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The mobile digital evolution is driving more sales offline than online.

This story first appeared in the February 8, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

That was the surprise disclosed by Erik Lautier, senior vice president for e-commerce and digital strategy at Lacoste USA.

He noted that in the mobile world, users are often searching for the nearest store location. That’s helped by having dedicated tabs for Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare on every mobile page, something not needed on an online Web page, Lautier noted.

“Nearly half of all visits to our store locator now come from mobile,” he said.

Lautier explained that digital is an “evolving and changing organism.”

And as the concept of digital has changed, so too has its focus.

“The question is no longer what we’re doing to make money online. Now the question is what we’re doing to make money everywhere,” Lautier said.

 

Even though those with access to mobile technology can be online as they walk down the street, Lautier noted that not every company needs an app.

 

Many firms rushed to put out an app because Apple did such an incredible job selling the iPhone, he said. For companies debating whether one is needed, Lautier offered some criteria to consider:

 

• Immediacy: Flash sales, for example, could use one since an app can push the notification process to get the word out.

• Complexity: The more complex the product, the more likely an app is needed.

• Relevancy: There are some things you do with an app that you would never do online.

Lautier also emphasized to attendees that they need to “own your own digital locations. Thirty-six percent of brands still can’t claim [their] business listing on Google.” These firms are missing out as the current listing could be wrong on address, phone number or the URL. Lautier did note that firms such as Yelp and Foursquare should help improve how a company shows up in a search.

He also said he had mixed feelings about QR codes: “You have to unlock the phone, scan the app, focus, take the picture and wait for it to be processed. It takes too long.”

The one area where the QR codes can be useful is the ability to shorten the URL address via the use of a URL shortener.

If the shortener is used correctly, you can change the destination that the shortener goes to without changing the code, he said.