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Gap attributes tripled online conversions to mobile commerce

Specialty retailer Gap Inc. claims that the increase in shopping on its mobile site is one of the major reasons why it has tripled its online conversions in the last year. 

At its annual investor meeting this week, Gap pointed to the important role that mobile plays for the company, saying that online conversion rate lifts can also be attributed to the company?s new mobile commerce platform. This follows other recent mobile initiatives from the company including targeted mobile ads and a television tie-in for mobile.

?Mobile in specialty retail has a ton of potential, particularly as part of the in-store shopping experience,? said Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research, Miami.

?A mobile strategy in specialty needs to include the ability to access product information ? so that consumers can see content related to products,? she said.

?Specialty retailers in particular have a lot to say about their products and have more content available than a lot of other retailers that are pushing national brands ? but a lot of that content never makes it to the shopper in the store. Mobile brings that content into the store.?

Ms. Baird is not affiliated with Gap and spoke as someone with experience in the retail space.

Mobile experience
During the annual meeting with investors, Gap said that it its online business is growing and pointed to mobile as one of the contributing factors.

Gap expects the online division to hit $1.5 billion in revenue by the end of this year and $2 billion in revenue by the end of 2014. It expects online sales will make up about 30 percent of overall sales by the end of 2013.

The new Gap mobile commerce platform was introduced earlier this year with the goal of making it easy to shop Gap and any of its brands via mobile.

Other Gap brands include Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta and Piperlime.

Product images and other images feature prominently on the mobile site, with users able to easily swipe through a variety of images.

There is a store locator that uses GPS to let you know where there nearest store is.

Users can also find all the same categories they do on the Gap Web site. When users click on a category, they can browse new arrivals and other subcategories.

When users tap on an item, they can zoom in to see more details, view product reviews and see additional product details.

The new mobile site is just one of the ways that Gap is incorporating mobile into its marketing strategy.

Gap recently promoted its new fall collection and engaged television fans via a new mobile incentive that rewards users when they check-in to their favorite shows (see story).

Also, Old Navy is using targeted mobile ads that lead consumers to the company?s optimized site where they can shop the latest items (see story).

Additionally, Gap is driving consumers to its locations through mobile promotions for its Los Angeles 1969 collection that help fashion-savvy shoppers find the perfect denim for any occasion (see story).

Overall, mcommerce grew by 25 percent in the six months prior to June according to Forrester Research. This is faster than any other mobile channel.

However, despite these numbers, many specialty retailers do not have a mobile strategy. According to Forrester, 43 percent of online retailers have not defined a mobile strategy.

Gap?s experience shows that having a well-thought out mobile strategy can produce results.

Retailers also need to make sure they are finding all the ways that mobile can enhance the shopping experience, including by helping them find what they are looking for.

?Particularly with fashion specialty, there is a save the sale option that mobile can be a platform for ? where if the right color or size isn't available, rather than standing in line at the register or flagging down a store associate, a consumer can buy the right size or color right from their phone and have it shipped to their house,? Ms. Baird said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York