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Rue La La exec: Multiscreen users six times more valuable than single-screen shoppers

PHILADELPHIA – A Rue La La executive at eTail East pointed to multichannel users as key to the brand’s success as more traffic, revenue and investment shifts over to mobile.

Executives from Sears, Rue La La, and TapSense spoke during the “The Mobile Investment Debate: The Pros and Cons” session. One of the key takeaways from the panelists was that as mobile becomes a bigger must-have for retailers these days, being able to differentiate experiences across screens and industries will fuel investments going forward.

“We see that a multiscreen user is six times more valuable than a single-screen user,” said Gerry McGoldrick, vice president of marketing at Rue La La, Boston.

“Getting our Web users onto mobile, they are three times valuable, is one of our major initiatives for this year,” he said.

Triggering mobile sales
Given Rue La La’s focus on multiscreen users, there are interesting findings and use cases for each type of shopper.

For example, tablet users are particularly valuable since the app was built to be a shoppable catalog.

However, acquiring these tablet users falls farther down the pipeline than smartphone users.

Rue La La sees consumers first use the mobile Web, then a smartphone app and then a tablet app.

Rue La La’s mobile efforts are specifically targeted at iOS users versus Android owners, likely because iOS users tend to be bigger shoppers.

Applications in particular play a big role for Rue La La, likely because messaging can be leveraged to trigger quick sales.

According to Mr. McGoldrick, the company’s biggest challenge is getting Web users onto the mobile app. To help with this, the brand is revamping email and the overall shopping experience to drive downloads.

Rue La La is also using in-app testing to increase conversions.

For example, by switching out a section within Rue La La’s mobile app from ‘shop now’ to ‘buy now,’ the brand saw a 35 percent increase in buyers, which is the flash sale site’s main measurement.

During the fourth-quarter of 2012, an average of 40-50 percent of Rue La La’s revenue came from mobile. This number is higher on weekends and closer to 60-70 percent.

Since then, the percentage of revenue has stayed there. The Rue La La executive believes that mobile will drive more than 60 percent of the company’s revenue in the next six months to a year.

Tracking users
According to Andy Chu, divisional vice president and general manager at Sears Holdings Corporation, Hoffman Estates, IL, loyalty is one of the best ways for bricks-and-mortar retailers to add value to mobile.

Although shopping-related traffic continues to grow on mobile, the number of conversions are far fewer.

Therefore, mobile’s opportunity is to link up all the different mediums.

For example, Sears recently rolled out curb-side checkout on its app. Consumers who have the Sears app open will be pushed a message when they cross a geofence around a store that asks them if they are interested in picking up their purchase.

However, there are also a number of challenges that mobile presents for bricks-and-mortar retailers that have sales coming in multiple ways.

Offline attribution is one that Mr. Chu pointed out.

Sears has done a number of experiments and trials to track cross-channel sales, but proving online’s impact for in-store traffic.

Additionally, certain technologies such as QR codes have not lived up their hype for Sears.

Mr. Chu said that QR code scanning has not worked from a conversion standpoint for the big box retailer.

This is likely because there are a number of hurdles involved.

Retailers have a hard enough time convincing consumers to download an app as it is. Then the consumer has to use the app to do something specific with it, which decreases the likelihood of a consumer to do it.

“There’s a number of ways that we can take advantage of mobile that aren’t mcommerce per say, it’s how we actually improve the customer experience and the channels that we are touching our customers,” Mr. Chu said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York