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Timex execs reveal robust mobile strategy for holidays

Watch and clock maker Timex Group has a lot planned in terms of mobile marketing this holiday season, according to two company executives.

The company has rolled out a mobile site and plans to integrate QR codes into the holiday shopping experience. Timex plans to start testing the effectiveness of mobile coupons and will also launch a mobile commerce-enabled site next year.

?The strategy behind the mobile site is to enable consumers to access detailed product information and branded content using their smartphone or other hand-held device,? said Adam Gurian, president of Timex, Middlebury, CT. ?In its first phase, this will focus on consumers at the point of purchase ? in a retail store, standing in front of the Timex display.

?The primary challenge [it addresses for consumers] is the need to get information about the watch, its features, how it is used and what other consumers who own the watch think about it,? he said.

?Typically, there is very little information available at the point of purchase, and retail clerks aren?t often knowledgeable about all the different Timex styles.?

Mobile site
Mobile Card Cast created the mobile site for Timex.

John Lim, founder/CEO of Mobile Card Cast, New York, said that with the focus for Timex being to impact consumer at point of purchase, the only solution was using the mobile Web.

The brand wanted to offer instant access to Timex products with zero barrier to entry, and it had to work on all handsets.

?Personally I believe in most cases that building an app before having a strong mobile Web presence first is a huge mistake,? Mr. Lim said. ?I am not in any way saying apps do not have their place, certain functionality requires apps, such as gaming.

?However as a brand and from a marketing and business perspective, the mobile Web is the logical first step,? he said. ?The mobile browser is the killer app on a mobile device, and all Internet-enabled handsets have at least one browser.?

By providing a rich mobile Web site, Timex can use the same URL that it has had since the inception of its online presence.

Timex launched the mobile site this week and will be introducing point-of-purchase signage and hang tags over the coming weeks.

The goal is to fully support the point-of-purchase process before the holiday season hits.

The mobile site includes both simple and advanced search and a lot of data was wired in to ensure that searches yield useful results.

The site also uses a product image presentation strategy that offers users a full product view, and a zoomed-in product view.

With the smaller screen on mobile devices, it was important to make sure that consumers could easily identify Timex products visually, in addition to identifying products based on name or type.

?We didn?t simply replicate the Web experience, we re-thought the presentation layer with the mobile consumer in mind and executed against it,? said John Packes, director of product development at Mobile Card Cast.

QR codes and coupons
Simultaneously, Timex is rolling-out a mobile tagging program that expands its use of QR codes at the point of purchase. 

Initially that will include window clings that go on the Timex sales towers to let consumers know they can access detailed product information, reviews and images. 

It will also include product tags and eventually include packaging. 

Timex is also planning tests on the direct delivery of coupons via mobile, the use of QR codes to deliver promotions and discounts and even displaying a QR code on the watches themselves and linking the consumer through to their user manuals.

Next year Timex plans to launch a separate commerce-enabled mobile site that will make it possible for consumers who are not at the point of purchase to get information and then buy directly from the brand.

The company will continue to support its current mobile shopping site so retail partners are comfortable encouraging consumers to use it at the point of purchase.

?Mobile is part of our integrated marketing communications strategy,? said Cal Crouch, director of digital marketing and ecommerce at Timex. ?For Timex, it represents one of the most effective ways of creating an intimate communication with the consumer during the shopping experience. 

?Our strategy reduces the uncertainty in the purchase decision by enabling consumers to make an informed decision about the watch they want to buy,? he said. ?Using mobile devices to access the Web is especially strong among younger consumers and early-adopters ? both audiences Timex has struggled to reach. 

?Timex is the first watch company to deliver detailed product information using mobile technology and we want these younger, more tech-savvy people to think of us as a relevant brand.?

Final take
Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily