Department store chain Nordstrom is enhancing the consumer experience on its iPhone application with updates that include product sharing via SMS and user reviews.
The new functions of the app will help consumers share their opinions on Nordstrom’s products with their friends and fellow shoppers. Luxury marketers with mobile apps should continue to update them with new functions to keep the experience relevant to savvy customers.
“We launched our smartphone shopping apps back in November of 2011, and since then have been doing a lot of listening and learning from our customers to make this a better shopping tool,” said Colin Johnson, spokesman at Nordstrom, Seattle.
Trying something new:
Nordstrom chose to tweak the shopping experience on its commerce-enabled iPhone app to encourage consumers to share their opinion on products. Before the update, consumers could share their favorite items with their friends via Facebook, Twitter and email. Now, consumers can send an auto-generated text message to anyone in their contact list about a particular product.
For example, if an app user wanted to share the Chloé Vanessa bag with a friend, the text message draft would say, “Check out my latest find from Nordstrom: http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/3453967 Chloé ‘Vanessa – Medium’ Crossbody Bag.” Nordstrom looked to make it easier for consumers to browse and make purchases on the app with a few other subtle updates, per Mr. Johnson. The retailer improved the sign-in process and enhanced the performance of the app. Consumers can also shop complete looks while browsing the sections of the app such as women, men, juniors and kids.
Nordstrom launched its iPhone app in 2011 to combine commerce, customer service and cross-channel engagement. The app lets consumers buy products, curate looks, create a wish list, venture in-store for events and call customer service. Nordstrom’s smartphone app went live for iPhone users first, but was soon introduced for Android devices (see story). Since texting is important to Nordstrom’s customers, it was the next natural step in enhancing the app, per the retailer.
“Shopping, mobile and social are as aligned as the designer purse and shoes to go with the high-end dress – at least that is what my wife tells me,” said Jeff Hasen, Seattle-based mobile marketing consultant. “The shopping experience has been social for a long time,” he said. “Consumers call or text their friends for opinions, to show something off or to get those in the social network in on the sale.” In particular, the addition of sharing products via SMS will help Nordstrom reach out to potential customers who do not use Internet-enabled phones but have access to text messaging. “While we might believe that all Nordstrom shoppers carry smartphones, that certainly isn’t the case,” Mr. Hasen said. “Texting programs are inclusive, ensuring that all who want to participate can.”
Nearly six in ten cell owners used their phone inside a physical store for assistance or guidance on a purchasing decision this holiday season. In the 30 days preceding our early January 2013 survey (the final weeks of the holiday gift-giving season):
- 46% of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to call a friend or family member for advice about a purchase they were considering.
- 28% of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to look up reviews of a product to help decide if they should purchase it or not.
- 27% of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to look up the price of a product, to see if they could get a better price elsewhere.
Taken together, 58% of cell owners used their phone for at least one of these reasons, with young adults and smartphone owners leading the way — 78% of cell owners ages 18-29 and 72% of smartphone owners did at least one of these with their phones this holiday season. The 46% of cell owners who called someone for advice about a purchase represents a significant increase from the 38% of cell owners who did so during last year’s holiday shopping season.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The PSRAI January 2013 Omnibus Week 1 obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (501) and cell phone (502, including 241 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). Interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source from January 3 to 6, 2013. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ± 3.6 percentage points.
US mobile commerce (m-commerce) sales will grow 98.6% this year over 2011 to reach $20.85 billion, according to September projections by Internet Retailer. Overall, mobile commerce is expected to account for 9.2% of US e-commerce sales, up from 5.4% in 2011, driven in part by widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones.
A Javelin Strategy & Research report also released in September came to a similar conclusion (at least in dollar terms), predicting that mobile payments would hit more than $20.7 billion this year.
Internet Retailer also examines the “Mobile 400,” referring to the 400 largest e-retailers, ticketers and travel companies based on their mobile sales. The US represents the largest market of this group, surpassing Europe and Latin America. The study estimates that companies in the Mobile 400 will see US sales of $10.85 billion this year, although that projection excludes eBay on the basis of it being a retail platform rather than a retailer by definition.
Excluding eBay, the Mobile 400 will account for 52% of US m-commerce sales, unchanged from 2011.
Top 10 Merchants Grab 40% Of US Sales
The top 10 Mobile 400 merchants alone will account for 39.3% of US m-commerce sales ($8.19 billion), mostly unchanged in share from 39% ($4.1 billion) last year, demonstrating continued concentration in this area.
Amazon.com is #1 on the Mobile 400 and is projected to reach $4 billion in US mobile sales in 2012. Apple has the second highest projection ($1.17 billion) for sales of applications, music, video and e-books. Also expected to finish with strong numbers are Gilt Groupe (#13; $129.6 million) and RueLaLa.com (#19; $67.5 million). Some TV/web crossover merchants appear high on the list: QVC is expected to be 5th in US m-commerce sales this year ($350 million) and HSN.inc 14th, with $110 million in sales. ShopNBC (#26) will reach $60 million in mobile sales.
The Top 10 companies in order of rank are: Amazon.com; Apple Inc.; Marriott International Inc.; Orbitz LLC; QVC; Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Hilton Worldwide; easyJet; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts; and Expedia.
Recent research from comScore revealed that 80.6% of US smartphone users (85.9 million in total) accessed retail content on their devices during July via mobile browsers or applications, and those Mobile 400 retailers (and eBay) were strongly represented. Amazon Sites was the leading destination with 49.6 million visitors, representing 46.6% reach among the US smartphone audience. Following Amazon were eBay (32.6 million; 30.6% reach), Apple (17.7 million; 16.6% reach), Walmart (16.3 million; 15.3%), and Target (10 million; 9.4% reach).
- Internet Retailer projects that in the US, 281 retailers are on track to grow their combined mobile sales by 83.2% to $7.99 billion, from $4.36 billion last year. US mobile travel sales (from 38 companies) will grow 149.5% to $2.57 billion, and ticket companies will post a 171% increase in US sales, to $288.1 million.
- Mass merchandisers (e.g. Amazon, Walmart) will account for 63% of m-commerce sales across all markets, but only 41.1% of e-commerce sales in the Internet Retailer Top 500 guide (which ranks North American merchants by web sales).
- Across the markets studied, m-commerce trails e-commerce in some specific product categories, including food and drug (0.86% of m-commerce share vs. 2.31% for e-commerce), hardware and home improvement (0.75% vs. 2.42%), and office supplies (1.22% vs. 4.09%).
- M-commerce and e-commerce share of sales are roughly equal for computer/electronics merchants (17% and 16%, respectively) and apparel/accessories retailers (11.2% and 12.3%, respectively).
- According to the Javelin Strategy & Research report, tablets accounted for about $5 billion of mobile purchases, with consumers dishing out on average $10 more per purchase on tablets than on mobile phones.
About The Data: The Internet Retailer Mobile 400 ranks the 400 largest e-retailers, ticketers and travel. companies based on their 2012 mobile sales, breaking out nearly 80 financial, marketing and operational details on each.
Several large retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, 7-Eleven and Target, will create a mobile payment company that will allow customers to pay with smartphones.
Called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the network will be available as an app on “virtually any smartphone and will initially focus on enabling merchants to provide offers and promotions.”
Competition for mobile payment technology is heating up as large retailers, start-ups and wireless carriers and credit card companies are muscling in on the lucrative market. Worldwide mobile payment transactions will total $171.5 billion in 2012, a 62% increase from $105.9 billion last year, and could reach $617 billion by 2016, according to research firm Gartner.
Other merchants in this network include Sears; Lowe’s; CVS/pharmacy; Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster; HMSHost, an owner of hotels; grocer store chain Hy-Vee; Publix Super Markets; Shell; and Sunoco. Other retailers will be added in the coming months, the company said.
“(MCX) is uniquely qualified to offer the most comprehensive mobile payment options for consumers,” said Terry Scully, Target’s president of financial and retail services, said in a statement.
Using the app to deliver promotions and payment mechanisms will also cut “unnecessary costs” for merchants, said Mike Cook, Wal-Mart’s corporate vice president and assistant treasurer, in the statement.
The initial retailers that are part of the new company account for about $1 trillion in annual sales. More retailers are expected to join in coming months, the Irving, Tex.-based group said. The joint venture, which is looking for a new CEO, hasn’t determined a launch date.
Google and large wireless carriers are further along in their development of apps and devices that will accept smartphones at retailers’ checkouts. They rely on a technology standard called “near-field communication” (NFC) that enables radio communication between phones and other devices that are in close proximity, without touching.
Mobile payment advocates say the technology is secure and lost credit card information can be erased more quickly. But privacy experts and the Federal Communications Commission have called for more studies on the NFC technology.
Google Wallet, which was introduced last year by the software giant, is compatible with all domestic credit cards. Once its users input their card information in the Google Wallet app, they can wave their NFC-equipped phone at a contact-less reader pad, such as the ones branded by MasterCard’s PayPass and Visa’s payWave.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile are jointly launching a competitor called Isis, a digital wallet in your phone that can be swiped at retailers’ contact-less terminals. Isis will likely launch this month in Salt Lake City and Austin with national large retail chains and smaller merchants.
Starbucks also announced last week that it’ll expand pay-by-phone options by partnering with Square, a mobile payment start-up. Their initiative, to be launched this fall, will allow customers to pay with a Square app on their phones at about 7,000 company-owned Starbucks stores.
Pinterest isn’t just one of the fastest-growing social networks around. It is also driving shoppers to make purchases.
32% of online shoppers have made a purchase based on what they’ve seen on Pinterest and other image-sharing sites, according to a new survey from Bizrate Insights. These sites focus primarily on enabling consumers to select images and other content from the web, rather than posting original content as shoppers often do on sites like Facebook or Twitter. While Pinterest is the dominant image-sharing site, with 18.2 million unique visitors in March, according to web traffic measurement firm Compete.com, other sites in the category include Polyvore (which had 2.2 million unique visitors in March) and Juxtapost (13,340 unique visitors in March).
The report also found 37% of consumers have seen on image-sharing sites items they want to buy but have not. Bizrate’s report is based on a survey of 3,741 online shoppers conducted in late March. The report gave no similar data for Facebook or other social networks
The e-retailer beat out major multichannel retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.
Consumers say Amazon.com Inc. is the retailer that is most relevant to them and their shopping preferences, according to the results of a consumer survey conducted by Brodeur Partners, a communications company.
Amazon.com, No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, beat out 20 other national retailers to take the top spot. Rounding out the top five finishers in order are Target Corp. (No. 22 in the Top 500 Guide), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 6), Best Buy Co. (No. 11) and Costco Wholesale Corp. (No. 16.) More than 2,000 consumers between the ages of 18 and 65 took part in the online survey, which was conducted in November.
“Amazon.com has clearly cracked the code when it comes to being relevant to American shoppers,” says Brodeur Partners CEO Andy Coville.