In an attempt to remove the “friction” from their omni-channeling retail strategy, Lord & Taylor has deployed an app that bridges the gap from mobile phone to virtual cart.
The app, according to CIO’s Mary K. Pratt, “allows customers to scan print pictures with their mobile phones and then buy the items immediately, without having to visit a Lord & Taylor website.”
Ryan Craver, senior vice president of corporate strategy at HBC [Lord & Taylor’s parent company], says “the ability to engage customers who are interested in what they see in ads is imperative in this digital age,” Pratt explains.
“The mobile purchasing capability lets customers follow through instantly when they see something intriguing while paging through the newspaper or an ad circular. Ordinarily, customers may put off purchasing the item until they are in front of a computer or in a store — increasing the risk that a retailer will lose a sale,” Pratt writes, quoting Craver.
It’s an innovative idea, and solves one of the current problems marketers have in getting people to click through from an ad to a website, according to Forrester Research analyst Julie Ask.
“We know with the mobile phone, to get someone to look through a website is hard. This is one thing that can remove a little bit of that friction,” Ask says.
And it seems to be working.
According to Craver, “About 40 percent of the people who downloaded the app scanned an item in a print ad right away.” The typical user, according to Craver, scans seven products each time they use the application.
The process depends on a close working relationship between HBC and Pounce, the app’s developer, to allow the printed ads to tie in successfully with the app’s back end through image recognition technology.
The potential applications for this kind of technology are huge, and offer a new way that print can be even more relevant to advertisers and the customers they are targeting.