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The Seemingly Obvious Yet Untapped Opportunity August 29, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing, Mobile Marketing.
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I came across some tweets in my stream yesterday from one of my favorite brands: EXPRESS. They were sharing the link to a new online catalog which I eagerly clicked but since I was on iPhone, I got this:

Now in an age where we know that consumers will use their mobile device to shop, research and find recommendations, I was surprised by the message. First of all, the message is extremely unhelpful and secondly, the brand is missing a huge opportunity to help their mobile consumers and build brand engagement.

Check back often?

How often? Every 5 minutes? Every day? Every week? What is the timeline for activating the mobile version? Surely a brand like EXPRESS should have a go-live date yet they are not sharing it here. As a consumer, I am not sure what I should be doing

View now on my computer?

Ok, but what is the web address? This message is telling me what to do but is not telling me how to do it. Perhaps I am a devoted EXPRESS fan and will take the extra step to login to the first computer that I come across, navigate to their website and try to locate the catalog but what percentage of consumers are actually going to do that? I’d venture to guess not many.

The Obvious Opportunity

Can anyone else pick out the obvious opportunity here? Maybe I am thinking too much like a marketer but isn’t this one of those ideal, rarely comes around chances to get some subscribers to an opt-in list? I am fairly confident that had this message said ‘we are still working on the mobile experience for our online catalog but please enter your email and we will send you the link as soon as it’s available’, I would have subscribed.

Not only could they provide brand fans with the opportunity to subscribe to be one of the first to view the mobile version, they could continue to send me their online catalogs as soon as they become available.

The second obvious opportunity is to drive traffic to the EXPRESS website and they have made an attempt to do that by suggesting I view the catalog on my computer but, they forgot to give me the web address. Simple solution: include the web address in this message.

Rush to Completion Leaves Holes

I am going to speculate here a little (and I have to speculate because I don’t work there or know anyone who does) and suggest that because the error message provided was so canned and there is an obvious untapped opportunity, the brand rushed to completion. This happens all the time. Managers say ‘doesn’t have to be perfect, but we must get this out because we have a million things to do afterwards’.

Recognizing a fairly large percentage of mobile users will access content on their mobile device, should the brand have done the mobile version first and then the desktop if they could only do one? And why only do one version? Why not wait until everything was ready?

Perhaps their data suggested a small percentage of web visitors were using mobile devices to access their content which decided their hand.

Perhaps they were trying to out-do the competition and needed to release something in the spirit of timing.

Perhaps they really hadn’t considered this experience from a consumer’s point of view.

The way I see it is regardless of the reasoning, EXPRESS clearly wanted to get this catalog out to desktop first [fair] but they should have considered how to capitalize on the mobile audience that remains behind a gate waiting to get in.

What do you think? Should you release parts of a larger something as they are ready or wait until everything is ready to go live?

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Comments»

1. marashorr - August 29, 2011

I’m a huge fan of waiting until everything is set to launch before actually launching. I have a current client who, as we speak, are working to clean up several parts of their marketing efforts before launching additional components. I’ve working places with the opposite theory as well… but that’s never something I recommend. After all, if you’re like most people, you won’t “return soon.” You could get sidetracked, you could forget or you could be turned off by the experience altogether.

christinapappas - August 30, 2011

I agree completely but in the case that you have to get something out (most likely to beat competitors to the punch), I think you need to rely on research to tell you what should go first. In this example, I was honestly shocked that mobile was not first but may guess that because they have not done much on mobile, then perhaps desktop rules in their analytics. We can only guess. I wasnt necessarily ‘turned off’ by the experience presented, but I did say to myself ‘why on earth wouldn’t they be asking for emails at this point and why are they not telling me the web address to view the catalog on my PC?’


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