- Gap, E.l.f. Cosmetics, H&M and Kohl's are among the brands that have opened a mobile storefront for the holiday shopping season using Group Nine Media's new commerce platform. The digital publisher's Swipe.Shop mobile commerce experience is available on its NowThis, The Dodo, Popsugar, Thrillist and Seeker websites, according to an announcement.
- Gap-owned brands Old Navy and Banana Republic also have mobile storefronts, along with Batiste and UGG's Koolaburra. Group Nine has pledged that half of all products featured in Swipe.Shop will be from small business owners, while 15% will be reserved for Black-owned businesses. Group Nine will provide 20 million impressions' worth of free advertising space to 10 small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
- The media company will promote the Swipe.Shop stores among its social channels and on out-of-home (OOH) billboards and taxi tops in New York City. Categories of participating stores reflect the content of Group Nine's media brands and can help brands convert passive viewers into active shoppers.
Major brands such as Gap, E.l.f. Cosmetics, H&M and Kohl's are looking for ways to drive mobile shopping among consumers who visit Group Nine's various digital properties. By creating Swipe.Shop, the media company can help those marketers convert passive viewers into active shoppers, especially those who are most likely to avoid brick-and-mortar stores during the health crisis. With diagnosed coronavirus cases surging to record levels in the U.S., mobile offers a channel for homebound folks to buy gifts while social distancing.
While Group Nine's mobile storefronts include those from major brands, the publisher also seeks to help small- and Black-owned businesses by featuring their wares in its new Swipe.Shop experience. Those businesses are among those more likely to feel the negative effects of the pandemic as consumers either avoided stores, or state and local authorities issued lockdown orders on nonessential businesses, like clothing and gift boutiques.
Many of those smaller businesses may not have the financial resources to create their own mobile storefront or website, potentially missing out on a sales channel that's become crucial during the unusual holiday season. Small- and medium-sized businesses that sell products on Amazon's marketplace saw a 60% surge in sales to more than $3.5 billion on Prime Day, its annual shopping event that was rescheduled to mid-October because of the pandemic, the company announced. With marketplaces like Amazon or Swipe.Shop providing ready storefronts and a diverse range of consumers, brands have a lower barrier to entry that may entice them to sign up and start selling.
Amid the pandemic, 37% of U.S. adults said they're more interested in shopping on a mobile app than they were last year, while only 25% said the same thing about shopping in-store, according to a Salesforce survey.
For Group Nine, Swipe.Shop marks another step in the media company's support for the e-commerce efforts of advertisers. The digital publisher this year announced that Campbell Soup was among the first brands to test its shoppable ad format called Sparkle, a mobile-optimized platform specializing in social commerce. Sparkle features mini apps to engage consumers with a shopping experience on smartphones, letting brands support their respective e-commerce efforts among multiple online merchants such as Amazon and Walmart.