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Steve Madden reveals roadmap for mobile commerce rollout

The “Essential Elements of Successful Mobile Marketing: Tools, Creative, Offers and Measurement” panel was moderated by Amielle Lake, CEO of Tagga Media, Vancouver, and also included top executives from Impact Mobile and the Mobile Marketing Association. Steve Madden is currently putting the finishing touches on its mobile commerce site.

“Mobile is a big initiative for us—we’re taking it very seriously, and we’re taking steps to make mobile come alive for our customers,” said Jared Horowitz, manager of business development and direct marketing at Steve Madden, New York. “Steve Madden himself is very involved in the creative aspect, and mobile has become a huge part of our digital business.

“We do not have a mobile optimized site yet, but it is coming soon,” he said. “Seventy-five percent of users coming to the Web site via mobile are coming from the iPhone or iPod touch, so an iPhone app is part of our multichannel strategy.

“While right now mobile users account for only 0.5 percent of online revenue, it is growing a lot, so it’s taking us to the next steps, and we’re optimizing it to make a mobile-friendly site.”

Omniture reported that Steve Madden’s non-optimized site received 55,000 visitors from mobile devices in the month of February, reached 315,000 mobile views and drove 450 actual purchases.

Just think how much those numbers could be boosted by a mobile-optimized commerce site and a mobile advertising campaign driving traffic to it.

Google reported that 38 percent of iPhone users who visited Steve Madden’s site typed in the URL directly, 29 percent searched for it using Google while emails drove 9 percent of mobile traffic from iPhone users.

We’re seeing big growth trend in mobile browsing,” Mr. Horowitz said. “A lot of things come into play to make sure the user experience on a mobile device is fantastic.”

Brand with a plan
Steve Madden’s WAP site will feature a homepage, initially offering free shipping, women’s categories and a best-sellers portal.

In addition to models wearing the footwear on the homepage, the site will feature product images from multiple angles.

The site will also feature product information, including inventory lookup, pricing and consumer recommendations.

Consumers can either add items to a shopping cart or share favorites via email, Facebook or Twitter.
There is also click-to-call functionality if a consumer prefers to speak to a salesperson.

A key feature for all retailers is a store locator, and the Steve Madden mobile will in fact help consumers find the nearest store, providing directions and mapping.

Steve Madden plans to cover all of its bases: SMS, MMS, click-to-call, a WAP site, applications and even Bluetooth.

Mr. Horowitz discussed mobile’s potential to activate traditional media. For example, a Steve Madden billboard with a mobile call-to-action could encourage consumers to text in to participate in a promotion or receive store information via SMS, or get product images via MMS.

In the future, Mr. Horowitz thinks technology such as mobile bar codes and mobile wallets will enable retailers to close the loop with less of a need for in-store employees.

Tactics Steve Madden is considering include SMS offers and coupons, mobile search ads, mobile Web display ads and in-app display ads.

Mr. Horowitz concluded by sharing key takeaway the brand has learned:
•  Have a clear vision for mobile and what it can mean for your business.
•  Keep it simple and get started.
•  Focus on where the best value can be achieved.
•  Get the core platform right first.
•  Layer in applications that complement the brand and business objectives.
•  Deploy marketing and advertising plans which utilize existing and direct mobile channels.

“Mobile is about connecting, forming a one-to-one relationship with consumers that is not anonymous,” said Gary Schwartz, president/CEO of Impact Mobile, Toronto, Ontario. “Our approach to retail is that you need reach and frequency, and mobile apps may not have the reach or conversion you require.

“For reach, you need to look at SMS and the mobile Web,” he said. “Text messaging and the mobile Internet is driving media growth, usage and penetration—the primary usage of the phone consistent across smartphones and feature phones is text messaging.

“It’s not about mobile for you as a brand, it’s about understanding your consumer, who is text messaging and using the mobile Web—you want to be part of your audience’s communication channels.”

The third panelist estimated that SMS is compatible with roughly 90-98 percent of the handsets currently in the market.

“SMS creates interactivity with other media, and it may not be sexy, but it really works,” said Michael Becker, San Francisco-based founder and vice president of strategy at iLoop Mobile and managing director of North America at the Mobile Marketing Association. “The key thing to think about when getting engaged with mobile is that it’s not mobile marketing, it’s marketing, using the tool of mobile to interact with your audience.

“Tie mobile in to all of your marketing initiatives to make traditional media interactive,” he said. “There are about eight different paths through mobile: SMS, MMS, voice, Bluetooth, bar codes, mobile Web, apps and content.

“Each path is unique, with different technology, standards and best practices to interact and engage with those audiences, but whatever paths you take, it’s important to leverage mobile channels throughout your entire marketing strategy.”