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Lord & Taylor exec: Beacons more cost-effective for testing mobile payments

The comments were made at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2014, where the executive discussed how Lord & Taylor is leveraging beacons. The retailer has been testing beacons through iBeacon mobile marketing platform Swirl, and has utilized couponing app SnipSnap to offer mobile coupons to its dedicated customers.

“IOS 8 is impressive,” said Ryan Craver, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Hudson Bay Co.’s Lord & Taylor, New York. “Apple surprised me with its reversion back to NFC.

“I have viewed beacons as some type of way to integrate mobile payments, because you have to take all these point-of-sale terminals and upgrade them to NFC. It’s very costly, and I felt like this was a more priced way to figure out if there is an interest in mobile pay.”

Mobile Marketer organized the Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2014.

Forward, upward
Given Lord & Taylor’s long established bricks-and-mortar presence, the retailer is constantly looking for ways to modernize the experience both in-store and on its apps, and in particular, by the combination of the two.

Lord & Taylor has activated deployments of beacons through five apps, including couponing, lifestyle and media, whom all have garnered between three to 70 million downloads. Approximately 10 store locations across the U.S. and Canada contain beacons that contain six to eight experiences each.

The experiences include style tips, exclusive content and unique coupons. The team is currently examining other innovations such as social checkout.

Lord & Taylor’s use of coupons through SnipSnap involve the unique use of mystery coupons, that mimic physical scratch-off coupons, and consumers can swipe to scratch to reveal an original coupon specifically offered to them.

The retailer’s use of push notifications has the marketing team believing that the technology itself will continue to develop, and may perhaps offer direct search, live chat and mobile pay capabilities.

Beacons in use
This summer, Lord & Taylor partnered with brands such as Michael Kors and Alex and Ani to deliver content and offers to in-store shoppers via iBeacon technology on their smartphones when they were nearby different departments.

The multi-category, multi-floor beacon deployment represented the most ambitious application of beacon marketing in the retail industry to date, according to Swirl, which provided the marketing platform upon which the program is built. When the program went live, the retailer was able to connect with users of mobile coupon application SnipSnap when they were inside five Lord & Taylor stores (see story).

In early 2014, Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay department stores leveraged a mobile application to enable customers to purchase items directly from print media via their tablets and smartphones.

Customers who downloaded the Pounce app and scan items appearing in the retailers’ print circulars, direct mail and ads were able to purchase the items in just a few clicks. With print media still an important marketing channel for merchants, the strategy was designed to meet the needs of smartphone-wielding consumers who want to purchase instantly (see story).

As Lord & Taylor continues to push forward, the backing of the rest of its organization will be crucial, along with the fearlessness to test new innovations.

“We will continue to evaluate the new iOS 8 and the upcoming Android update to see what makes sense for us,” Mr. Craver said. “The great thing for us now is we’ve got the entire organization plotting towards digital to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”

Final Take
Ryan Craver is senior vice president of corporate strategy at Hudson Bay Co.’s Lord & Taylor, New York