Tech Insights: Harness The Power of Mobile Tech for Your Business
Tech Insights is a new series where we speak to experts in the DWEN community about hot technology topics. Forthcoming articles will cover Social Media and Data Management & Security. Click here to read the first article about doing business in the Cloud.
This second article in the series shares the knowledge of Mobility experts and entrepreneurs Joana Picq and Susan Feldman.
The mobile tech revolution not only increases productivity by enabling the next generation workforce to securely work from anywhere, anytime and on any device, but it allows consumers to make purchases on-the-go. Joana and Susan have both been harnessing the full power of the mobile revolution to grow their businesses.
Joana Picq is Chief Brazilian at Jampp Mobile, the leading Latin American advertising solution for the monetization of virtual currency on social networks and mobile apps. Operating in LATAM, US, Europe and soon South Africa, Jampp is a mobile marketing specialist that works solely on performance. Joana is also a Global Ambassador at Papaya Ventures, a startup acceleration program whose 2013 theme is Mobile B2B. Joana moved back to her native Brazil in 2011 to launch Moved back to Brazil to launch VoyagePrive.com.br (this interview focuses on her experience there). Joana was recently named at number ten in The NEXT 100 Top Influencers of the Digital Industry in 2013.
Susan Feldman is the co-founder and chief merchandising officer of One Kings Lane, an online retailer offering top-brand, vintage, and designer items for the home at up to 70% off retail price. One Kings Lane has grown to more than 6 million registered users with over 25 percent of its monthly revenue coming from mobile purchases. The company recently closed a $50 million round of Series D funding, has a staff of 350 employees, and made $200 million in revenue in 2012. Susan was recently named in Inc Magazine's 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013.
We spoke to Joana and Susan about the increasing importance of mobile for their business; the impact mobility is having on their employees; and how they've tackled the challenges the mobile revolution has brought.
TNW: Does your business depend on a mobile strategy for results?
JP: VoyagePrive Brazil never depended on a mobile strategy for results, but not having a mobile strategy would have made us miss out on incremental sales as well as put us in an unfavorable position in terms of competition - everyone else has a mobile strategy.
Travel bookings made on tablets can represent up to 20% of overall bookings for many players in the industry, it is important to have a strategy outside usual PC browsers.
SF: Absolutely. Mobile presents a huge opportunity for One Kings Lane and for the ecommerce industry at large. Whether at home or on-the-go, people are now constantly connected to the web via their mobile devices, which gives retailers like One Kings Lane an innovative new way to engage with our shoppers.
TNW: How have you set up your mobile strategy?
JP: The main strategy implemented was to have as much product focus on the mobile site than on the main site - the user experience is not quite the same, and all this needs to be taken under consideration when planning product updates on both the website and the mobiel sites, across all platforms. We also had a mobile app launched mostly as a way to engage with users, knowing it is still early days for in-app travel bookings in Brazil...
SF: One Kings Lane’s combination of rich images and daily fresh inventory is a winning strategy for mobile.
Unlike traditional retail, the “shelves” at One Kings Lane change constantly as we launch 2,000 new products on the site each day.
The result is a high level of engagement on mobile that is similar to how people interact with social media apps. In the same way that people frequently check Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to browse new updates, there’s always something new and inspiring for our shoppers to discover when they visit One Kings Lane’s mobile apps.
TNW: Is mobile becoming increasingly important for your company?
JP: Yes - just as for any company that has a focus on consumers. Smart mobile devices are increasingly more frequent even in Brazil and everywhere else, and users are coming to spend more time on mobile apps and mobile browsers than on computers. If you fail to communicate with a consumer looking for your type of product from his mobile phone, you lose a customer to your competition, no matter how often he visits your website from a computer.
SF: Mobile has become a very important part of our business.
Currently 28% of One Kings Lane’s monthly revenues come from mobile purchases, and that figure typically spikes over weekends and holidays.
Last Thanksgiving 40% of our revenues came from mobile.
Mobile purchases are on par with the average order value of desktop or PC purchases and we’re also seeing high-ticket purchases made on mobile devices. Some recent examples include a $7,000 antique Italian dresser that was purchased on our iPhone app and an $8,000 Missoni rug that one of our shoppers bought from their iPad.
TNW. How has the mobile revolution changed the lives of your employees?
JP: It has certainly brought excitement into the team. It is always more "fun" to focus on mobile - it's still somewhat of a novelty and it is always exciting to think about challenging new models that haven't yet been completely understood and mastered.
SF: I think mobile devices help us stay connected and make it easier to share ideas and inspiration with one another. Instagram is one of my favorite mobile apps – I’m always sharing photos from my shopping trips around the world and I love seeing the design inspiration that our One Kings Lane team posts.
TNW: What challenges has the mobile revolution brought and how have you handled them?
The mobile revolution has brought one main challenge - think differently.
You think you or your employees, partners and analysts know everything there is to know about the web, because so much has been tried and tested. But mobile is whole new ballgame. You can launch an alpha product on the web and change it as users test it, but if you do the same with a mobile app your users will delete the app and never download it again - the user dynamics and product cycles are very different. Distribution is even more of a surprise - doing user acquisition in mobile actually gets more expensive with volume, because you quickly exhaust the cheaper channels. KPIs are still very difficult to track and there is so much changing every week, you need to be on top of it all the time, and question how much you actually know often. It is a challenge that makes the life of any entrepreneur all the more interesting, which is why smaller companies are embracing it while the bigger older companies tend to be slow at taking it onboard their product and marketing strategy.
Mobile is a completely different platform than the PC environment.
People on their mobile devices are often on-the-go, looking at a small screen, and may not have a robust internet connection like they do at home. Our technology team took all of these factors into consideration as they developed our iPhone app and mobile-optimized website to make it fast and easy for our shoppers to browse sales on One Kings Lane, view product details and photos, and make purchases right from their mobile device.
The Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN)celebrates the wonderful accomplishments of women in business, whilst looking forward at how we can progress and learn from each other. Natural networkers and relationship builders, women have innate flair for entrepreneurship. With DWEN, Dell is helping women in business to expand their networks while offering technology capabilities designed to help them innovate and grow their businesses.
The Tech Insights series is a spin-off from our hugely successful The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series, which profiles the world's most influential female founders, investors and decision makers. The interviews were so popular that we are creating a new series, speaking to experts in the DWEN community about hot technology topics.
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