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Urban Outfitters mobile-activates print catalog to drive sales

Retailer Urban Outfitters is using traditional print catalogs to drive sales on its mobile sites and applications.

Urban Outfitters has placed the mobile calls-to-action on the back of its catalog. The catalogs promote the company’s video work, mobile Web site and iOS app. The catalogs also push the retailer’s Web and social media efforts.

“The mail is a fantastic medium to reach a targeted customer base that is either already an existing customer or has the potential to be one,” said David Javitch, vice president of marketing at Scanbuy, New York.

“QR Codes can add an easy way for people to get more information on a product or even purchase a product in a few clicks,” he said.

“Additionally, a code can convert something that is fairly limited in size into a limitless digital experience.”

Mr. Javitch is not affiliated with Urban Outfitters. He commented based on his expertise in mobile bar codes. Urban Outfitters did not respond to press inquiries.

Urban Outfitters is a specialty retailer with more than 170 stores in the United States, Canada and Europe. The company also owns and operates the Anthropologie, Free People, Leifsdottir, BHLDN and Terrain brands.

Shop on mobile
The mobile calls to action are being used in Urban Outfitter’s February catalog.

The print material encourages consumers to scan a QR code that is placed above a picture of items from the retailer’s current collection.

Users who scan the QR code are taken to Urban Outfitter’s Vimeo page where they can watch a video with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the catalog.

The catalog also promotes Urban Outfitter’s commerce-enabled mobile site. Users can visit the retailer’s mobile site by typing into their device’s browser.

Urban Outfitter’s catalogs also encourage users to download the company’s app that is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The app is free to download from Apple’s App Store.

The catalogs are using mobile in conjunction with social media to promote the company’s Facebook and Twitter sites.

The catalog also lists Urban Outfitter’s Web site and uses the consumer’s address to find the nearest location.

Direct action
Urban Outfitters is not the only retailer combining mobile with social media calls-to-action on direct mail.

Bath & Body Works recently sent out a mailer with a QR code that let users “like” the company’s Facebook page (see story).

Using social media and mobile together is a smart marketing move and there is consistent research that points to social media being more intertwined with mobile than any other channel.

For example, Juniper Research recently predicted that 1.3 billion consumers will access social media via mobile by 2016, showing that handsets play a crucial role in fulfilling consumers’ need for real-time information.

The Urban Outfitters catalog promotes multiple mobile initiatives from the company and combines them in one place. By promoting both a mobile site and app, the company is able to target a larger portion of mobile users.

Although the mobile bar code is not explained to users, it does tie in with other digital efforts on the back of the catalog, helping show that mobile bar codes are growing in popularity as a way to make print content more interactive.

“Shoppers are placing digital, and now mobile, at the center of their purchasing decisions,” Mr. Javitch said.

“QR codes can be used to deliver targeted and personalized messages based on real-time metadata that will make it easier to deliver targeted messages that drive store traffic from any outside media,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York