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Inviting nominations for Mobile Retailer of the Year

While the economy’s struggle featured in the backdrop, 2009 has arguably been the first year where mobile was taken seriously as a retail channel. So which retailer used mobile most effectively for mobile commerce?

Readers are invited to nominate retailer candidates for Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mobile Retailer of the Year for 2009. A similar exercise is in its second year at sibling publication Mobile Marketer, where nominations are being invited for Mobile Marketer of the Year for 2009 (see story).

Each day we publish articles and case studies on the retailer use of mobile Web sites, applications and SMS for customer acquisition or customer retention. Some retailers, on the advice of their mobile commerce and ecommerce service providers, take more risks than others to push the envelope. It is from these ranks we would like to have the 2009 Mobile Retailer of the Year.

What are the hallmarks of a good mobile retailer and hence a candidate for the top honor?

First, the retailer should have consistently made effective use of mobile commerce and marketing for branding or customer acquisition or customer retention or a combination of them.

Second, while standalone mobile commerce and marketing efforts are OK, the marketer should have also incorporated mobile into a multichannel plan. Mobile’s role in giving legs to print, TV, radio, insert media and the Internet is what makes it a standout medium. The role of SMS in driving store traffic is key.

Third, the retailer should have built a qualified database of respondents to mobile campaigns. This opt-in list is gold, since the churn rate with mobile phone numbers is minimal compared with email or postal addresses.

Fourth, the retailer should have created an optimal customer experience on its mobile site or application and via its SMS messages. The site or application should be user-friendly, intuitive and accommodating of on-the-go shopping, searches and transactions.

Fifth, the retailer’s mobile site or application should be a model of mobile merchandising – knowing what products or offers to put where and at what price and shipping incentive on limited screen real estate.

Sixth, the retailer should also have expertise in inventory management to balance demands of shopping or search originating on the mobile device but culminating in in-store sales.

Seventh, the on-site search experience on the retailer’s mobile site or application should be exceptional. The search tab should be easy to locate and use, and pull up results relevant to location, product or search.

Eighth, the retailer should have achieved a high rate of response to campaigns on a consistent basis, thus proving deft use of calls to action and targeted marketing.

Ninth, the mobile commerce or marketing creative should have been consistently outstanding, with the ads or imagery conveying the brand attributes and engendering high click-throughs.

Finally, the retailer should have shaped mobile commerce in 2009, serving as a role model to peers and encouraging mobile commerce and ecommerce service providers.

At least some of these attributes have to be part of the DNA of a smart mobile retailer. It is not about the budget, but the smart thinking with the appropriate use of retailer and marketing dollars for mobile.

Overall, the idea is to give this honor to a retailer which made effective use of mobile through smart merchandising, effective in-site or in-application search, multichannel inventory management, creative execution and marketing offer to consistently generate traffic and sales on the mobile site or application as well as a high response rate for mobile marketing campaigns and outreach.

In other words, this retailer should have moved the needle for mobile commerce and the retail brand in 2009.

Only retailers qualify for nomination.

Deadline is Jan. 7
All nominations should be accompanied by three pieces of high res jpeg creative examples of the retailer nominee’s work, along with a detailed description in a Word document of why that nominee deserves the honor. The yardsticks must be kept in mind.

This publication’s staff will also submit their own board of candidates for Mobile Retailer of the Year.

A decision based on industry feedback combined with this publication’s experience of interacting with the retailers and service providers will lead to the nomination of contenders.

The winner will be announced sometime in January.

Please headline your submissions “Mobile Retailer of the Year” in your emails to [email protected].

Mobile commerce and ecommerce service providers can nominate their clients or others and retailers can nominate themselves or others. Also, individuals can nominate others with whom they have no ties.

Multiple nominations are welcome as well, limited to three per referring retailer, service provider or individual.

The deadline for submissions is Jan. 7.

Our judgment will be fair and to the best of our journalistic abilities. We are not anointing, but confirming the wisdom of a smart crowd.