April 15, 2010, 11:49 AM

It’s Apples and alligators as iconic Lacoste goes mobile

A well-known alligator is looking to Apples to satisfy its hunger for a new channel. Lacoste USA, which features its iconic alligator on its collection of shirts and accessories, has launched apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Both apps enable a complete mobile commerce shopping experience, from search to browsing to buying.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

A well-known alligator is looking to Apples to satisfy its hunger for a new channel. Lacoste USA, which features its iconic alligator on its collection of shirts and accessories, has launched apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Both apps enable a complete mobile commerce shopping experience, from search to browsing to buying.

“We’re a brand that really prides ourselves on staying in the forefront of reaching consumers—we have developed a strong e-commerce business and we really want to make sure we service our customers wherever they are going,” says Steve Birkhold, CEO of Lacoste USA. “We have a very iconic product, and most of our customers already know what size they are and what they like, and mobile is the perfect place for someone to buy. And in today’s market with so many retailers and brands and products, it’s important to make the shopping experience as easy as possible. People have become so reliant on their phones, from figuring out where to go to lunch to directions to news, that this move is just a natural for us.”

Lacoste has elected to go the Apple app route for now, which is limiting as there are a growing number of other smartphones on the market. But the company believes Apple will best deliver sales in the mobile channel because it’s where it’s Lacoste's shoppers are at.

“About 80% of the products we sell are driven by men. The majority of iPhone users are men. It’s a technology that is more male-driven than some of the other smartphones,” Birkhold says. “And the age of our consumer fits well with iPhone users. We target the 18-to-35 year-old guy who is into premium/luxury brands, and he tends to be rather tech-savvy. Plus, the success of the Apple products speaks for itself. It was a natural place for us to go.”

But Lacoste will not be limiting its mobile reach for long. It’s developing an m-commerce web site that will be accessible by most phones. M-commerce sites offer this broader reach, though do not deliver experiences as rich as those of apps.

“It’s going to meet the demands of a really broad audience,” Birkhold says. “Whether it becomes the cornerstone of our mobile program, we’ll have to wait and see. Right now apps are hot; but with other devices becoming more prevalent and companies trying to develop technologies that Apple doesn’t have, statistically there are more smartphones out there that aren’t iPhones. So it’s important to have another mobile platform like a site that is not just iPhone-based.”

Lacoste used Amazon Enterprise Solutions to build the two apps, one for the iPhone and iPod Touch and the other for Apple’s new iPad. Apple is No. 5 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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