Jon Kosoff, director of e-commerce and direct marketing at Wet Seal Inc., is tasked with finding ways to connect with two customer bases: at the retailer’s namesake store, where shoppers range from 15 to 19 years old, and for the Arden B. division, where they range from 25 to 40 years old.

He said the company values the intersection of its social media and mobile strategies, a point made clear by the Wet Seal iRunway iPhone app launched in September.

This story first appeared in the June 30, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Once at a store, shoppers who have downloaded the program can scan bar codes with their iPhones to see all of the user-generated looks associated with the selected style number. The store’s Web site houses a library of such outfit combinations created by visitors who can share them with friends and rate them.

But building an app is only a piece of the equation. Kosoff introduced a problem that would become a minor theme of the forum: What good is an app if no one knows about it? Kosoff shared some of Wet Seal’s solutions, such as Facebook posts and e-mail blasts.

“Marketing is very important and it’s kind of a new skill set,” Kosoff said. “We had tens of thousands of downloads. After we sent this e-mail, we had four times the number of downloads.”

Kosoff said it was important to listen to customer feedback and be quick to tweak potential issues, as Wet Seal did when it recently gave its mobile site a more image-friendly makeover in response to audience demand for larger product pictures. The company then easily ported the lesson to Arden B.

“It’s amazing how quickly things can change,” Kosoff said. “It really makes it important for you to realize it’s going to change and be flexible that way. [Don’t] say, ‘This is our site — it’s never going to change,’ because mobile is pretty new and evolving quickly.”

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