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Mobile experiences must be fundamentally different

Ten years ago, brands and retailers began their trek towards ecommerce, and solutions were executed fairly similarly across the board. Ten years later, brands are venturing into mobile possibilities, but former Diesel executive Scott Lux, QVC’s Alex Miller and Rue21’s Brett Trent believe they should be thinking strategically as a consumer and building a platform based on that knowledge for the best chance to integrate fully into mobile and social.

“We have made huge organization changes because our company is not a one way channel but a two way channel,” said Brett Trent, the soon-to-be senior vice president of digital retail at Rue21, Pittsburgh. “Customers are talking to us in unique ways, and we’ve had to build a formal structure in order to respond to them.”

Two-way channel
Social has become a very informal conversation between customers’ most hated or most loved brands, providing sometimes harsh and sometimes very useful information for organizations to receive.

“Sometimes our customer feedback gives us great ideas and sometimes it’s a reality check for us, which makes us respond immediately and work to fix the issue,” said Alex Miller, senior vice president of digital commerce at QVC, Philadelphia.

“Our customers were going to social to talk to us, so we quickly got our teams together to be responsive in real time. We have many parts in our organization involved to answer questions where they are relevant to respond in nontraditional ways.”

This new way of communication between brands and consumers have initiated complete internal renovations, which has further forced the brand to listen to what the customer wants rather than developing innovations that the brand believes will work.

“We’ve made organizational changes to put the customer first, rather than doing what we think the customer might like,” said Scott Lux, former vice president of ecommerce and multichannel strategy at Diesel USA, New York.

Mr. Lux has since moved on to be the chief marketing officer at online charity auctioneer Charitybuzz.

Web responsive, not enough
Mr. Trent introduced an unfamiliar acronym STS, meaning Straight To Smartphone, during the panel.

He stressed the issue that Web responsive is not enough for brands to rely on regarding mobile presence.

“Whether we like it or not, consumers are going straight to their smart phones,” Mr. Trent said. “Those experiences must be completely different because mobile is fundamentally different. It’s not just in-store in a small format.”

Trends in technology are often unique. For example, among the many photo filter apps in existence, Instagram has been the sole platform to truly survive. While predicting and executing a successful solution for Millennials to adopt can be practically impossible, marketers are forced to choose wisely from floating trends to most appeal to consumers.

“There is no one solution,” Mr. Miller said. “Web responsive isn’t the entire answer and neither is an app.

“The ability to really understand the context at what the customer is looking for, through deep linking and considering the appropriate content and screen size, is key, but it’s not an overnight solution.

“We started investing in mobile in 2007, and if we hadn’t started then, I don’t think we’d be in the right position now. We must always keep in mind the customer’s mindset.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York