Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
The Wet Seal, an apparel retailer catering to young women, has launched a mobile-optimized version of its e-commerce site, and mass merchant Overstock.com has introduced a fully transactional iPhone app.
A good number of retailers selling through mobile phones operate both an m-commerce site and app—add The Wet Seal and Overstock.com Inc. to the list of retailers going big in the small channel.
The Wet Seal`s demographic is 15- to 25-year-old females, the kind of consumer who is connected to her mobile phone 24/7. That makes mobile commerce a good bet, and Wet Seal has expanded its mobile offerings to exploit the opportunity.
In its latest move, the multichannel retailer has launched a mobile-optimized version of its e-commerce site; consumers enter the e-commerce URL on a mobile phone 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. "Also, from our web data we see customers migrating to accessing our site via mobile phones."
M-commerce technology vendor Digby built the site, which enables consumers to browse, search and buy products.
Shift to the iPhone
Meanwhile, Overstock.com has unveiled a fully transactional iPhone app designed to reach out to the ever-increasing number of iPhone users coming to its e-commerce site. The app expands the e-retailer`s mobile channel, which includes an 18-month-old m-commerce site, Mobile.Overstock.com, and a text messaging program.
"It`s clear that mobile apps are not fringe and not a fad, and that their use is going to expand," says CEO Patrick Byrne. "To be a contender in mobile commerce you have to have an app."
Overstock.com`s app, built in-house, features large graphical pages, shop by department, product detail pages with links to product descriptions and customer reviews, and the ability to e-mail product pages to friends. The checkout process is sped along by enabling registered Overstock.com customers to log in using their e-commerce credentials so they can use payment and shipping information stored in their accounts.
The highlight of the app, though, Overstock says, is its Lott-O lottery game. The game displays a screen that is completely gray and resembles the surface of a scratch-off instant lottery ticket. A mobile shopper wipes his finger across the screen to "scratch" away the surface to see if he won a prize. The e-retailer says shoppers are almost certain to at least win free shipping, and some will receive discounts. Shoppers can play Lott-O once a day.