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Journeys, CBS execs: Integrate mobile across all sales channels

NEW YORK – Executives from Genesco Inc.’s Journeys and CBS Mobile agreed that retailers and merchants must integrate mobile across all sales channels to unify the shopping experience, during a panel at the Mobile Shopping Summit,

Mobile is the glue that connects all other channels, increasing the stickiness and effectiveness of multichannel campaigns and commerce initiatives. Last year, CBS Mobile released the CNET Scan and Shop application for Google’s Android platform, letting consumers take any product, scan the bar code and get expert reviews and price comparisons.

“We do mobile sites and apps for pretty much all of our properties,” said Daniel Sakai, vice president of mobile at CBS Mobile, New York. “It’s important to support both WAP and touchscreen smartphone-optimized sites.

“In addition to supporting high-end smartphones, make sure sites are accessible and formatted for lower-resolution screens,” he said. “On the app side, think about specific use cases—don’t just develop an app for the sake of doing it, think about it as a business.

“There are 300,000 apps in the App Store, and rising above them can be difficult, so you have to have a sound strategy.”

CBS Mobile has a whole stable of apps and mobile sites

Mobile Journeys
Genesco Retail has partnered with SCVNGR for location-based promotions and launched a Journeys mobile Web site, which it sees as a way to augment the in-store shopping experience at its 850-plus mall-based stores.

“We knew while we were launching the mobile site that the [bricks-and-mortar] stores pay our bills—we know that, so we launched the mobile site really to support the stores and get our brand into the consumers hands,” John Tighe, director of ecommerce at Genesco Inc., Nashville, TN. “It was intended as more of a reference site, but it has exceeded our expectations as a sales channel.

“We also played with location-based services as the first nationwide retailer to launch with Scvngr, letting our customers check in at a store, complete tasks and earn points to unlock rewards such as a $10 off coupon,” he said. “We’re driving activity from mobile back into the store—the goal is to increase foot traffic to our mall stores.

“We want to get kids into stores and have them hang out and play games like SVNGR.”

Mr. Tighe was joined on the panel by two of his company’s vendor partners, Steve Deller, CEO of Virid, and Barry Berkowitz, vice president of digital marketing solutions at InfoGroup Interactive.

Key features of Journeys’ mobile Web site are product reviews and a prominent store locator.

Genesco uses the same CMS for the HTML and mobile sites, and all of the products that Journeys offers are accessible via both versions.

Journeys runs the same promotions online and on mobile, such as free shipping for orders over $99.

“With Virid’s solution, it made more sense to keep things together, as it’s one less point of integration that is nice to not have to worry about,” Mr. Tighe said.

Genesco chose not to develop applications for Journeys, but rather decided to participate in other people’s applications to reach and engage its target demographic of consumers ages 12-22.

For example, Journeys signed on as a sponsor of Seventeen Magazine’s Fashion Finder application for Apple’s iPhone.

Last holiday season, before Journeys had a mobile site, the retailer’s call center was inundated with people looking at the PC Web site on their mobile device wanting to complete a transaction over the phone.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people are out and about or stuck in traffic shopping the site but want to complete order over the phone, so we added a click-to-call button on the Journeys mobile site,” Mr. Tighe said. “They can end up finishing the sale by hitting that button and checking out that way, which is a way to unify that piece of the direct-to-consumer business.”

Another benefit of the mobile site is letting Journeys employees show consumers items that are not in stock at that particular location and process orders while the register is occupied.

Genesco is in the process of launching Journeys SMS initiativese with InfoGroup Interactive.

“It’s something we know we need to do, and we should’ve done it earlier, but we didn’t, so we’re trying to get there now,” Mr. Tighe said.

Final Take
CBS Mobile’s Mr. Sakai