Growing Power of Mobile 

M-commerce on the rise at Kenneth Cole and Steve Madden

Not in the mobile space yet? What are you waiting for? That was the underlying message that came out of the Mobile Shopping Summit held in New York City in October. 

Kenneth Cole: “Basically, you have a year to get in the game,” said Tom Davis, VP e-commerce, Kenneth Cole Productions, New York City, in a presentation at the conference. “By 2015, more people will access the Web globally through smartphones than laptops and desktops combined.” 

Davis stressed that for Kenneth Cole and other lifestyle brand retailers, it is critical that all channels — stores, Web site and mobile — offer a consistent brand image. 

“It’s all about the cross-channel experience,” he said. “And that experience should be similar, no matter how anyone touches our brand.” 

Mobile devices are responsible for 10% of Kenneth Cole’s Web traffic, and 4% of the company’s business comes through its commerce-enabled mobile site (as of October). But Davis expects the figures to rise substantially going forward.

“We’re expecting an incredible spike in mobile traffic and sales during the holidays,” he said. “We think that in one year, this form factor will be bigger than some of our standalone stores. This [mobile investment] is an easy business case scenario to make to a CFO.” 

The mobile space is rapidly evolving. One big change to look out for, according to Davis, is the introduction of HTML5 to mobile sites. The new Internet markup language is expected to enable mobile sites to do things that, until now, only mobile apps could do, and result in greatly enhanced site performance. 

Steve Madden: Steve Madden is also experiencing rapid growth in its mobile site. In April, 4.4% of the footwear brand’s total online traffic was coming from mobile devices. By the end of October, the figure had risen to 10.5%. The average time spent on Steve Madden’s mobile site is just under 7 mins. 

“In the last six months, we’ve had 880,000 people visit our mobile site,” said Andrew Koven, president, e-commerce and customer experience, Steve Madden, at the Mobile Shopping Summit. “The idea that our mobile site is reaching 10.5% of our total traffic and has had 250% growth in traffic over six months is pretty powerful.”

The site also is generating revenue, bringing in slightly more than half a million dollars in revenue from April through October.

Koven advised retailers to make their mobile sites brand-consistent and efficient. 

“Efficiency is key,” he said. “We see fewer pages being looked at on mobile. The average number of page views on our website is seven. On mobile, it’s four to five pages, which means the mobile experience has to be very efficient. It should also be simple to use.”

In addition to speed and efficiency, personalized and localized information and targeted promotions are critical to the mobile experience. Consumers can opt-in to receive timely and relevant news, sales promotions and exclusive Steve Madden content directly on their mobile phones. 

The site recently went live with a feature that allows consumers to identify inventory in stores based on location, select products based on size and color, find the distance to the nearest retail location and get directions via Google Maps.

“We think [the inventory feature] will be exponentially significant in the fourth quarter,” Koven said. “It’s all about: ‘I want it now. Where is it?’ ” 

Steve Madden is also focused on making mobile fun, engaging and social. Increasingly, customers want to share their personal experiences, product recommendations and ideas about Steve Madden products, Koven said. Allowing them to do it from their mobile devices provides a convenient solution. The brand has integrated Facebook’s “Like” feature into its mobile site. 

“Mobile can enhance engagement with customers,” Koven stressed.

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