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Saks promotes range of footwear with varied Vogue mobile effort

Retailer Saks Fifth Avenue is driving traffic to its online shoe department with multiple advertisements on Condé Nast-owned Vogue’s mobile-optimized Web site.

Saks’ mobile effort relies on witty copy and on-trend shoes to draw Vogue readers away from the magazine’s content. By placing multiple ads that fall within the same format and product category, Saks has an increased chance of appealing to its various types of consumers, especially those who covet footwear of all types.

“Capitalizing on the Saks’ strong reputation as a shoe mecca will likely serve the brand well,” said Rachel Lewis, senior strategist at iProspect, Fort Worth, TX.

“Luxury shoppers are familiar with the brand’s place in the shoe space, and this campaign reinforces that notion,” she said. “Beyond Saks’ reputation, let’s be honest, it’s no secret women love shoes.

“These ads create a top-of-mind connection between the brand and a high-interest fashion category for women.”

Ms. Lewis is not affiliated with Saks, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Saks did not respond by press deadline.

Big shoes to fill

The department store chain featured a series of shoe ads on Vogue’s mobile site. Each of the ads showed different footwear carried by the retailer.

For instance, one shoe seen on is a Pierre Hardy high-heel sandel with pastel straps and a zebra-like heel enclosure. The sidebar ad includes Saks’ logo, two different views of the shoe and copy that reads “It’s definitely the shoes” along with a prompt to shop now.

Another box ad shows a neon pink and electric blue pair of Nicholas Kirkwood stiletto with the same copy as the Pierre Hardy heels. The Nicholas Kirkwood shoe is also featured in a banner effort that shows the heels from the side rather than from above like the box ad.

In the Culture section of Vogue’s Web site, Saks altered its approach by featuring a single Givenchy heel with a floral print. Instead of the “It’s definitely the shoes” copy, this ad features the brand’s logo in place of the campaign’s text.

To show a range of footwear styles carried by the retailer, Saks also included a pair of white and black flats from Tabitha Simmons.

Saks also included a “roll over” top banner ad that is not mobile-optimized. When on a desktop, readers can roll their cursor over the ad to show the names of the designers, such as Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo, featured in the collage of handbags and heels.

Although aesthetically well-formatted, mobile consumers will be unable to easily view the name of a designer with products featured in the collage. When brands promote products on various platforms it is essential that features work across the board.

“Mobile-optimization for content of this nature is certainly ideal,” Ms. Lewis said. “Given the data around apparel and shoe shopping on mobile devices, we know that consumers are both researching products and converting on them via mobile.

“Creating the most seamless and user-friendly experience is likely to yield a greater response from shoppers on these platforms,” she said. “It’s not the end of the world, but mobile-optimization creates a certain advantage.”

A click-through on any of the Saks shoe ads lands on the footwear and handbag homepage on the retailer’s Web site. The site features platform wedge sandals from Prada’s spring 2014 collection, heels and a clutch from Jimmy Choo’s pre-fall 2014 line, a series of on-trend tote bags and a listing of best sellers.

None of Saks’ ads lead directly to the product page of the shoe seen in the box or banner effort. Interested consumers would need to search by designer or style in the navigation menu on the left side of Saks’ site.

Lastly, the footwear and handbag homepage features a Mother’s Day gift guide that includes items carried by the retailer that have been pinned by Saks’ Pinterest followers. Listed alphabetically, the gift guide features pieces from Alexander McQueen, Dior, Proenza Schouler and Yves Saint Laurent beauty.

The gift guide is also organized as Gifts Under $150, Saks Favorites, Jewelry and Watches and Best Sellers.

The more the merrier

Saks has taken the multiple ad approach in the past to show the diversity of its featured products and the brands that are available in-stores and online.

The department store chain targeted mobile readers of the New York Times with a series of ads showing its range of labels, such as Gucci, Alexis Bittar and Giuseppe Zanotti, while providing links to the specific product pages. By featuring both its own logo and the brands’ iconography, Saks was able to garner click-throughs from fans of both the retailer and the fashion labels (see story).

Other retailers routinely take this varied approach.

For instance, British ecommerce retailer Net-A-Porter targeted consumers looking for both work and play attire with a pair of advertisements on New York magazine’s The Cut blog.

One ad is for strong attire and the other featured swimwear brand Eres, which the retailer just began selling. Both ads used multiple moving states to better get readers’ attention as they are flipping through content (see story).

When featuring a range of products in a mobile effort, a brand or retailer is more likely to appeal to a wider group of consumers.

“These banners on are hard to ignore, which we have to assume is the idea,” Ms. Lewis said. “Highlighting a diverse product mix increases the likelihood one of the items will resonate with the consumer.

“She may not react to one ad, but because of the repetitious nature of the initiative, she may see another banner featuring a shoe she simply cannot live without,” she said

Final Take:
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York