Retailers must get consumer experience right before going mobile: Shop.org keynote
GRAPEVINE, TX – Online shoe retailer Shoebuy.com’s top executive said that he is proceeding cautiously with his company’s mobile commerce rollout as he wants to make sure the consumer experience is right, during his keynote address at the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org conference.
The Shoebuy.com PC Web site launched in January 2000 with the model of shipping from footwear manufacturers directly to consumers. The company recently launched an iPhone application and it is in the process of rolling out a mobile site, both of which are commerce-enabled.
“We’re expanding into new categories—we just launched an iPhone app, and it’s been a lot of fun, but we’re not doing the billions of dollars of sales that eBay is doing on its iPhone app,” said Scott Savitz, CEO of Shoebuy.com, Boston. “We’re in the process of launching a mobile site.
“When the iPhone happened, consumer behavior changed, and for three or four years everyone was mobile, mobile, mobile,” he said. “I thought if you invest a lot of money in mobile before getting the consumer experience right, it was a very big mistake.
“A lot of people got caught up in what was sexy, but now it’s at a point where you have to take mobile commerce seriously.”
In addition to its flagship Shoebuy.com site, the company operates Designer.shoebuy.com, Bagsbuy.com, Outletbuy.com, Clothesbuy.com, Product Express, www.shoebuy.com.uk, Floraflora.com and www.shoebuyblog.com, as well as a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
The company was acquired by IAC, Barry Diller’s company that also owns Evite, Match.com and Ask.com.
Klick Mobile created the Shoebuy.com iPhone application.
Top 10 list
Mr. Savitz offered up the ten biggest lessons that have allowed Shoebuy.com to thrive in good times and bad:
1. Always remember why you started the business in the first place.
2. Be totally disciplined to your value proposition.
3. Customer, customer, customer—put the customer front and center in everything you do.
4. Don’t ever stop innovating and building value: innovation in how you offer product, innovation in how you leverage what you know, innovation in how one transacts on your site and innovation in how you create culture.
5. Every dollar should be spend as though it is your last, maximize opportunity and minimize risk: Do not do deals that come with good and bad; you and your vendors should be partners; base what you do off of good assumptions; be able to be flexible or have the ability to exit; build lifelong relationships; and be an example for all.
6. Focus on being scalable and adaptable—whether it is your technology, product offering, advertising or infrastructure and leadership—using metrics as a guiding light.
7. Go for better than good and be in it to win it—maintain a refuse-to-lose mentality across your entire team.
8. Help others individually, as an organization and by example.
9. Impact change in your company, in your industry and in your community.
10. Just have fun!
While Shoebuy.com recognizes the vast opportunities that mobile commerce offers, when it comes to rolling out its mobile platforms, the company is taking it slowly, one step at a time.
“As far as our mobile strategy, we decided to focus first on an iPhone app and now on a mobile Web site, but it’s still early days for us,” Mr. Savitz said.
“In terms of advertising, you have to advertise more to sell more, but if you’re advertising more and you’re not selling more, then your strategy is not scalable,” he said. “We rely on the viral phenomenon, our customers telling their friends and family.”
Mr. Savitz at Shop.org: