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Express profits from extending online offers in-store via mobile

Express is doubling down on mobile in-store offers to drive sales across channels while at the same time attracting new customers.

While the retailer pushes offers through its own application and site, the retailer is seeing increasing value in promoting the offers through third-party app RetailMeNot. By tapping into RetailMeNot’s audience, Express is able to attract new consumers who otherwise would not have noticed the retailer.

“As you continue to hear the industry talking about omnichannel, one of our big goals was to prove how our digital channels drive sales,” said Amber Yeray, digital marketing manager at Express, Columbus, OH. “Extending our coupons that we have online to be valid in-stores. With RetailMeNot’s reach we thought this was the best place to start to test.

“Almost exclusively we’re with RetailMeNot to test how we can drive store sales,” she said. “We saw tremendous success. For every dollar that we see online, we see that much or more in stores, from the RetailMeNot offers.

“That made it a very successful campaign. We also see very high new customer rate coming from RetailMeNot because their reach is so large and they continue to grow their network.”

Mobile in-store
Express has invested in mobile for quite some time to drive in-store sales.

The specialty retailer offers exclusive deals through its own branded app as well as its Web site. Additionally, Express works with affiliates such as Spotzot to reach consumers.

Nonetheless, according to Ms. Yeray, RetailMeNot has been the most successful partner for the company when it comes to in-store mobile offers.

“RetailMeNot is still by far our highest in-store conversion in driving the highest in-store sales over mobile media specifically with the coupon and other partners,” Ms. Yeray said.

Most of Express’ offers in RetailMeNot are tiered, so a consumer can get $15 off a $50 purchase, for example. Express also leverages RetailMeNot to promote its overall deals that do not require a coupon or code.

For instance, on Easter or President’s Day when Express has a storewide sale, it will promote this not only on its app and site but also through RetailMeNot’s app. This brings in new customers who would not have otherwise known about the sales.

Third-party apps
Express is definitely not the only retailer leveraging third-party apps to deliver offers and deals to consumers.

Within RetailMeNot alone there are numerous brands such as Kohl’s, Target, American Eagle Outfitters, Nordstrom, Jamba Juice and Wet Seal.

There are also many RetailMeNot competitors out there as the mobile coupon app grows. There is Groupon, LivingSocial, LoyalBlocks and Ibotta, to name a few.

This makes it challenging for retailers to figure out where to invest and which app will give them the most ROI as well as new consumers (see story).

For Express, the answer has clearly been to stick with RetailMeNot, but the retailer is still leveraging other affiliates within the network.

“In general RetailMeNot is one of our highest affiliate, so even when you compare to Groupon and LivingSocial, they’ve become affiliate too,” Ms. Yeray said. “They’re more cost effective at RetailMeNot; LivingSocial and Groupon are paid per click.

“RetailMeNot is good at improving in-store conversions and new customer acquisition versus just a promotion media plan that you would do more with a Groupon or LivingSocial,” she said.

Whether it is RetailMeNot or another tactic, Express places a strong priority on mobile for all of its promotions and campaigns.

“Like most other companies, and what we’re seeing all over, mobile is becoming a higher percentage of traffic to sites,” Ms. Yeray said. “We overindex in that compared to any studies I’ve seen.

“We’re going to continue to extend our mobile campaigns,” she said. “We keep a percentage of our budget on mobile.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York