Mobile Marketing: 3 tips from ModCloth on mobile app engagement

Seldom do I condone a selfie.

Nothing makes me want to cut a slice of humble pie for someone more than a pointless, self-taken snapshot. If you’re doing absolutely nothing but think you look darn good, it’s pretty clear you’re pulling for some strokes to the ol’ ego.

In the driver’s seat of your car? Not a photo op. Working at your computer but having a great hair day? Don’t click the cam.

However, I do think there are some exceptions — and perhaps even necessary occasions — for a selfie. If I run into Jennifer Aniston on the street but no one’s there to take the pic, you best bet I’ll hold up my iPhone and do it on my own.

While my iPhone’s photo album doesn’t have celebrity-accompanied shots (I’m working on it), it’s not selfie-free, which brings me to my other exception: fashion.

Putting an outfit together or buying a piece of clothing is often stressful. I can look in the mirror as long as I want to see if I think a shirt looks funny or if my shoes go with my dress, but there’s nothing better than a second opinion.

I can get that second opinion by taking a photo of myself in the outfit, texting it to my girlfriends to weigh in. What do you think of this top? How does this skirt look with these earrings? Should I buy it? All of my friends and I do this.

Fashion retailer ModCloth, a brand my wallet knows all too well, integrated this selfie behavior into its mobile app. I learned all about it when ModCloth’s Chief Technology Officer Udi Nir chatted with me in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE.


Udi co-hosted an IRCE session in Chicago titled, “Mobile Commerce: Get Ready Today for Tomorrow,” where he gave me the scoop on ModCloth selfies along with how crucial it is to have a strong mobile presence.

“It’s really important because that’s where our girl, our customer, is,” Udi told me. “We are wherever she is. If we want to serve her, we have to be in all those places she wants to access our site.”

On the marketing side, mobile unlocks new opportunities for marketers to reach customers in ways and at times they couldn’t have before.

“Mobile basically provides us new moments of found time,” he said. “Those two minutes in line, a few minutes on the bus or whatnot that weren’t able to be used before.”

ModCloth has channeled its mobile focus into its app, which has helped the company achieve both entertainment and engagement among its customers.

One particular feature is the app’s Style Gallery, a place where ModCloth customers can upload their outfit photos to show how they’ve styled their clothing to give others inspiration, Udi explained.

“We’ve seen engagement just skyrocket,” Udi said. “The way that we know that is because our girl ‘loves’ outfits that other girls uploaded. We’ve seen those loves just climb through the roof.”

Since launching the Style Gallery on its mobile app, ModCloth has seen:

  • 50% of Style Gallery loves are from the app
  • Loves increased by 82% in the first month after launching in the iOS app

Previously, ModCloth’s Style Gallery existed exclusively on the desktop site. However, the app platform has made it easier for customers to upload their photos, thus upping engagement.

“Before mobile, most of our photos were very styled, very touched and kind of curated because they were on a desktop,” Udi said. “You could use Photoshop and what not to make sure the filters were right and that they’re really pretty.

Once we launched with the mobile, we saw there were more casual photos — selfies. That’s actually really interesting because it gives us a different perspective to see how girls actually style themselves day-to-day.”

Aside from Style Gallery selfies, Udi shared some advice for marketers looking to master mobile themselves.

Tip #1. Be where your customer is

I think it’s pretty intuitive,” Udi said, “but you really have to do that — you have to be where she is.”

You have to have a solution for the devices your customers are using and ensure your company has a presence on each, he added.

Tip #2.  Focus on long-term engagement, not single visits

ModCloth wants customers to come to its site as often as they can, Udi explained.

“We don’t expect her to convert every single visit,” he shared. “What we care about is engagement and the fact that she’s building a relationship with our brand and with our product and with our website. Once you do that and kind of create that relationship — which mobile is a great vehicle to do — then everything else just follows.”

Tip #3. Implement mobile throughout your company structure

Another important takeaway ModCloth has seen is that mobile must be present across the organization.

“It can’t just be technology or marketing — it has to be technology and marketing and merchandising and customer care and everybody else who is involved,” Udi said. “That’s where our girl is and we have to make sure that every aspect of our business follows her wherever she goes.”

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015

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