Mobile-First Approach Drives Gilt.com's Digital Success
Approximately six months ago, online flash-sales retailer Gilt.com made the decision that it would be a "mobile first" company, recalled Jason John, Gilt's vice president of online, mobile and social marketing, in a session he presented at the Mcommerce Summit in New York City yesterday. In reality, the retailer's customers were forcing its hand. With more than 40 percent of its revenues now being transacted via mobile device — smartphone and tablet — and that number growing steadily year-over-year, Gilt really had no choice.
In addition, Gilt's mobile customers have proven to purchase more frequently than the brand's desktop-only customers. The vast majority of Gilt's mobile sales are occurring on its apps, John said. The retailer consistently promotes downloading its apps every chance it gets — on its website, in emails, social posts, etc. We're an app-focused business, John said.
Lessons in Mobile
John wrapped up his presentation by offering attendees some lessons Gilt has learned from its mobile program. Convenience alone isn't enough any more, he said in regards to what constitutes a successful mobile strategy. You can't just put the products and content from your desktop site onto a mobile site and consider it done. Consumers expect your mobile site and/or app to be fast, fun (gamification is now expected) and provide value that will give them a reason to come back.
Being a mobile-first company means that Gilt tests and rolls out new features and functionalities — e.g., Gilt Color, Try it On — on its mobile platforms first, then adopts what works on its desktop site. Here are some of the takeaways John left with the audience about building a successful mobile presence:
1. Design for each device. For example, take advantage of the large retina displays the iPad offers as well as the browsing nature of its users, while make site search a more prominent feature on smartphones, which offer less screen real estate to display products.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.