January 13, 2010, 12:00 AM

Wet Seal expands its mobile channel with an m-commerce site

The multichannel fashion retailer has added the site alongside its mobile app and text messaging program. “The industry is definitely moving toward mobile,” says Jon Kosoff, director of e-commerce and direct marketing.

When your demographic is 15- to 25-year-old females, the kind of consumer who is connected to her mobile phone 24/7, mobile commerce is a good bet, many experts say. That’s what The Wet Seal has concluded, and it’s expanding its mobile offerings as a result.

The multichannel retailer has launched a mobile-optimized version of its e-commerce site; consumers enter the e-commerce URL on their mobile phones and are automatically redirected to the m-commerce site. The site joins a mobile app and text messaging program.

“Our demographic is perfect for mobile. They’re on the phone all day long,” says Jon Kosoff, director of e-commerce and direct marketing for Wet Seal, No. 334 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name). “Also, from our web data we see customers migrating to accessing our site via mobile phones. We wanted to be ahead of the curve instead of behind the curve. Get the learnings early and make the modifications early. The industry is definitely moving toward mobile.”

The mobile site, built by m-commerce technology vendor Digby, enables consumers to browse, search and buy products. Keeping products up to date is a challenge, Kosoff says. But there is a solution.

“We have 2,000 different products and we are in a fast-fashion world,” he explains. “We get a product in and we typically don’t replenish it. Our inventory turns several times a year. Because we have a limited quantity we do real-time inventory checks of the products online. So we integrated that system with Digby to do a real-time database check to see if products are in stock.”

Wet Seal is committed to mobile as a sales channel and has plans to expand its app and site. “We already have a lot of ideas of what we can do. We see the future of mobile is in engaging the customer with social media and multichannel functionality,” Kosoff says. “We are already integrating a lot of the social media content in our Wet Seal iRunway iPhone App. We just introduced reserve-online functionality on our e-commerce site, and we may integrate that into our mobile site. And the other thing we believe is that mobile sites will bring all the great functionality of the online world into the in-store shopping experience.”

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