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Nordstrom exec: Mobile Web not as sticky as apps

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ ? A Nordstrom executive at the Mobile Shopping Fall Summit said that the retailer is content with consumers coming to its mobile applications and sites simply to browse as opposed to shop.

During the ?From Unknown to Known: Measuring Success in Mobile? session executives from Dolce Hotels & Resorts, Nordstrom Direct and Hotwire discussed the challenges of acquiring and analyzing data from mobile users. The panel was moderated by Gregory Kennedy, vice president of marketing at TapSense, San Francisco.

?[Mobile Web is] definitely our fastest growing platform in terms of traffic, but not as sticky, not as engaged,? said Jessica Scheibach, group product manager at Nordstrom Direct, Seattle, WA. ?On the iPhone app, we see a ton of engagement and research. Lots of product views.

?We know people aren?t buying as much on smartphones, but they?re researching,? she said. ?They may be buying on other channels. We focus on engagement. It doesn?t really matter if they buy from that channel as long as they are using it.

?On a smartphone conversion is not the only metric. It?s definitely something we look at, but engaging across touchpoints and never buying is fine. We want to you to use and love Nordstrom. You might go into a store you might not. It?s just about engaging and being in people?s lives.?

Engaging consumers
Nordstrom views mobile as a way for consumers to engage with the retailer more than as a way for consumers to actually make a purchase.

According to Jill Murray, senior digital analyst at Nordstrom Direct, the company puts in a lot of time to track these mobile consumers through their experience to further understand their behavior.

?We definitely look at engagement in mobile,? Ms. Murray said. ?We feel that that?s the tool they?re using to come to us but not necessarily to purchase. 

?We?re looking at measuring and indexing engagement on mobile,? she said. ?We?re looking at regression. We?re including on our sentiment analysis within our big data solution to be able to tie that together to what they actually do. Where do they actually buy. If their intent was to come to research or to purchase, we can follow that path all the way through even to store.?

Nordstrom is trying to enhance its analytics to really be able to address the omnichannel experience and measure across all of the different channels. To do so, Nordstrom integrates a wide variety of data using Coremetrics, Teradata, Foresee, OpinionLab, reviews and ratings.

The retailer also uses multivarient testing and A/B testing to experiment with new features and innovations.

?All that data will be in one big data house where we can then tie that together and tell a more holistic story of the customer journey,? Ms. Murray said.

?We want to be able to tie that all together,? she said. ?Rather than all these siloed views and reports. We want to be able to not just look at it by touch points but tell more of the journey.?

Logging in
Hotwire is still having trouble tracking consumers across different platforms, so for now the company is simply asking consumers to help them out. Hotwire asks customers to log into their account on a mobile device, and once they do so, they will stay logged in for a year.

This benefits the customer by providing them with a faster checkout since they can easily obtain saved personal information. However, it also helps Hotwire by allowing them to connect data from mobile and desktop for a single consumer.

This allows Hotwire to get a better picture of what its customers are doing across different channels.

Hotwire also leverages OpinionLab, Tealeaf and customer feedback to gain further insight on consumers?s behaviors.

In terms of testing, Hotwire tends to test on mobile Web first since it is more difficult to test on native apps. Once a feature is deemed successful on mobile Web, the company will port it over to the app as well.

Like other booking sites, Hotwire has realized that most of its mobile consumers book last minute stays. The company is therefore trying to cater its mobile presence more towards the last-minute booker.

?The majority of purchases are last minute, so certain features become irrelevant,? said Melissa Matross, senior director of mobile at Hotwire, San Francisco. 

?Something like hotel insurance isn?t going to mean so much to a customer if they?re buying a hotel for that night,? she said. ?Research tools become less relevant when it?s that day.

?We are looking at how to broaden that so customers can find a hotel deal and make sure that we?re going to try to improve conversion as much as possible as there?s a shift towards mobile.?

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York