November 8, 2010, 3:23 PM

As customers adopt its m-commerce site, Steve Madden expands text marketing

The retailer seeks to engage in-store shoppers by putting the power in their hands.

Lead Photo

Steve Madden's m-commerce site generated more than $521,000 in sales in the last six months.

For the six months ended Oct. 25, Steve Madden’s mobile commerce site racked up $521,000 in sales. And it influenced, according to the apparel and accessories retailer that focuses on shoes, between $2.5 million and $3 million in sales online and in-store. With 880,000 visits lasting on average 7 minutes, Steve Madden’s m-commerce site is on a roll.

It’s also operated a text message marketing program aimed at better engaging customers in stores with the brand. Now, for the 2010 holiday shopping season, it’s testing different and more robust forms of text messages designed to wow its youthful shoppers.

Working with mobile marketing firm Mogreet, Steve Madden is testing in select West Coast stores a text messaging program that enables customers to receive multimedia messaging service, or MMS, messages that contain videos. For example, an in-store shopper who sees a display for the latest band Madden is promoting through its music program can text “Neon Trees” (the name of the band) to Madden’s telecommunications short code and receive a reply message containing a music video from the band.

It also will be trying out an “instant win” text program. It says it wants to play off of the festive nature of the holiday season by providing text messages that are fun and festive. Signs in select stores will encourage shoppers to send a keyword to Madden’s short code to see if they instantly win a special item. The retailer believes this style of text messaging will be more effective than a basic blanket offer of 10% off because it excites the shopper.

“This has been missing in e-mail. Text messaging offers us a fresh look at how to think about what we as brands and marketers have been challenged by, and mobile gives us a fresh start to learn based on things we have done in the past,” says Andrew Koven, president of e-commerce and customer experience at Steve Madden. “Mobile is not a tactic, it’s not the stepchild of the e-commerce business, it’s a step toward understanding highly personalized customer behavior and as a result a way to learn how to make initiatives across channels work together.”

Steve Madden also is introducing a mobile shopping assistant. Promoted on signs throughout its stores, shoppers can send brand or product keywords to the retailer’s short code and receive in return an abundance of information via MMS text message, including product videos and imagery, colors, price, real-time inventory check, and style tips.

“The days of e-mail being the primary customer relationship management tactic a retailer uses to communicate with its audience are quickly eroding, and may even end,” says James Citron, CEO of Mogreet. “People under 25 use Facebook messaging more than they use e-mail. The average teen is sending 1,500 text messages a month. If your primary way of connecting has been over e-mail, that has to change to maintain that one-to-one connection with your customer base.”

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