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Jos. A. Bank mobile strategy focused more on relationships than mcommerce

Staying true to its multichannel retail support strategy, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers has rolled out an iPhone application and a mobile Web destination to engage with customers in-store.

5th Finger built both the application and the Web site for the specialty retailer. The application and mobile site are meant to inspire ensembles, educate shoppers and drive consumers in-store via mobile offers.

“Many retailers 12 months ago rushed into mcommerce with the belief that somewhere there was someone on a bus who wanted to buy from them right away,” said Patrick Collins, CEO of 5th Finger, San Francisco.

“Today, with almost no results to show for the channel – unless they are a low consideration product like books, pizza or tickets – many retailers are re-evaluating the role of mobile in their customer relationships,” he said.

“Five years out, most projections still have 90 percent of retail revenue coming from their stores. JoS. A. Bank faces an algebra common to many retailers — 10 people walk into the store, four say they are going to buy, only one does — begging the question, how can mobile impact those three intenders who didn’t convert?”

Mobile shopping companion
JoS. A. Bank is a retailer of men’s classically-styled tailored and casual clothing, sportswear, footwear and accessories.

The company’s new mobile site and app lets customers quickly find any of the 500-plus JoS. A. Bank store locations in the United States.

Store hours, maps and directions are also included on the new mobile destinations, with a click-to-call functionality that connects shoppers with the location of their choice.

Right now the app is available on iPhones, with an Android app coming soon.

Personalized offers are pushed via the app. The offers can be saved for future redemption in-store.

“There has been limited consumer interest in the mcommerce functionality and so it has been pushed to phase two of [JoS A. Bank’s mobile strategy],” Mr. Collins said. “Our suspicion is that the mcommerce function will serve to solve in-store problems like ‘they don’t have my size in stock,’ not ‘I’m sitting on a bus and want to buy a suit.’

“Our phase two implementation is a proxying of their online commerce engine — we maintain the session on the phone and are PCI compliant in our data management,” he said.

Consistent branding
Recognizing the importance of providing customers a consistent experience both online and in-store, the mobile site and iPhone app have similar coloring and imagery to online.

The difference is that on mobile the content is prioritized differently, since consumers on the go have different needs than those shopping on their desktop PCs.

“The core difference between the Jos. A. Bank mobile site and most retailers is the consumer value focus — the Brooks Brothers mobile Web site has an attractive layout of complete catalog and shopping experience of the full Web site,” Mr. Collins said.

“However 5th Finger and JoS. A. Bank believe this is not a channel that either the Jos. A. Bank or Brooks Brothers customer set is interested in,” he said. “No one is buying their $998 1818 One-Button Fitzgerald Tuxedo on their phone.”

The Jos. A. Bank mobile Web site and app are not meant to serve as additional sales channels.

Instead, the retailer hopes that mobile will serve as a companion for customers while they are in-store.

The site supports the types of behavior mobile consumers are demonstrating most while out shopping. The search functionality is front and center and store locators and hours are also easily accessible.

“The app also hopes to deliver on the promise of the mobile phone as the great message unifier,” Mr. Collins said. “Any coupon or offer that a consumer receives through email, catalog, print or outdoor can be pushed to the phone as the offer wallet for all channels.

“This eliminates the coupons orphaned on your printer at home or on the coffee table, or just forgotten about as you passed the billboard,” he said.