Even though foot traffic to department stores is declining, online traffic to their sites remains consistent year-over-year. Retailers have reassessed their brick-and-mortar strategies as a result, focusing on stores as fulfillment centers for online shoppers. Macy’s, for example, has closed stores in the suburbs and opened new ones in urban areas with heavier foot while leveraging remaining suburban stores for same-day delivery.
Such developments suggest the line between online and in-store shopping is being blurred, but the integration is not visible in mobile offerings. L2’s Intelligence Report: Mobile & Tablet only are department store apps and sites divergent, most do little to help in-store buyers.
Most glaring examples are Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, which have not invested in mobile-optimized site. Neiman Marcus’s app does not offer in-store inventory status, camera integration and user-reviews. Barney’s mobile optimized site misses reviews, geolocation-enabled store locator, and inventory status. And, the brand has developed a tablet app, but no smartphone app.
Saks Fifth Avenue has a comprehensive app with live inventory check, camera support, geolocation and in-app checkout, but neglects to put user-reviews (available on desktop) on the mobile site or app.
Department store sales have been declining for more than a decade, putting pressure category brands to develop a synced, omnichannel retail business model. Providing a consistent, fulfilling experience across mobile and tablet apps is a step in that direction.