Several Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor stores have begun sending digital notifications to consumers’ smartphones as they are shopping inside the department stores.
Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, both divisions of the Hudson’s Bay Co., have deployed the mobile shopping experience via the Swirl in-store beacon marketing platform. The digital messages cover a limited number of brands and categories including new product arrivals, look books, hot items, trends, gifts with purchases and discounts.
The partnership with Swirl involves 10 stores: Hudson’s Bay on Queen Street and in Yorkdale, Toronto; Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa, and Lord & Taylor in Manhattan and Scarsdale, N.Y., and in Boston, South Shore and Burlington, Mass. The program officially starts today though some of the stores began sending out the push notifications last week.
“As we continue to observe consumers using their mobile devices, we want to find ways to take advantage of it,” said Michael Crotty, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Crotty characterized HBC’s partnership with Swirl as essentially an experiment to create a more engaging mobile shopping experience and capture greater sales.
To participate in the program, customers must have either the store app or the SnipSnap coupon app and must opt in to receive push notifications. The notifications are emitted by small, battery-powered transmitters known as beacons, which recognize the apps on smartphones in the store. The beacons are about the size of a hockey puck and can be unobtrusively placed under counters or behind displays. They have a five-to-300-foot range. The Swirl platform leverages Bluetooth Smart and Apple’s iBeacon technology.
At the five Lord & Taylor stores, beacons are on the cosmetics, contemporary and shoe floors, and in the 424 Fifth and Black Brown 1826 private brand shops, Michael Kors handbags and Alex & Ani jewelry.
In Hudson’s Bay, beacons have been placed in the cosmetics, contemporary, home and ladies shoe floors as well as in the 424 Fifth, Black Brown 1826 and Alex & Ani shops.
Alex & Ani, Kenneth Cole and Timberland are already Swirl clients that have rolled out the technology to all of their stores.
Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor are the first major department stores to roll out the technology, though other major retailers are expected to announce rollouts before the holiday season, according to Hilmi Ozguc, founder and ceo of Swirl Networks. Swirl and HBC will be measuring consumers’ reactions to the in-store notifications to determine the preferred number of push notifications to send out and how much of an interlude there should be between notifications. The content is controlled by HBC. The companies will also have to gauge any concerns over privacy and information security issues.
“We are experimenting. It’s a limited rollout,” Crotty said. “When we see how consumers are interacting with mobile devices, it is not hard to believe that they will get very comfortable with and really appreciate targeted messages when they walk into a retail environment. It’s not intrusive because you have opted to get in. We can do a good job delivering a good message. It’s highly likely consumers will see the value in this. What is nice is we can move fast with this without making a significant investment.” HBC and Swirl declined to disclose the costs of the rollout. Another company engaged in beacon technology is StickNFind and some other retailers. Macy’s, for example, has been testing the iBeacon at its Herald Square and San Francisco Union Square flagships via the Shopkick mobile app. Customers download the Shopkick app, then activate it when shopping in the stores to receive special offers.
“Beacon technology is the future of retail marketing and Swirl’s platform will assist us to make every visit to Hudson’s Bay or Lord & Taylor even more rewarding for our customers,” said Liz Rodbell, president of Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor.
Swirl, based in Boston, is backed by Hearst Ventures, SoftBank Capital, Longworth Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners. He also said when consumers receive notifications on their smartphones in the stores, the response rate is high. He said that of those opting into the program, 75 percent swipe the notification and half who look at the content redeem the offer, which is typically a sale.
Asked if Saks Fifth Avenue, which is also a division of Hudson’s Bay Co., will sign up for Swirl, Ozguc said, “Not yet. We’re working on it.”
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)