Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Mobiles are a gift for retail

SMS vouchers are another reason for businesses to take mobile phones seriously as a selling channel.

The recent launch of SMS gift vouchers by womenswear chain Karen Millen has prompted furious discussion on the use of mobile technology for fashion retailers. Many are including the mobile channel in their sales strategies and SMS gift vouchers are one option to consider as part of this.

Karen Millen’s SMS gift vouchers are purchased online by customers, and can then be redeemed in store using the unique code sent to a customer’s phone. From a consumer point of view this provides a quick and simple way to purchase gift vouchers and is extremely handy for last-minute purchasing.

The advantage for retailers is that this gives them another avenue to push online customers to store and encourage further sales. It also allows for further customer data to be collected with minimal expenditure. Jon Bovill, IT director for Aurora Fashions, which owns Karen Millen, says: “Because Eagle Eye Solutions’ [provider of SMS gift voucher technology] mobile vouchers use our existing EPoS and Chip and PIN systems, we’ve not had to make any new changes to our in-store IT infrastructure.”

However, the SMS gift voucher option does not come without its challenges. As Alex Meisl, chairman of mobile marketing company Sponge, points out, it is complicated to establish a voucher format that will work across the innumerable different handset types.

Paul Bidder, commercial director at digital strategy agency Red Ant, thinks SMS could be used in other ways: “With mobile developing at such a rate of knots, I can see SMS being used more as a means of improving customer service - reminding people of dates for services, appointments to be aware of, and informing them that their query has been handled.”

Meisl agrees: “Deployed in the right way, it will be a strong offer and, given its relative ease of deployment, could form a very relevant part of any year one mobile strategy.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.