ECOMMERCE

Report: Steve Madden to expand mobile push

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Shoe retailer Steve Madden said it will step up its mobile efforts by rolling out a Mobile Club in the next six months that will send customers exclusive deals directly to their phones, according to a report on MediaPost News.

Andrew Koven, president of e-commerce and customer experience for Steve Madden, addressed MediaPost’s Mobile Summit in Lake Tahoe, Calif., on Friday and told attendees that it plans to tighten the link between in-store and online shopping via customers’ handsets. The company already launched a mobile-optimized site this spring.

The new Mobile Club initiative will be promoted through Steve Madden’s website and in stores and give customers the chance to earn points toward rewards that could include having a shoe named after them or going to the video shoot of one of the music artists the brand partners with to help market its shoes, handbags and accessories, the report said.

Koven said the company is sticking with text-messaging as the chief means of delivering offers and product information since it’s a common mobile format and will help Steve Madden collect user data. The company said it is holding off from utilizing mobile barcodes for now because of the lack of standardization among various emerging technologies.

Koven said the retailer will also roll out a program using its in-store TVs and signage encouraging shoppers to text to a shortcode to get more information about products worn by featured bands and artists.

It is also extending existing loyalty efforts to mobile including the ability to sign up for a birthday message from Steve Madden on Facebook or to vote on planned new shoe designs via social properties such as Facebook and Twitter.

At the same time, he stressed that the company wants to avoid alienating visitors to its brick-and-mortar stores with overly aggressive cross-promotion of its mobile offerings.

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New energy in electronics

BY CSA STAFF

Several initiatives in the electronics area announced last week should help Target narrow the competitive gap while improving customer satisfaction and minimizing returns. The company created a free service called 1-877-myTGTtech to assist customers with questions and provide technical support. A new Target Mobile offering takes advantage of a relationship with RadioShack to create in-store mobile centers that will be in 850 stores by year-end and chain-wide by 2011. The third initiative involves a trade-in offering whereby customers can return used equipment and devices and receive credits toward future purchases. The trade-in program launched in Northern California on Aug. 24, will rollout to additional stores in September and will be available in approximately 850 stores by the end of the year. Customers bring their items to the Target Mobile counter for appraisal, which can range from a few dollars up to more than $200. At the beginning of the year Target began offering a nationwide TV delivery and installation service.

Tech services and product installation go a long way toward addressing the issue of customer satisfaction and minimizing returns which directly correlate to the increasing sophistication and complexity associated with purchasing and installing a television.Frankly, the upgrades to Target’s electronics offerings and services are overdue. The company had slipped in recent years, especially relative to a company like Best Buy, but even compared with Walmart where considerable emphasis had been placed on upgrading the branded product offering and an improved customer experience.

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Former Sears exec named EVP A&P

BY CSA STAFF

MONTVALE, N.J. A&P has announced the appointment of Tom O’Boyle to the new position of EVP, effective immediately. In this role, Tom will be responsible for leading the merchandising, marketing, supply and logistics departments to develop a cohesive synergy between these critical functions, reporting to president and CEO Sam Martin.

Martin said, “Tom is an expert merchant with a proven track record of aligning merchandising offers with exciting marketing programs to meet customers’ needs. His appointment completes my dynamic executive management team which will lead our Company’s turnaround initiative.”

Prior to joining the A&P, O’Boyle was prresident and SVP food and drug for Sears. Before that, he was SVP merchandising and marketing for Albertson’s.

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