Gilt Groupe Reveals Its Success with Mobile and SocialMay 17, 2011
by Brandon Gutman
In this Brand Innovator Spotlight, Jason John, Sr. Director of Online, Mobile and Social Marketing at Gilt Groupe, explains how the brand is successfully utilizing mobile and social – and combing the two.
Brandon Gutman: What is your evidence that mobile commerce is going to be a factor this year?
Jason John: Our business model at Gilt Groupe is very conducive to the mobile experience and somewhat of a leading indicator for retailers. To get what you want during a flash sale, you need to be connected at that time, no matter where you are. Our Gilt on the Go apps have shown tremendous growth in the last 12 months, in particular during holiday/Q4 2010. We are currently seeing 15% of our revenue coming from mobile, which is a significant source of business for us and witnessing engagement metrics over and above our website.
How should retailers begin to formulate their mobile strategy?
First and foremost they need to do the research to understand how their customers are interacting with mobile (what devices they use, how they’re using them, etc.). Secondly, it is important to understand your core brand assets and how they translate into the mobile world. For instance, our iPad app for Gilt Groupe does an effective job showcasing the imagery we capture every day or how our Jetsetter app (recent Webby award winner) allows for 360 degree views of some of the most stunning vacation spots on the planet. Lastly, you need to factor in navigation differences and the importance of an intuitive interface based on the device you are targeting.
My best advice to get started is to not try and wait for the perfect mobile solution before launching. It really is a refine as you test process in order to nail down a great mobile offering.
How do you value shifting customers to mobile? Or is that cannibalizing other channels?
I consistently speak to retailers asking that question and have a similar response as I did back in 2001 about websites. Getting a customer to interact with your brand across additional channels is always additive in nature. We are seeing lifts from mobile “converters” that were similar to the lift I saw with other retailers when converting customers to online from just catalog or store shopping.
How is social media and mobile marketing interacting?
Mobile and social media are very much intertwined. At Gilt we are using social as our platform for the voice of the customer. We not only use social to get the word out on our mobile exclusives or our daily mobile deals, but we also collect and analyze responses from our customers. We are listening to their likes/dislikes which help to iterate our mobile offering. By utilizing social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we are actually building loyalty through customer service and creating a two way conversation.
What are the big trends you are watching at Gilt Groupe and what are next steps for your program?
Mobile and social – and how the two are converging are clearly on the radar. Although we are pushing innovation within these categories, we feel we are still only scratching the surface. The tablet explosion is obviously something that we track, with several of our apps taking advantage of all the key features and functionalities the tablet offers, as well as coming up with business strategies to take advantage of usage patterns and customer behavior.
Key next steps for us include a 2.0 iPhone app we hope to have available by the end of the month. Our engineering team is pushing the envelope with some cool and useful functionality. With the new app, you’ll be able to point your iPhone at a color and see what items we are selling that day that match!