Teens targeted with cellphone-based marketing
Eager to connect with teen and twentysomething
shoppers, retailers are focusing on the mobile devices
that are never far from their hands — or ears.
"They are the early adopters and the influencers,"
Roman Tsunder says of teens targeted by cellphone
marketing campaigns from his company, Access 360 Media.
"The youth markets will show adults how it's done."
Technology designed to influence teen behavior should
be "cool to use and add functionality," says Dan Butler,
a National Retail Federation vice president. "Younger
generations may certainly drive the utilization of these
technologies. They'll take the time to learn a new
technology because they automatically get the coolness
Among the latest teen-focused shopping tech:
•An interactive dressing room mirror developed by
IconNicholson that streams high-definition video of
shoppers modeling clothes to their friends' computers or
mobile devices. It made its first appearance in a retail
store last week, in the Nanette Lepore department at the
Manhattan Bloomingdale's. The mirror allows the friends
to comment on a shopper's outfits and to select other
clothes for her to try.
•GPShopper, an Internet-style search engine that lets
shoppers search a chain's entire inventory. Retailers
using the service include Best Buy, Toys R Us and Sports
Authority. Consumers can text-message the service to
find out if an item is in stock at a nearby store. The
service is free to consumers with mobile phone plans
that don't charge extra for data service.
GPShopper CEO Alex Muller says early research found
teens wanted all the information sent immediately: "They
don't expect to have to make a call."
•Coupons that go to shoppers' cellphones. Tsunder,
CEO of Access 360 Media, says a holiday coupon campaign
for retailers including f.y.e. saw redemption rates of
about 40% compared with less than 2% for many print or
online coupon campaigns. Shoppers text a code found on
store signs to get the coupon, then show it displayed on
their phone at checkout.
Tsunder likes cellphones for marketing because
they're permission-based. Consumers simply message back
"stop" if they don't want messages or coupons.
Tsunder's campaigns also include in-store TV programs
featuring hip young celebrities and the store's
products. Often, the celebrity will ask customers to
enter contests, which they can do by text-messaging. It
saves the customer time, and the retailer has access to
a cellphone number for marketing or research.
"This generation was brought up on the Internet,"
Muller says. "We're giving them the same capability on
another device they feel quite comfortable with — their
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