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Free People finds synergy between music festivals and push notifications

Urban Outfitters Inc.’s bohemian apparel brand Free People knows how to effectively time push notifications to drive sales for current collections available on its application.

Music festival season is approaching, so the brand is currently promoting its new line, Go Your Own Way, marketed specifically for festival wear. As tickets start to go on sale, concertgoers are also planning their outfits. That makes this a perfect time for Free People to send out push notifications and promote its mobile-optimized lookbook, but the notifications must not be too intrusive.

“This sounds like it was a call to action, which is core to any marketing message,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, Miami, FL. “Calls to action always drive sales, as long as you’re not doing the moral equivalent of crying wolf.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is be ignored,” she said.

All of the efforts from Free People encompass its name. The brand knows its bohemian-type consumer is free-spirited, always on the go and all its marketing strategies play to this, especially when it comes to mobile.

Timing is everything
Free People and music festivals attract the same type of demographic. Women fans of these events also see this as a fashion opportunity.

One of the largest annual music and art festivals in the United States is Coachella, located a couple hours outside of the Los Angeles area and in the Greater Palm Springs area. The event is known for its large celebrity presence due to its proximity to Hollywood and is widely covered in media.

Concertgoer fashion is a large focus of the media coverage on Coachella and brands such as Free People jump on board with this attempting to drive sales.

Coachella takes place April 17-19.

Free spirit shopping
The images showcased on Free People’s app are hi-res and designed to appeal to its consumer. The lookbook featured on mobile and digital is accessible with ease.

Users are able to follow an efficient path to shop and view the lookbook from the moment the push notification is sent. If the experience is not optimal, then consumers will not engage.

Pictures from the lookbook are featured at the top of the Go Your Own Way page of the app. These photos encompass the Free People woman and each piece has multiple images showcases different ways to style.

Users can scroll through the page and order items they want. There is also a favorite button on the images so she can save her favorite pieces for future purchase.

Fans of the brand can upload their own pictures to the app and tag items in the pictures. Other users can scroll through these photos and shop the looks showed.

This feature named Style Pics 101 operates as its social media entity. It includes the hashtag #FPgoyourownway with the picture and when clicked on brings users to the page to shop the line.

The posts are largely from Free People rather than shoppers.

Last November, Free People turned around dropping mobile Web conversions and page views with a revamped site boasting bigger and more visuals, off-screen navigation and a streamlined checkout while simultaneously reducing code volume to minimize the impact on performance (see more).

The brand should also look into furthering developing its mobile strategy with wearables. A Mindshare executive at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference said the rise in popularity of wearables creates an opportunity for marketers to send targeted and informative push notifications that will form loyal users (see more).

Although Free People’s fan base is largely on their phones the mobile-optimized lookbook may work best in tablet form.

“It depends on the form factor [for mobile lookbooks],” Ms. Rosenblum said. “For a phone, not so much but for a tablet, absolutely there is lots of value.

“For one thing, the screen resolution is often better than on a computer, and for another, tablets are on the rise.  Think of them as a coffee table catalog at the retailer’s and consumer’s disposal 24/7.”

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York