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.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty