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Could smartphone-only be the future of how we shop?

Reported by Grace Howard on Aug 15, 2017 10:33:05 AM


As new statistics show that smartphone searches related to fashion retail have continued to rise throughout the second quarter of 2017, it seems that consumers are more on board than ever with the idea of shopping on their phones. Here, we take a look at some brands that are innovatively using mobile and turning it into revenue. Could smartphone-only be the future of how we shop?

Urban Outfitters: Targeted Marketing and Loyalty Incentives

Urban Outfitters has set itself apart from similar brands on the high street with its mobile app, which goes far beyond just positioning itself as an additional shopping platform. The app serves as the central platform for the company’s loyalty scheme, UO Rewards; customers can use it to keep track of their ‘progress’ (reach 100% and you get a £5 voucher) and rewards. Members can boost their progress by shopping online or through the app, or by scanning their Rewards ID (accessible through the app) in-store. As well as presenting a loyalty scheme as an incentive to download the app, there’s even more going on behind-the-scenes. Working in partnership with Appboy and PlaceIQ, Urban Outfitters leverages geographical information from app users in order to better understand their behaviour, which gives them the ability to send out more targeted marketing messages. For example, based on location data, the brand is able to identify if a user frequently goes to nightclubs – it can then go on to send them push notifications related to specific products, like evening dresses and clutch bags, that they might be interested in buying for their next night out.

Shopstyle: Reconsidering How to Sell Through Social Media

ShopStyle, a search engine for clothes, drives over $1 billion of sales to retailers per year. Alongside its website and app, it also runs ShopStyle Collective, a network of over 14,000 social influencers, who receive commission for any sales that they push on to retailers signed up with ShopStyle. It makes sense, then, that the company is constantly looking into ways of monetising social media posts. In June 2016, it launched a new concept, Emoticode, as a means of combating the ephemerality of Instagram Stories and Snapchat; with Emoticode, fashion tastemakers are able to link externally (something that isn’t currently supported by Instagram or Snapchat) to shoppable products with minimal fuss. Users who have the ShopStyle Emoticode app installed on their phones can simply screenshot any posts containing a short Emoticode next to a product, and then automatically be taken to an online store that sells the product pictured. And in its latest move to monetize social posts, ShopStyle has rolled out a feature that capitalises on the ‘swipe up’ function visible on Instagram Stories. With this function, users who  ‘swipe up’ on the stories published by members of the ShopStyle collective will be taken to a page that gives them the opportunity to buy the product pictured or save it for later. VP of product at ShopStyle, Ben Locks, explained to WWD that this new feature will work by “helping influencers to make more money, increase conversions for retailers, and make it easier for consumers to shop from Instagram Stories.”

Spring: Banking on the Personalised Touch

Spring was founded in the summer of 2014 as a mobile-only platform, and its founder Alan Tisch aimed for the app to rise to the top of the fashion e-commerce sector. While things started well (even Vogue said that the app would “change the way you shop forever”), Spring’s progress plateaued; a move to the web a year after launch seemed to dilute the appeal of Spring’s original offering: a purely mobile shopping experience. However, the company has recently overhauled its mobile app, in an attempt to encourage excitement once again. The new version of the app is all about personalisation; Spring collects customer data, and then harnesses what they’ve learnt – from browsing history and style preferences to sizing and average price point – in order to provide users with relevant, personalised product suggestions. Editorial content on the app is also tailored to individual users to aid product discovery. Spring is just one of many brands slowly clocking on to the idea of personalised shopping, and the retail industry’s interest in data is surely set to increase as the technology available to it gets smarter.

Lisa Green, Head of Industry, Fashion & Luxury Brands at Google and Aleksandra Chojnacka, Director of Business Development & Global Strategy at ShopStyle join us the panel 'Never mind mobile-first – what about smartphone onlyat the Decoded Fashion New York Summit (November 1-2). Book your ticket here.

Image Source: Shopstyle Collective Blog

Topics: Mobile Retailers, mobile shopping, Retail Store

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