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Gilt Groupe exec: Mobile makes up 30pc of weekend revenue

During the “Top Imperatives for Customer Intimacy and Smarter Retailing” session, retail executives spoke about the importance of targeting shoppers wherever they are. The panel was moderated by Veronica Katz, CSA head of retail marketing, strategy and alliances at eBay, San Jose, CA.

“Our theory at Gilt Groupe is to be where the customer is,” said Alexandra Wilson, cofounder of Gilt Groupe, New York.

“Our customers are on the go, so that for us means mobile,” she said.

“Our customer has a high expectation for innovation from us.”

Fast shopping
In addition to the weekend revenue, Ms. Wilson said that mobile generates approximately 20 percent of revenue during the weekday for Gilt Groupe.

IPads account for 40 percent of overall mobile sales, showing how tablets are powerful shopping tools. Tablets can also have slightly faster loading speeds, which is crucial for Gilt Groupe’s impulse, time-based sales.

However, according to the exec, 50 percent of mobile sales come from iPhone devices, pointing to Apple’s dominance in mobile commerce.

When it comes to smartphone versus tablets, Ms. Wilson said that smartphones are primarily used to make quick purchases and tablets are for more browsing-based shopping.

Since launching in November 2007, Gilt Groupe has banked on creating partnerships with brands to give consumers deals. Although the company originally started in women’s apparel, it has now expanded into other retail areas including travel, home and restaurants.

When the company launched, many brands were not selling online, making it difficult to convince executives to sell their products on the site.

In the next year, Gilt Groupe plans to focus on its mobile and international businesses.

In November 2011, the company began using foreign credit cards to let international customers buy online. Top international markets for the company include Britain, Russia, Hong Kong and Canada.

According to Ms. Wilson, Burberry is a brand that is getting technology right and is smart with the way it handles its digital marketing.

Additionally, Pinterest is quickly becoming the go-to social media star for retailers, and it is a channel that Gilt Groupe is actively pushing into.

However, because the social media site is still new, it can be difficult for brands to know how to best use it.

Gilt Groupe recently ran a Pinterest contest for its children’s line where consumers had to pin an item 50 times before it was unlocked and went on sale.

Millennial moms
According to Zanny Oltman, vice president of marketing and partnerships at Destination Maternity, Philadelphia, PA, the key to understanding the core demographic of moms-to-be is learning how moms want their information.

“For millennial moms, it is what she wants when she wants it,” Ms. Oltman said.

Although mobile is a huge part of understanding shoppers, it is still an area that Destination Maternity is still figuring out.

Destination Maternity claims to be the largest maturity retailer with 50 percent of the market share. The company has 650 stand-alone stores and leases its business through mass merchants such as Kohl’s and Macy’s.

However, the retailer only has a short amount of time with consumers, making partnerships essential to the company.

Initially, the goal of Destination Maternity is to drive consumers in-store and then online to become multichannel consumers.

The executive also said that it is important for retailers to find ways to have a two-way conversation with consumers.

However, the conversation does not necessarily take place on a retailer’s main Web site. Instead, Destination Maternity partners with Web sites such as to talk to its consumers.

Modern bride
For David’s Bridal, whose core demographic is women aged 24 to 35 years old, technology plays a crucial role in servicing its consumers.

The company has both a mobile site and a Web site and also has a strong social media presence.

David’s Bridal focuses on creating a singular tone and message through all of its marketing.

David’s Bridal has the challenge of only being with a consumer only once in her life, which means that the company focuses primarily on customer service. Based on a consumer’s experience, a great experience could impact the next group of brides-to-be.

In addition to helping consumers buy items, the exec also said that there are many opportunities with location and understanding what else a consumer might be interested in. For David’s Bridal, consumers are looking for help with the entire wedding-planning process.

“It’s important to not only know the consumer, but also know where she is,” said Lynne Leger, vice president of wedding solutions at David’s Bridal, Conshohocken, PA.

“In that way, it is an omnichannel approach in knowing what they want and where they are,” she said.

Final Take
Alexandra Wilson is cofounder of Gilt Groupe, New York