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Bon-Ton Stores mcommerce site and mobile coupons bring double-digit increase in orders

Bon-Ton Stores Inc. claims it has increased sales via a new mobile Web site that enhances the shopping experience by proposing relevant products and automatically providing coupons and discounts based on customer preferences. 

The retail giant owns seven brands – Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers – and al have seen success with the use of mobile.

“As customer demographics change and customers change and adapt we have to adapt with them and go to where they are and give them access to us wherever and whenever,” said Jimmy Amnsker, senior vice president of ecommerce at Bon-Ton, Milwaukee, WI.

“We wanted to make sure give customers a choice on how to interact with us,” he said.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is a regional department store company based in York, PA, chiefly operating 280 department stores and 10 furniture galleries in 23 states throughout the United States.

Bon-Ton’s new mobile site is able to identify shoes, accessories and pants to complete the order.

The mobile site is able to develop targeted marketing campaigns tailoring the shopping experience for specific customer segments using new media capabilities and mobile coupons.

For instance, during this year’s winter formal season, Bon-Ton is targeting teen shoppers across multiple sales channels.

Teens can try on formal dresses in the store, receive a mobile coupon delivered to their smartphones, share photos of their favorite dresses with their family and friends via any social networking site and complete their purchases in the store or online.

While still in its infancy, mobile shopping is contributing to the growth of online sales.

According to the third annual Coremetrics Black Friday Benchmark Report, 5.6 percent of people logged retailers’ sites using a mobile device on Black Friday, representing a jump of 26. 7 percent compared to last year.

By using IBM WebSphere Commerce software, Bon-Ton is able to streamline day-to-day back office functions such as managing inventory and shipping.

Bon-Ton is making more merchandise available to customers with faster delivery methods.

No newbie to mobile
Cosmetics giant Clinique used mobile to activate its print campaign within Bon-Ton Stores Inc.-owned Bergner’s weekly circular.

Vertis Communications was responsible for the effort. With the large reach that the circular has among Bergner’s customers, Clinique and Bon-Ton were able to build a sizeable mobile database for future marketing efforts.

Clinique added a mobile call to action within the Bon-Ton circular that asked consumers to text the keyword GIFT to short code 266866 to sign up to receive exclusive text alerts for upcoming gift offers.

According to the CTIA, consumers exchanged more than 5 billion text messages per day, as of March 2010.

Text messaging is starting to play an even more important role than voice. According to Nielsen Mobile, the average consumer sends 584 messages versus using less than 200 voice minutes. 

Additionally, 95 percent of existing mobile contracts have SMS built into the agreement and more than 90 percent of text messages are opened and read compared to less than 40 percent of all email solicitations.

“We built a mobile site because it lets us reach a younger demographic that we don’t typically see in our stores at a high level and we are letting customer shop when and how they want,” Mr. Amnsker said.

Final take
Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor of Mobile Commerce Daily