at its Beverly Wilshire location in Beverly Hills, CA.

In addition, German automaker BMW used a location-based ad campaign and mobile app that allowed users to search for a specific model and find the closest one to their homes.

“Location-based apps are an effective way to drive discovery and conversions in-store,” Ms. Balagopal said.

“However, delighting the customer upon activation will be critical for retaining and converting the customer,” she said.

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

 

Kayla Hutzler is an editorial assistant on Luxury Daily. Her beats are automotive, consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods, financial services, media/publishing, software and technology, telecommunications, travel and hospitality, real estate, retail and sports. Reach her at kayla@napean.com.

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Written by Kees Winkel

August 17, 2011 at 12:53

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The pressure to price apps right – Luxury Daily – Columns

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By Mike Truskowski

The honeymoon of the mobile application industry is over. The fight for users – and the challenge of building a sustainable flow of money from them – has arrived. And it will only get tougher.

Raise your hand if you have a smartphone. Now think about your friends, family and colleagues. More hands up, right?

The popularity of these devices has ballooned from 9 percent of mobile phone sales in 2009 to a projected 50 percent by 2013, according to Gartner.

Hardware manufacturers and service providers are having a great time trading up their users to higher-margin handsets and contracts.

But perhaps the greatest untapped opportunity afforded by the smartphone revolution belongs to a third party: the providers of mobile apps and mobile content.

In the balance

With only one small screen to navigate, the mobile user is a captive audience. However, as the number of competing platforms, channels and applications grows, and the fight for consumers’ attention intensifies, turning a mobile app into a sustainable, profitable venture will become increasingly difficult.

Will ad revenues alone be enough for app backers to achieve this sustainability?

For apps built around the freemium model, how will developers know and establish the right balance between paid and ad-supported users?

Where firms do decide to charge for their software, content and other features, what will the most successful pricing models look like?

Those are just a few of the fundamental questions facing someone who wants to make money with apps.

In 2001, our firm explored the challenges of selling content online. Back then, those who were brave enough to put a price tag on their offering based their decisions more on “gut feeling and guesswork than hard data.”

Read more at The pressure to price apps right – Luxury Daily – Columns.

Written by Kees Winkel

July 27, 2011 at 11:56

Experiential currency drives digital and social landscape – Luxury Daily – Multichannel

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NEW YORK — Starwood Hotels and Resorts employs a localized infrastructure for all digital and social media to provide a 360-degree customer experience, according to an executive at the Luxury Interactive conference last week.

Starwood creates separate personalities for each of its hotel locations and equips them with personal social media sites, Web site pages and tabs in mobile applications. Unique brand identities are extremely important and must be recognizable across all three platforms.

“The new economy that drives the digital and social media landscape is based on experiential currency,” said Stephen Gates, senior creative director of global brand design for Starwood, New York.

“People want to have unique experiences and they want to pay to be part of and experience something that is not the same as what everyone else does,” he said.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts owns high-end hotels and resorts such as The Luxury Collection, St. Regis and Le Meridien, as well as the W, Westin and the Sheraton brands.

Stink bombs

The three overall platforms that Starwood focuses on for all of its properties are Web sites, social media and mobile.

On the Web, the most important factor for brands to remember are the core values of the brand and highlighting them through the Web site design.

For example, Starwood’s Le Meridien hotel site is based around the brand’s core brand positioning: “Discovery starts with you.”

To embody that in digital form, a feature on http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien allows guests to choose photos they like, and drag and edit them to create a collage on the screen.

Based on the images that a consumer finds appealing, Le Meridien suggests personalized vacation destinations that she would specifically enjoy.

Le Meridien’s photo collage feature

Each Starwood property also has personal social media sites that are monitored 24/7.

From these sites, real employees can interact with current and potential guests to offer suggestions, follow-up on complaints and respond to questions in real-time.

In one extreme example from a Starwood property, someone tweeted a bomb threat to the hotel.

The social media employee saw the tweet within eight minutes and alerted hotel security, who then cleared the glass-encased front lobby.

Fourteen minutes later, a bomb went off across the street and no guests were harmed.

via Experiential currency drives digital and social landscape – Luxury Daily – Multichannel.

Written by Kees Winkel

July 5, 2011 at 11:17

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Mandarin Oriental highlights mobile marketing prowess – Luxury Daily – Mobile

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NEW YORK – The key to mobile is to communicate directly with consumers through mobile sites, applications and search engine optimization, according to a Mandarin Oriental executive at the Luxury Interactive conference.

Mandarin Oriental laid out its entire digital strategy from the past few years to explain how varying the types of mobile marketing enables the chain to engage with consumers. The brand exercised many mobile touch points to communicate while still maintaining a consistent theme throughout its mobile offerings.

“Our first priority was asking what the customer was looking for,” said Christoph Oberli, New York-based vice president of ecommerce at Mandarin Oriental. “The problem is that the mobile device is always changing.

“Something new is always coming, but the mobile strategy needs to be consistent across all platforms and outlets,” he said. “It always has to be benefitting the brand.”

No reservations

Mandarin Oriental has seen much success from its mobile site, launched in January 2010.

The mobile site is more of a transaction tool than an engagement mechanism, per Mr. Oberli.

Read on at Mandarin Oriental highlights mobile marketing prowess – Luxury Daily – Mobile.

Written by Kees Winkel

July 3, 2011 at 11:29

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American Express introduces Zync card via mobile ads

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American Express is targeting a new generation of card members by promoting the Zync card via banner ads found on mobile applications and optimized sites.

The company expressed interested in individuals in their 20s and 30s and adds flexibility to select bundles of rewards and benefits called “packs” that are chosen for specific lifestyle interests and spending habits. These categories are music, fashion, food and travel.

“In the spectrum of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets represent the strongest opportunity for luxury brands, as compared to feature phones,” said Elena Perez, director of marketing for Medialets, New York.

“In addition to enabling connection with the more affluent audience, smartphones and tablets give brands the opportunity to build deep, rich experiences that mirror the quality of luxury brands,” she said.

American Express did not respond by press deadline.

Ms. Perez is not affiliated with American Express, but agreed to comment as a third-party expert on banner ads.

In Zync

The Zync banner ad has an image of the card with the tagline “Meet Zync.”

When consumers click on the ad, it opens with a jaunty melody with an explanation about the card.

By emphasizing travel, food, the environment, fashion and art, American Express is trying to reach a younger generation of cardmembers who may have previously thought that the company was just for their parents, per the brand.

The short video ends with four options in which to interact with Zinc.

Consumers can click on the “Zync Mix,” which features songs from bands such as Andrew Bird, the Antlers and Passion Pit that can be downloaded or streamed via the site.

These bands are listened to widely by Zync’s target group.

Consumers can also opt to watch Zync television commercials that feature the above musicians.

Clicking on the picture of the Zync card enables Gen Y members to learn more about it by picking “packs.”

Consumers can choose up to four music, fashion, travel and food packages in which to receive American Express points and special benefits.

There is also a section to contact American Express and apply for the card.

via American Express introduces Zync card via mobile ads.

Written by Kees Winkel

June 22, 2011 at 11:20

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Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini gain awareness from celeb-endorsed Twitter campaign – Luxury Daily – Mobile

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Automakers such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Maserati are sure to gain awareness with a new celebrity-endorsed Twitter campaign by Indulgence Auto Rental.

With a vehicle selection of impressive luxury cars, the company is far from the common Hertz or Enterprise.

“The real motivation here is for Indulgence Auto Rental to promote its service – not high-end cars, but the service we provide,” said Frank Kafimov, chief operating officer of Indulgence Auto Rental, Los Angeles.

The map

The company’s desire to involve celebrities, many of whom are already clients, is no surprise.

To be considered a qualified candidate, a celebrity must have: a verified Twitter account, more than 2 million followers on Twitter and be personally liked by Indulgence Auto Rental followers.

Celebrities who feel they meet all of the requirements can than contact Indulgence Auto Rental for more information.

 

If all goes well, and they are found to be likeable and approved, the celebrities may pick from any one of the company’s luxury cars, currently including the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the Maserati Grand Turismo and the McLaren SLR Roadster, so as long as they are not already reserved or rented out.

via Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini gain awareness from celeb-endorsed Twitter campaign – Luxury Daily – Mobile.

Written by Kees Winkel

June 2, 2011 at 09:11

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Optimizing the mobile media matrix – Mobile Commerce Daily – Columns

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Mobile is introducing greater complexity than marketers have seen, faster than they are ready to handle it.

While the “mobile media matrix” is not as sinister as the matrix of film legend, I predict it will become a disruptive enemy of businesses that do not choose to be its friend.

via Optimizing the mobile media matrix – Mobile Commerce Daily – Columns.

Written by Kees Winkel

May 11, 2011 at 10:04

Reaching affluent consumers via mobile – Mobile Commerce Daily – Columns

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Luxury brands know better than anyone that affluent consumers are highly particular about the things that they purchase.

Whether it is this season’s new Christian Louboutin pumps or that straight-off-the-showroom-floor M Series BMW, affluent customers usually know exactly what they want. The same can be said for the ways in which they shop.

As early adopters who place value in being among the first to have a coveted item, affluent U.S. consumers are more likely to carry a smartphone or tablet.

via Reaching affluent consumers via mobile – Mobile Commerce Daily – Columns.

Written by Kees Winkel

May 10, 2011 at 13:05

Goldman Sachs pulls out QR stops to support Katrina damage – Luxury Daily – Mobile Commerce Daily – Advertising

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Mobile Commerce Daily sys:

Lexus pushes hybrid models with multichannel Conde Nast partnerships

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus is showcasing features of its CT-200h hybrid model via Conde Nast’s Vanity Fair, Details and Wired publications and is the first brand to use interactive gigapixel images in nationally-printed publications.

Please click here to read the entire story on Luxury Daily

via Goldman Sachs pulls out QR stops to support Katrina damage – Luxury Daily – Mobile Commerce Daily – Advertising.

Written by Kees Winkel

May 10, 2011 at 10:05

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