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Lane Bryant debuts first mobile initiative to drive sales

Lane Bryant, the plus-sized women's retailer, tapped mobile to establish connections with its customers and develop deeper brand loyalty.

The retailer was looking for a different and effective way to reach consumers and to ensure that its brand was always in their consciousness. Lane Bryant turned to mobile marketing firm SmartReply.

"Retailers are increasingly turning to the mobile channel to reach consumers because it is an uncluttered environment and a permanent connection with your best customers," said Dan Jones, vice president of sales at SmartReply, Irvine, CA. "People change email addresses and even landlines, but your cell phone is an identifier for life."

The campaign's test period generated approximately 16,000 subscribers, which was enough to get Lane Bryant to agree to launch a mobile campaign for the very first time.

The 16,000 subscribers from the test period were the target audience (women 18-34) for the actual campaign.

SmartReply worked to develop a micro site, an IVR opt-in channel, a short code for mobile opt-in, message creation, back-end support and database development for the campaign.

The "LB MSG ME!" campaign consisted of bimonthly text-message offers, after the initial double-opt-in process.

Incentives included a discount offer. There was also an opt-out option.

The messages included a coupon code in the body, which consumers could use for redemption at checkout, either in-store or online, depending on the message.

The message that consumers received said, "LB MSG ME! 15% off ur online purchase 7/23 - 8/5/08. Enter cde XXXXXXXX at chkout. Exclus apply. C site 4 dets. 2 opt out, rply STOPLB or call 888-479-6514."

There were three specific avenues that a consumer could use to initiate the process of opting in: IVR (voice), SMS (text message) and the micro site (Internet).

Interested users had to respond affirmatively to the initial text message to receive the first coupon.

Lane Bryant advertised the SMS option in its direct mail and email programs, driving more consumers to opt-in to receive promotional messages.

Consumers who opted-in are committed to the Lane Bryant brand and therefore have a much higher value.

"For any retailer, it is important to give consumers something different and unique that they are not getting from any other marketing vehicle," Mr. Jones said. "Giving the same offer to mobile consumers as you are placing in grocery store circulars isn't the way to go.

"If you give something different it will stay fresh and compelling," he said. "Also retailers have to understand that it's not just about giving a discount. Alerts for new products will work too.

"Leveraging the SmartReply mobile network, consumers are already interacting with stuff on their cell phones and the fact that people are becoming harder and harder to reach makes mobile a great way to do so. Push media isn't the same anymore and mobile is a brand new way to engage with consumers."