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Armani Exchange debuts mobile commerce platform

Luxury apparel retailer A|X Armani Exchange has created a mobile shopping experience that engages its growing population of mobile customers.

Armani Exchange tapped the newly launched MarketLive Mobile application to power its mobile commerce Web site that is optimized for viewing on all smartphones with a focus on Apple’s iPhone. MarketLive Mobile provides a channel for marketing and merchandising activities intended to drive cross-channel sales for the retailer.

“We’re providing engaging content and mobile fundamentals such as mobile merchandising, mobile customer service and a store locator for the Armani Exchange consumer on the go,” said Mark Pierce, CEO of MarketLive, Petaluma, CA. “Our core strategy is to make sure retailers such as A|X are leveraging their core capabilities to research target consumers via smartphones.

“We power email, Web store and mobile initiatives for Armani Exchange, and we can enable the same capabilities from the PC Web site within the mobile site, but we’re not just taking a feature set and throwing it over the wall,” Mr. Pierce said. “It’s all administerable just like in our core ecommerce app, but instead of having to do it with third-party vendor, retailers can do it via MarketLive ecommerce.

“This is part of an integrated retail store experience, and we’re looking forward to this being part of the integrated multichannel experience.”

A|X Armani Exchange was launched in 1991 aimed at a new generation of young, fast-fashion consumers—a collection from Georgio Armani offering urban, individual style.

Armani Exchange touts its brand as “Accessible Armani” that defines a new dress code with a collection that takes its cue from urban lifestyle and music culture.

Today, Armani Exchange has an exclusive direct controlled retail network that comprises 170 freestanding stores in 24 countries.

The luxury apparel retailer has been active in the mobile space lately.

Armani Exchange’s first mobile ad campaign to promote its Spring 2009 collection saw an average click-through rate of 1.22 percent and interaction rates as high as 14.5 percent on the mobile site (see story).

A|X Armani Exchange also ran a text-to-win promotion in an effort that also involved SMS marketing with a mobile call-to-action printed on shopping bags (see story).

Since 1995, MarketLive Inc. has provided ecommerce retail technology and services that help companies sell goods and services online.

Designed to meet the requirements of catalogers, retailers, direct marketers and manufacturers, MarketLive enables merchants to enhance their customers’ online and mobile experience with the goal of improving acquisition, conversion and retention rates.

MarketLive powers retail ecommerce sites such as Peruvian Connection, Bon-Ton Stores, Sports Chalet, Vanity Shops, Gaiam and Title Nine.

Mobile Exchange
Armani Exchange’s mobile site, a full-featured mobile shopping environment, can be viewed at

The target demographic for the A|X mobile commerce site is urban fashion-forward consumers ages 18-30-plus.

As a brand manufacturer with a young, technology-savvy audience, A|X has an opportunity to captivate customers with the products, information and offers that strengthen their relationship with and preference for Armani/Exchange, according to the retailer.

Through MarketLive Mobile, retailers such as A|X are able to engage the profitable mobile customer segment through on-the-go customer service, a mobile site and marketing initiatives designed to drive multi-channel sales.

With MarketLive Mobile, A|X is extending its multi-channel branding, marketing, commerce and CRM strategies to mobile devices.

A|X can now send targeted messages to mobile users to drive repeat traffic to the site.

The MarketLive application lets A|X extend existing online merchandising strategies and promotions to mobile devices, as well as create mobile-specific products groups, categories and campaigns. 

To support multi-channel retailing, the A|X store locator includes geo-location functionality for directions and access to in-store mobile coupons, as well as product and pricing look-up and video content. 

A|X hopes to increase sales on the mobile device through the mobile site’s merchandising features and checkout processes designed specifically for smartphones.

Users can navigate various apparel categories, browse merchandise, view color swatches and buy merchandise via the mobile storefront.

Features such as real-time order status and click-to-call customer service are geared toward building loyalty and customer satisfaction.

A|X plans to continue expanding its mobile commerce and mobile marketing capabilities.

Smartphones are blowing up
According to Gartner Group, by 2012, 30 percent of smartphone users will use the Web to shop, resulting in 3 percent of the smartphone population conducting a transaction via their handset.

MarketLive Mobile supports both the ecommerce Web site and the mobile site simultaneously.  The mobile site leverages infrastructure from the PC Web site, including security, back-office integrations, payment types, product, price and promotions, while delivering an interface optimized for a mobile phone.

MarketLive Mobile is a browser-based application that can run on smartphone operating systems such as the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. 

Through MarketLive Intelligent Insights, retailers reference cross-channel analytics and mobile best-practices to optimize performance and drive results.

A new unified marketing and merchandising dashboard helps retailers improve the experience across each consumer touch point.

Additionally, MarketLive has launched a Mobile Commerce Center of Excellence on its Intelligent Connections community site. The forum will provide a wide variety of information, best practices and information, as well as host a discussion group where retailers can share experiences and advice.

“We’re helping A|X use mobile as connector between online and offline merchandizing and marketing—mobile will be the connector between ecommerce and in-store purchasing, the glue holding those together and reaching customers with one experience,” Mr. Pierce said.

“A|X wanted real commerce capability, and they are interested in being an early adopter,” he said. “People were transacting on their Web site via their iPhone, consumers want to purchase via online and mobile, and A|X wants people to engage with their brand in a personalized way on various channels.

“Mobile is a great way of delivering relevant content in a way that customers think is cool.”