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Attract new customers with mobile sites rather than apps: Shinola exec

NEW YORK – A Shinola executive at Intersect Fashion New York 2016 detailed how the watch designer developed a mobile-first redesign of its Web site, including its struggle to get all team members to embrace mobile.

During the session, Double-Edged Device: How Your Mobile Strategy Can Drive Sales (Away?), the executive explained that it makes more sense for the watch brand to focus on its mobile and desktop commerce site rather than build a mobile application, because its motive is to onboard new customers, as the brand itself is fairly new. While desktop sees double the time spent and sales conversion, mobile is an important aspect of the overall shopping journey, and the retailer has implemented Amazon Pay to help drive sales conversions on the smaller screen.

“It is very difficult to get everyone to understand that space,” said Dennis Kopitz, head of ecommerce at Shinola. “We spent six months trying to overcome that, as designers were constantly thinking in the creative space about that desktop space until they got to the point where they were strictly thinking about mobile phones.

“Once we got the creative folks and development folks all on the page, things finally started to come together,” he said.

Watching mobile growth
Shinola is a fairly new watch and leather goods manufacturer, and values mobile as a serious part of the customer journey but has not yet developed a mobile app. Retailers with mobile apps typically only see a small percentage of shoppers leveraging their apps, but they can drive significant sales as it attracts the most loyal customers.

For a new growing brand such as Shinola, it makes less sense to make a mobile app, as they are attempting to onboard a wide range of new customers, who are not likely to be influenced by a mobile app. Shinola has been working on a new mobile-optimized Web site, designed with mobile-first in mind.

However, it was difficult trying to get a seamless outlook throughout the different departments working on the new site. Many designers were still thinking about the overall look in terms of desktop, and not focusing on what the small screen will look like.

Mobile checkout
It is important for retailers and brands to focus on a completely seamless user experience across all devices, as many times information and various features tend to get lost on the mobile interface.

In the past, users primarily used mobile for only research and would very rarely complete purchases and checkout. Now the number of mobile purchasers is increasingly growing, and to make that experience better for these shoppers Shinola has adopted mobile checkout platforms such as Amazon Pay to make the process faster.

Amazon Pay allows users to checkout by logging into their regular Amazon accounts, which then integrates their payment information for a one-stop checkout.

“For a new brand like us, our primary goal is to bring new customers to the brand and experience us online, and an app does not really drive that goal as much as mobile Web does,” Mr. Kopitz said. “So we are really investing in the site itself and making sure it is the best it can be on all platforms.”