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Urban Outfitters bolsters holiday sales via targeted mobile campaign

The Urban Outfitters ads are running inside the Gothamist mobile site. With the end of holiday shopping right around the corner, savvy retailers are increasingly relying on mobile to drive users online and to bricks-and-mortar stores.

“Location is definitely one aspect to consider while targeting consumers on their mobile phones,” said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

“However, it should not be the only criterion used to target consumers,” he said.

“The verdict is still out, but the latest reports with percentage numbers of false banner ad clicks on smartphones suggest banner designs must be adjusted to minimize this issue. Using bigger mobile ad units is one way to do that. However, I do believe something more needs to be done to really adjust mobile banner ad performance to align with customer behavior on mobile phones. Extending online approach to mobile is not the answer consumers are looking for.”

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with Urban Outfitters. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Urban Outfitters did not respond to press inquiries.

Urban shopping
The ads appear at the top of as a large box.

Creative for the ad unit includes copy that reads, “We got gifts! Shop your local NYC store.”

When users tap on the ad, they are directed to the Urban Outfitters mobile site and automatically asked if it is OK to use their built-in GPS to find the nearest store.

From there, a list of nearby stores loads that shows store contact information. Users can find directions or call a store directly from the mobile site.

Consumers can also shop by category, read product reviews, sign up for email newsletters and check-out from the mobile site. Users can also “Like” specific products via Facebook or pin items to Pinterest boards.

Targeted campaign
Urban Outfitters has steadily been building up its mobile repertoire over the past few years.

Most recently, the brand plastered calls-to-action over its print catalogs to educate consumers about its mobile site and applications (see story).

The company has also rolled out in-store iPads and iPod touch devices to help shoppers navigate the in-store experience.

As retailers become savvier with mobile, mobile advertising campaigns are increasingly becoming more sophisticated and contextually relevant.

In this case, Urban Outfitters is able to target a specific group of holiday shoppers in New York, which gives users an incentive to click on a mobile ad.

Additionally, by using both location and commerce, the ad gives users options on how they want to shop.

Even though mobile commerce continues to grow, many users rely on their mobile devices for navigation, presenting retailers a large opportunity to incorporate location into their campaigns.

“Mobile commerce has different challenges from ecommerce because of the differences in how consumers interact with PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones,” Mr. Kolodziej said.

“Driving traffic to commerce-enabled mobile sites is one thing, but making the buying experience intuitive and quick for people on the go still needs improvement and we are definitely not there,” he said.

“Consumers making purchases from their tablets are not the same as consumers who are willing to buy from their smartphones. Most brands still need to adjust their mobile commerce strategy to account for it.”

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