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Goodwill exec: Borrowing retailers’ mobile ideas drives consumers to stores

NEW YORK – An executive from Goodwill at Mobile Commerce Daily’s fifth annual Nonprofit Mobile Day said that because the organization has so many retail outlets, it is borrowing retail concepts such as leveraging GPS to drive consumers into its stores.

Goodwill, which operates autonomous, community-based agencies in the United States and Canada and sells donated items in its more than 2,900 outlet and retail stores, includes location-aware technology on its free Goodwill Locator App to help customers find their way to a Goodwill store.

“Goodwill is a little unique in the nonprofit space because we do have such a central presence – 2,900 stores across the US and Canada,” said Adam Stiska, the Rockville, MD-based organization’s director of mobile and digital strategies.

Embracing mobile
The application requires IOS 6.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Nonprofit Mobile Day, a conference owned by Mobile Commerce Daily parent Napean LLC, was co-presented with the Direct Marketing Association.

During the presentation titled “Goodwill: Mobile Eclipsing Desktop Computing as the Primary Means That Individuals Access the Internet,” the executive discussed Goodwill’s embrace of mobile in early days, building the case to leadership for mobile, and mobile’s fit into Goodwill’s broader digital and organizational strategy.

Goodwill Industries International Inc. had revenue of $5.1 billion last year. It served 9.8 million people on 229 million sales transactions, according to data Mr. Stiska presented at the conference.

Good data
“Whenever you try to make a case for investing in mobile, it’s important to arm yourself with good data, whether it comes from external sources or your own internal sources,” Mr. Stiska said.

His other major point was that continued organizational support for a mobile adoption depends on the leader setting benchmarks and getting the rest of the team to agree on why the move matters for the organization.

“We tend to think of mobile as a channel within the broader context of digital,” he said. “We think of social, websites, email and mobile sits in that. There are certain capabilities that mobile offers, such as apps. They aren’t a means to an end but they are a sort of consumer touch point,” Mr. Stiska said.

“(In the past) if somebody came to our website or our digital touch points, they have come and interact and they’ve gone away. We want them to keep coming back.

“Just like any good business, we want them to have a repeat experience, because it takes a lot less time to re-engage the repeat customer.”

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.