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Saks Fifth Avenue uses holiday windows to increase mcommerce sales

Department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue is using its holiday windows to not only draw locals and tourists to its New York flagship in midtown Manhattan, but to drive mobile-commerce sales as well.

The retailer has included a customized QR code in its holiday window display that allows consumers to watch a video or access the brand’s mobile store. Giving consumers the option was likely a smart move on Saks’ part and may help increase brand loyalty.

“I love what Saks is doing,” said Matt McKenna, founder and president of Red Fish Media, Miami. “I think store windows are fantastic real estate for QR codes.

“People are coming to these iconic stores during the holidays and it’s a fantastic place to have them,” he said.

Mr. McKenna is not affiliated with Saks Fifth Avenue, but agreed to comment as a third-party expert.

Red Fish Media has conducted mobile campaigns for Off Fifth, a sub division of Saks Fifth Avenue as well as companies such as Ralph Lauren, Starbucks and Nike.

Window shopping
The QR code is found in the corner of Saks’ window display and contains the @Saks symbol in its design.

The store entices consumers to scan with the phrase, “See the Saks holiday show, direct from New York.”

After scanning the code with a smartphone, consumers are brought to a special holiday landing page and given two options:  view the holiday show or find the perfect gift on

Clicking on the center image starts the video which features Saks’ holiday light show that takes place numerous times each night on the retailer’s façade during the holiday season.

Consumers who choose to shop from their mobile devices are linked to the mobile-optimized Saks Fifth Avenue site.

The mobile store is winter-themed with snowflakes and silver, grey and black images and text.

Mobile shoppers are also alerted to free shipping and free returns when they use the word “holiday” in the promotions box upon checkout.

Saks gives consumers a variety of tabs to search through such as mens, womens and fragrance. The retailer has also incorporated a “gift shop” tab at the bottom of the mobile page.

Saks gift shop goes beyond the typical for him and for her tabs and also includes tabs such as “best sellers, top 50 gift wonders and designers we love.”

Festive features
Indeed, this mobile effort is just one part of Saks’ holiday campaign this year.

The retailer hosted a a performance by the American Ballet Theater on Nov. 21 to celebrate the unveiling of the holiday windows and the premiere display of the light show (see story).

The mobile video features a front-row look of the nightly light show, which features a special 3D component for the first time this year, making it look as if snowflakes are popping bubbles and gathering on the store front.

The snowflake and bubbles theme carries over to Saks’ 2011 holiday windows, which were inspired by the children’s book, “Who Makes The Snow.”

The windows feature one-of-kind, special-edition designer dresses from labels such as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.

Fiat by Gucci and MasterCard Worldwide are the sponsors for this year’s windows. However, neither make an appearance in the mobile effort.

By giving consumers a choice between the holiday video and the mobile commerce-enabled store Saks avoided alienating people and is likely increasing the engagement time per scan.

“I like the option of the video versus the mobile-commerce site,” Mr. McKenna said. “Brands just cannot have too many options.

“But, a few choices is a good idea because the consumer may be in a place where they can watch a video at that time,” he said.

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York