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Gucci exec reveals mobile commerce app sees 600K downloads

Brand such as Estee Lauder and Gucci expressed that they have dabbed their feet in mobile and recognize that this is the direction that the luxury marketer’s strategy is heading. The future of luxury marketing follows consumer behavior.

“This year has been a global opportunity in mobile because of the penetration worldwide,” said Marisa Thalberg, vice president of global digital marketing at the Estee Lauder Companies Inc, New York. “We launched our mcommerce initiatives in Japan first and have brought it to the United States with Aveda and Mac, which both have fully shopable mobile sites.”

Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder is developing multiple applications and expressed interest in having something available for the iPad in the near future.

The mobile experience has changed and evolved over the years. Ms. Thalberg said that it has changed from SMS push notifications to its very own little marketing ecosystem with channel such as the Web, mobile applications, SMS, video, social media and more.

“Brands need to take mobile and do things that are distinctive and fit right with their strategy,” Ms. Thalberg said. “See where the appropriate first steps should be based on what you are trying to achieve.

“You don’t get a prize for checking the box that you have done it,” she said. “Doing it well is the ultimate victory.”

Eleonore Baudry, worldwide ebusiness director of Gucci, New York, talked about Gucci’s mobile strategy, which currently includes a mobile application.

Gucci made its debut on mobile last year, letting consumers view and buy limited addition products right from the palm of their hands.

Limited edition products are updated regularly through the iPhone application. Application users get push notifications when new products are made available and can click-to-call to buy a product.

With the launch of this application, IPhone users are the first to know about upcoming Gucci events, collaborations and projects through Gucci Sneak Peaks.

Users get a behind-the-scenes understanding of creative director Frida Giannini’s vision each season. 

Application users can create their own music using the Gucci Beats feature, with loops, beats, drums and vocals compiled by DJ Mark Ronson (see story).

Since its launch in October 2009, the Gucci application has been downloaded 600,000 times.

Ms. Baudry said that Gucci is currently working on a mobile-commerce enabled Web site, due to launch in the fall.

“With the application we added content that we felt added value for the Gucci experience on mobile,” Ms. Baudry said. “We are working on an iPad and a mobile-friendly site.

“The key to our multichannel strategy is to find ways to create individual and unique branded experiences so that we don’t overlap,” she said.

Vic Drabicky, director of vertical market development at Range Online Media, New York, said that when working with brands considering mobile, it is important to consider the strategy and then decide which channel within mobile will work best.

Jason Berman, senior director of brand marketing at Denihan Hospitality Group did not talk to much in terms of mobile, but he did talk about social media and how important it is in today’s day and age.

Mr. Berman said that for hospitality service providers social media helps separate the customers that are going to come in again and again and who are evangelists for a brand.

“We are not looking for consumers that are going to come in once for a deal,” he said.

Bernadine Wu, founder/CEO of FitForCommerce, New York, asked Mr. Berman what he envisions as the next phase of his luxury brand.

“For us it is about how we can use the Web [mobile and PC] to find the right customer to come back and spread the word about us to others,” Mr. Berman said. “It is a structuring of our word of mouth marketing.”