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Macy’s, Belk elect mobile voting for back-to-school merchandising

A new contest from Macy’s and Seventeen magazine as well as a challenge from department store retailer Belk point to mobile polling as a significant factor in driving sales for this year’s back-to-school season.

Back-to-school is one of the biggest retail happenings of the year, and retailers are mindful to incorporate vital platforms such as mobile and social media into their strategies to effectively promote upcoming collections. Voting contests through mobile Web sites and social media are becoming more prominent during this important marketing time, which Macy’s and Belk are showcasing with their efforts to draw in consumers and entice them to engage with product-related content.

“Belk and Macys are getting it right, they understand how the intersection of two digital era memes, co-creation and incentives, drives engagement and influences sales,” said Michael Becker managing partner at mCordis. “Consumers want to be appreciated, offering them rewards and inviting them to collaborate and co-create with the brand is a perfect way of going about it.”

Mobile importance
Macy’s current promotion through Seventeen is combining mobile microsites, social media and giveaway tactics to attract consumers that are prepping for the start of the school year. Seventeen readers are invited to vote on their favorite design of three t-shirt prototypes.

Through the mobile Web site, readers vote on their favorite of three shirts to potentially be sold at Macy’s stores. The t-shirt with the most votes will be sold in stores.

Users that vote are automatically entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win the top voted shirt and $500 to shop at Macy’s, while ten others will receive the t-shirt as well.  The prize draws in consumers to the platform in which they are directly engaging with the merchandise, ultimately driving sales through product retention.

Belk is also driving back-to-school sales through a voting challenge, running until August 29.  Users access a mobile site and vote on various looks or styles depending on the particular challenge such as dorm room style, game day outfits or a night out ensemble.

Voters are also led to shop these looks online and encouraged to share the voting challenges with friends through social media. The retailer will also be introducing various other sweepstakes and contests through social media as well, to continue engaging and drawing in back-to-school shoppers.

A gallery has been created to feature the winning outfits from each challenge to further drive sales. Getting involved offers consumers a chance to win a grand prize of $1,500 gift card to Belks along with multiple Apple iPad, $50 and $15 Belk gift card giveaways.

Sweeping success
Belk continues to introduce mobile and social media giveaways and sweepstakes because it has seen significant success in these areas. For instance, its holiday campaign Santa Baby Sweepstakes saw more mobile opt-ins than its other recent campaigns, helping to drive more than 1.1 million total entries and proving which channel its customers are flocking to (see more).

For Macy’s this is also one of many mobile giveaways as well. The retailer kicked off its American Icons summer campaign with a selfie push on social media as it continues to embody the easygoing, fun-loving lifestyle of the warmer months while cementing its all-American image (see more).

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily