STORES - October 2010 - (Page 26)

MOBILE IN RETAIL / E-COMMERCE to bring your online experience to the store.” In fact, Kubo expects the convergence “to be the No. 1 game changer in crosschannel, specialty retailing.” With its focus on user-generated content, Wet Seal appears to be tapping into something bubbling up in the consumer zeitgeist. With websites like, which enable shoppers to co-create their own custom-designed shirts, and I Like My Style, which bills itself as the first user-generated fashion magazine, shoppers are increasingly taking design into their own hands. Wet Seal began to “In a fast-fashion world, if I can lay the groundwork figure out how to replenish for its mobile stratesomething even before it gets gy in 2008 when it to the store, that’s a huge launched its Fashadvantage.” – Jon Kubo, Wet Seal ion Community on both and Facebook. Fashion Community allows users to generate their own outfits by pulling products from Wet Seal’s website and Facebook, assembling them in a virtual closet and sharing their creations with Facebook friends. The retailer then linked the Fashion Community to its stores by adding kiosks where shoppers could scan an item and be presented with outfits generated by other users. Sensing it was on to something, Wet Seal decided to put nearly its entire assortment on Fashion Community. In a little less than two years, users have generated more than 50,000 outfits. “It’s much more of a strategy than a marketing campaign or event,” Kubo says. Last December, Wet Seal debuted iRunway for the iPhone, a mobile version of Fashion Community. Today, Fashion ComApps, games tied to Facebook munity generates about 20 percent of the revenue at creating buzz for teen retailer, and “people who look at our outfits have a higher average order,” Kubo says. BY BARBARA THAU Therein lies the power of social media and user-generated content: “No merchant in the world can generate that much fter a modern-day version of paper dolls advice,” he says, and there is “no [other] retailer today” whose helped launch Wet Seal into mobile retailing, stores you can enter, scan the barcode on literally any items the teen chain is betting on a new Facebook “and it will show you outfits generated by customers. We’re game to help take its business to new heights. really taking a step in going from an item-driven world to an ensemble world.” The combination of social media and user-generated merWhile eBay has recently adopted the strategy, most retailers chandise content — enabling Wet Seal devotees to play the role running similar apps offer a limited number of products, of digital fashion stylist, creating thousands of virtual outfits “which only engages you for five minutes,” Kubo says. “It’s from the retailer’s product mix — has been the one step up from putting mannequins in the Total m-commerce crux of Wet Seal’s mobile strategy to drive sales. window.” in the United States Sticking with that blueprint in its next growth tripled to phase, the retailer will offer a new mobile appliMobile/social formula cation that allows users to run a virtual store on hile driving mobile commerce sales is a between 2008 and Facebook. key strategic push for companies like 2009, and sales are Melding social media and mobile commerce Pizza Hut and 1-800-FLOWERS, “It’s a forecast to reach “is really a powerful combination,” says Jon smaller piece of the strategy for an apparel reKubo, vice president and CIO of Wet Seal. “Sotailer,” Kubo says. (Indeed, sales generated next year. (ABI Research) cial media is engaging, and mobile allows you from the phone itself are projected to be less Wet Seal of Approval A $1.2 billion $2.2 billion W 26 STORES / OCTOBER 2010 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES - October 2010

STORES - October 2010
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Customer Experience
Game Changer
Power Players
NRFtech Recap
Concept 2 Watch
Customized Shopping
Consumer Behavior
Software & Analytics
Crowd Control
Payment Fraud
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES - October 2010