December 6, 2010, 10:02 AM

Urban Outfitters ranks No. 1 among mobile gift centers

More retailers are offering mobile gift hubs as the holidays approach, new study finds.

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The merchant has the No. 1 mobile gift center, according to The E-tailing Group.

A recent study of 50 m-commerce sites by online retail consultancy The E-tailing Group finds 42%, or 21, offer a relatively new phenomenon: a mobile gift center. As the holidays approach, more retailers are eyeing sales potential in adding this tool—which many have on their e-commerce sites—to mobile sites as well. In Q3, only a few months earlier, just 30%, or 15, offered mobile gift centers.

The E-tailing Group recently analyzed the retailers with mobile gift centers in Q4 and rated them on visual appeal and advanced search and filtering tools. It also looked to see if gift cards or certificates are offered in the centers.

Urban Outfitters Inc. nabs the No. 1 prize for the best mobile gift center, according The E-tailing Group. The center serves its young demographic well, focusing on price and creativity with categories like Cheap Thrills, Stocking Stuffers and Gifts Under $50, the firm says. Urban Outfitters features gift cards twice, in the gift center home in an oval that features the various categories, as well as at the bottom of the gift center pages where an image of the card is shown. The hub also offers nine personas based on the recipient that a giver can choose from, including fun categories like Party Girl and the The Dude.

Walgreen Co. also scores well, but falls a bit short in one essential area, the consulting firm says. Pros for the mobile gift center include an effective layout with categories including gender and imaginative groupings like Romantic and EcoFriendly presented as graphic tags on gift packaging. The center also offers links that take the shopper back to either the Walgreens seasonal area or home page. However, the center does not offer links to purchase gift cards.

Overstock.com Inc. rated high, too, taking a basic streamlined approach by alphabetizing its gifts, but also offering merchandising such as Best Sellers and a Gift of the Day. Users who don’t want to scroll the entire alphabet can search within a category, choosing topics like Gourmet Food or Jewelry & Watches or browse by recipient such as Bride or Pet.

“Savvy merchants are investing in merchandising gift centers, adopting the best of the web and marrying it to the streamlined user interface demands of the mobile device,” says Lauren Freedman, president of the E-tailing Group. “This is the combination that will resonate with shoppers this holiday season.”

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