Department store chain Lord & Taylor and parent company Hudson’s Bay Co. are attempting to tap into the growing consumer preference for mobile shopping through an array of in-house and third party apps. Ryan Craver, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Lord & Taylor, tells CIO Journal that working with third party app developers allows consumers to interact with the store in ways its homegrown apps don’t. But he admits that the lack of one integrated app is “definitely one of the challenges that I have.”
Roughly 50% of consumers said they prefer to use their smartphones to browse for or purchase products, according to new Deloitte LLP research. The growing preference presents a technology challenge for retailers, who must not only redesign e-commerce portals for mobile, but consider developing shopping apps that make it easier for consumers to learn more about products and purchase them. That pressure is being felt at Lord & Taylor.
“We do need to have a big presence in mobile because everyone has a mobile phone and is doing research,” or shopping with them, Mr. Craver said.
That big presence can take up a fair chunk of geographic space on a consumer’s mobile screen. U.S.-based Lord & Taylor and Canada’s Hudson’s Bay brands offer several mobile apps that let consumers search for store information, browse products and shop for merchandise from their smartphones.
Last week, Lord & Taylor began testing SnipSnap, a location-based application that sends users coupons for merchandise discounts based on their proximity to stores. When a user who has downloaded SnipSnap gets within 500 meters of a Lord & Taylor store, the app will push to their phone a “mystery coupon,” whose value a consumer will learn when they swipe their smartphone screen. The consumer can then redeem it at the store.