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Sears is 2011 Mobile Retailer of the Year

Sears has been named 2011 Mobile Retailer of the Year, the highest accolade in mobile commerce and retail. Who else won the prestigious Mobile Commerce Awards?

While there were many worthy candidates, based on the nominations received from this publication’s editorial team, Mobile Commerce Daily is convinced that Sears serves as a role model for retailers for its outstanding use of mobile. The Mobile Retailer of the Year is the most prestigious honor for smart, strategic and creative use of the mobile medium. Target won the honor in 2010 and eBay won in 2009.

“Sears gets that mobile commerce is not about the channel, but about the customer,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. “Today’s store is not just doors, shelves and escalators, but keypads, local search and appealing product display on screens, and Sears’ mobile strategy is completely reflective of how control of shopping has shifted to the customer.

“Through its 360-degree use of mobile to support not only that medium but stores and online, Sears has shown a level of maturity rare among the nation’s leading retailers,” he said. “Sears’ mobile presence is making it easier to shop with the brand, and thus prepare the retailer for 21st century retailing and marketing.”

Sears has shaped the mobile commerce and retail this year, serving as an exemplar to other retailers, financial institutions, banks and marketers transacting over mobile.

Firstly, Sears has a mobile commerce-enabled Web site and applications for various smartphone operating systems. The company communicates to its loyalists via an SMS database and engages consumers via mobile advertising.

In 2011 Sears made its out-of-home ads shoppable via a QR code initiative.

The retailer effectively tweaked its mobile site before the holiday shopping period officially began to ensure the best possible experience for mobile users. As a result, Sears saw double-digit growth in mobile sales during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Sears had the highest-ranking mobile commerce sites for Black Friday, according to the Compuware Gomez Performance Satisfaction Index.

Additionally, Sears outlined its mobile payments strategy earlier in the year, proving it is ahead of the mobile commerce curve. The company even went so far as to take its entire catalog merchandising strategy mobile via a mobile-specific catalog for its annual Tools Catalog.

Recipients of the traditional Sears Wish Book could find bar codes throughout the catalog, which could be scanned by their mobile device to view more information on items through videos and product pages, reviews or even share and buy right then and there through the mobile site.

Beyond the holiday shopping season, Sears encourages customers to take full advantage of all of the Sears Holdings applications, including Sears2go, Kmart2go, Sears Personal Shopper, mygofer2go and ManageMyLife.

To promote the apps, Sears is reaching out to customers via various social mediums, finding and connecting with them where they work and play, be it on Twitter or Facebook.

Sears is also leveraging traditional public relations efforts, targeted print, online media and various other social media to reach and resonate with consumer and trade audiences.

Also, mobile is the centerpiece of Sears’ buy-online-pickup-in-store initiative.

Sears scores on strategy, tactics, creative, execution, usability and consumer focus – all key requirements for mobile commerce and retail’s top prize.

Here are the other winners of the Mobile Commerce Awards:

Chase has been named Mobile Bank of the Year because it has a full 360-degree strategy in mobile.

Consumers can fully manage their finances on mobile, using whichever channel in mobile suits them best: SMS/MMS, apps or a mobile Web site.

Chase was the first to launch image recognition-based deposit. Instead of driving to the bank, customers can deposit checks using the Chase Mobile app.

Users just snap a picture of the front and back of an endorsed check and send it using the app.

Mobile Merchandiser of the Year: Gilt Groupe
Gilt Groupe is the Mobile Merchandiser of the Year because it ensures that mobile shoppers on its mobile apps and site have a pleasant experience finding just the right product.

Gilt Groupe understands that product presentation is what sells products. The company’s mobile merchandising techniques are helping it maximize its mobile revenue.

The company’s strategy is effective because of the way it displays groups of products rather than just individual products to create complete looks on its mobile destinations.

The company’s mobile merchandising strategy includes more than just grouping products by categories. Gilt Groupe also provides extensive product information. Its use of lifestyle images – with actual people wearing the garments – is an excellent example of consumer merchandising on the mobile Web.

Mobile Commerce Researcher of the Year: Deloitte & Touche
Deloitte & Touche is the Mobile Commerce Researcher of the Year. If anything, mobile commerce daily generates mounds of research.

Lost in the numbers is strategic insight of what all that data means to retailers looking to devise effective mobile commerce strategies.

Deloitte & Touche stands out in the crowd for translating numbers into insight. When its well-reasoned reports publish, they resonate and even set the pace for future mobile commerce progress.

The reports produced this year focused on mobile shopping, commerce, payments and other trends in the mobile commerce space.

Indeed, each report bore Deloitte’s signature recipe of highlighting the opportunities with how consumers use their mobile devices for shopping-related activities.

Deloitte gets that research is not about data, but what data should kick-start.

Mobile CRM Program of the Year: Gap’s Mobile4U
Gap’s Mobile4U program in collaboration with Visa helps the retailer deliver personalized real-time location-based discounts for the holidays and throughout the year.

In addition to its Gap Mobile4U program, Gap Inc. is also delivering offers and promotions for its Banana Republic and Old Navy retail brands.

Consumers can opt-in to the service to receive tailored discounts and promotions via SMS when qualifying transactions are made with enrolled Visa accounts.

The discounts and promotions are sent directly to consumers’ mobile devices.

Customers can redeem the offers by presenting the text message at select Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores.

Users can sign up to receive offers from the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy by going to

Mobile Commerce Program of the Year: EBay’s “When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay”
EBay’s “When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay” program is the Mobile Commerce Program of the Year. It targets on-demand consumers who prefer to shop anywhere and anytime via their mobile device.

The initiative aims to prime the market for what will be eBay’s largest mobile shopping season yet. The campaign was created by ad agency Venables Bell & Partners.

“It brings on-demand shopping to life in the palm of our customers’ hands,” said Deirdre Findlay, San Francisco-based vice president of consumer marketing at eBay.

“We’re positioning eBay as the shopping destination for customers wherever they are when a moment of shopping inspiration strikes,” she said. “The campaign showcases the ease, immediacy and innovation eBay provides through mobile.

“We’re focusing on our shopping enthusiast customers and the new reality of shopping virtually anytime, anywhere via mobile devices.”

Sears Mobile is the Mobile Commerce Web site of the Year.

The retailer effectively tweaked its mobile site before the holiday shopping period officially began to ensure the best possible experience for mobile users.

As a result, Sears saw double-digit growth in mobile sales during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Sears had the highest-ranking mobile commerce sites for Black Friday, according to the Compuware Gomez Performance Satisfaction Index.

Mobile Commerce Application of the Year: Starbucks’ mobile payment app
Starbucks’ mobile payment application is Mobile Commerce Application of the Year.

Since the beginning of the year, Starbucks has let customers pay for in-store purchases via their smartphones as part of a national program that is now available in 6,800 company-operated stores.

The Starbucks Card Mobile app lets BlackBerry and iPhone users pay for their purchases faster.

The company, which first tested mobile payments last year in several of its locations, claims that the program is the largest of its kind in the United States.

Ultimately, the app saves time for customers while offering them an easy way to pay, and earn loyalty points, from their purchases.

The app recently surpassed 26 million mobile transactions.

Mobile Commerce Technology of the Year: Google Wallet
Google Wallet has been named the Mobile Commerce Technology of the Year. It has truly changed the face of mobile commerce in 2011.

Mobile Commerce Service Provider of the Year: Usablenet
Usablenet is the Mobile Commerce Service Provider of the Year, with notable efforts such as the mobile sites for ShopNBC, Delta, British Aurways, Dell, Hilton, Lands’ End, New York Life, Hyatt, Expedia, Sprint and Nissan to its credit.

The New York-based service provider helps clients translate their PC Web experience onto mobile and is worthy of emulation.

Also, Usablenet swallows its own medicine, with effective branding, marketing and public relations outreach to constituencies including media. The company’s growing roster of clients is proof that its mobile commerce platform has found wide acceptance in the market.