The long-standing department store has been tumbling down the digital ranks for years, but it recently hired advisors to try and turn itself around. Here’s how we would advise the retailer to improve its digital presence.

Smartphones have become the primary means of internet access, with the average consumer viewing over three hours of digital media via mobile every day. Despite boasting a fairly sophisticated desktop site, Lord & Taylor has yet to invest in creating a mobile experience. Assuming a mobile-first mentality should be the first order of business for the retailer, which sank to Challenged status in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores.

However, just setting up a mobile website isn’t enough. Content must be both engaging and shoppable. While Lord & Taylor integrates user-generated content compellingly on its desktop site, the brand fails to make this content easily shoppable. Highlighting the lack of compelling site content, the retailer sees less monthly site traffic than half of department stores tracked by Gartner L2. This mistake should not be repeated on mobile if Lord & Taylor wants to keep customers satisfied. Additionally, the retailer will have to keep abreast of best practices on the mobile platform, including the importance of single-page checkout, customer service features such as Click to Call or live chat, and geolocation tools for customer convenience.

Another area of growth for Lord & Taylor to test out is social media. Currently, the retailer earns fewer interactions on Instagram than nearly 40% of department store brands. While Instagram is quickly becoming pay-to-play, the platform still captures 76% of total social media interactions for department stores, indicating a small opportunity for organic reach. Additionally, Instagram announced that in-app appointment booking (including nail and hair salon bookings) and transactions will be launched over the next few months—something to keep in mind if Lord & Taylor chooses to add shoppable “experiences” to its line-up, like Genius brand Nordstrom.

With Amazon gearing up to become the world’s largest online retailer, department stores are doing whatever they can to survive. Amid a spell of retail bankruptcies and store closings, it would suit Lord & Taylor to stay ahead of the trends—both in fashion and in digital.

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