Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Accessory issue 08/15/2011

Slow is not an option.

Just when everyone thought e-commerce was the next great selling tool, along comes m-commerce, capturing sales on the go. It’s quickly becoming a digital priority for the fashion industry, and accessories are rising as a hot category.

This story first appeared in the August 15, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Flash sale site Rue La La has had a mobile app since April 2010. M-commerce has grown to become on average 18 percent of its business on weekdays and 30 percent on weekends, according to president Steve Davis. Accessories perform about 20 percent better than any other sector on the site. “Accessories are easier to make a quick decision on,” he says, adding that handbags are especially strong mobile sellers.
Net-a-Porter’s accessories buying manager, Sasha Sarokin, reports that with m-commerce, more “everyday” and “wear-now” accessories, like friendship bracelets or small pendant necklaces, are big sellers. Higher-ticket items sell as well, particularly those that pack a strong photographic punch. Even smaller brands sell quite well if they are visual, through either e- or m-commerce.

She adds that customers will often gain access to images of a product initially through one of the retailer’s two mobile applications—its magazine for the iPad provides fresh editorial content weekly as well as shopping access to the featured products, while its What’s New iPhone app is primarily a shopping vehicle, with a version of the magazine. If they don’t decide to buy from the app, they might follow it up with an e-commerce purchase later.

Tory Burch’s m-commerce site launched four months ago and is the company’s fastest growing revenue channel, according to chief marketing officer Miki Berardelli. She’s a firm believer that m-commerce will soon become the most important source of electronic sales, one day usurping desktop and laptop access. “We see mobile as the true bridge between online and offline. The once-siloed experiences of shopping in stores versus shopping online are now completely integrated through a device that our customer keeps with her at all times,” she says.

Coach’s senior vice president of global Web and digital media, David Duplantis, says mobile is all about providing instant gratification, as well as a link to its e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses. He notes that a double-digit percentage of users visiting comes via smartphones.

And in pursuit of a younger demographic—18- to 25-year-olds, specifically—Swarovski launched its first m-commerce app Aug. 1 to coincide with the debut of its Hello Kitty collection—a 27-piece group retailing from $60 for a charm to $650 for an evening bag. “It’s really tailor-made for this group, as they rely on social media, Facebook and tweeting,” says Livia Marotta, Swarovski North America’s head of communications and public relations.