The Future Is Mobile: Established Business and New Start-ups Take an Omnichannel Approach to Growth
When Lucky Brand set out to redesign its website, which bows this month, the denim lifestyle company took an omnichannel approach that integrates online interactivity with mobile accessibility and social networking.
“We are redesigning the website, including a mobile [application], while building our social community and strategies to enable that omnichannel approach,” said Tim Scully, Lucky’s vice president of digital creative.
Interactivity is familiar territory for Scully, who was vice president and creative director of Home Shopping Network before joining the denim brand. At HSN, Scully launched the consumer-direct network’s mobile applications.
Lucky Brand’s website will feature specialized online shops and opportunities for the brand to interact with the customer—by listening to how she buys, what she wears, how she wants to accessorize and what events she wants to go to.
Lucky Brand was one of several companies participating at Fashion Digital Los Angeles, held last month at the Directors Guild of America in West Hollywood, Calif.
The wide-ranging conference looked at the future of fashion e-commerce, emerging trends and how mobile technology is changing the digital marketplace. Companies in attendance included American Apparel, eBay, Forever 21, HSN and Nasty Gal.
Not every company entering the mobile commerce—or m-commerce—field is coming from the bricks-and-mortar world—or even traditional e-commerce.
When Santa Monica, Calif.–based Pose launched about 2½ years ago, the business was strictly mobile.
“We actually started with an only-iPhone app for our beta app to test,” said Alisa Gould-Simon, Pose co-founder and vice president, who also said the company’s apps were created in-house specifically for OS and Android devices.
“We have been developing [our website] now because we have seen so many people engaging with our mobile platform on the weekend. We realized people would like to browse our content when they are at work—or should be working.”
Gould-Simon described Pose as a mobile community for fashion and beauty and a destination for inspiration and shopping. All of the content is user-generated but is presented through a heavily curated lens.
Currently, mobile phone and tablet users have to register in order to create their own user experience on Pose. When the Pose website launches, users will be able to access the site freely, whether they are registered or not.
For online fashion marketplace Lyst, 30 percent of traffic is generated through mobile applications, said Hilary Peterson, Lyst’s head of business development. “We have gone from 8 percent to 30 percent in traffic,” Peterson said.
Lyst allows users to create a personalized marketplace with brands they want to “follow.” According to Peterson, the personalization helps Lyst users discover fashion they love by bringing the designers and retailers in a central “shopping feed.”
Mobile apps can drive purchasing, so Lyst’s team is constantly thinking about how to make the mobile shopping experience easier, Peterson said.
But, she cautioned, it’s crucial to have a “responsive design” that adapts to the consumer whether she’s on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.
“If people land on your site from a mobile platform and you don’t have responsive design, there will be less conversion,” she said. “You need to try and capture that traffic from a consumer’s point of view.”
Mobile, not mass
In 2005, Refinery29 was conceived from a “mall analogy [which] was central to the concept of R29,” said founder Philippe von Borries. “We set out to recreate it, but—of course—with the opposite of mass retail in mind. The central ingredients for R29 were discovery, resource and utility for the consumer and a very meaningful marketing platform for small brands. And once we launched, we started to produce lots and lots of content to drive home the concept of R29 as your daily style destination.”
With about 10 million visits and roughly 5.7 million unique visitors each month, Refinery29 offers a forum for independent creators and boutiques showcasing fashion, home, design, music and other lifestyle categories. The summer, the content and commerce site will relaunch completely with a new branding experience.
“This will be the first step on a series of iterative steps to drive greater discovery and exploration on the platform,” von Borries said. “Commerce—or, rather, product exploration—is a central current in R29’s experience. We strongly believe in a completely integrated model that results in a more impactful experience.”
The new site will use software that will connect concepts and themes to provide users with personalized experiences, von Borries promised.
Mobile apps will be central to the relaunch. Thirty percent of Refinery29’s traffic comes from mobile devices, von Borries said.
“Discovery and inspiration-based commerce is so much richer on tablet devices, connecting and engaging its consumers in entirely new ways,” he said. “Whoever is not thinking about mobile in new and innovative ways is risking the future.”