The Importance of Mobile Commerce for Retailers

Shopping on a Smartphone


by Bonnie McEwan  

Retail is Going Mobile

The latest trend in retailing is m-commerce, in which the ‘m’ stands for mobile. Increasingly, customers are making purchases directly from smart phones. According to Forrester Research, retail sales made on smart phones reached $8 billion in 2012, comprising 3% of total e-commerce sales. For 2013, Forrester predicts that smart phone sales will rise to $12 billion (5% of total e-commerce) and in 2014 $17 billion (6% of total e-commerce). By 2017, m-commerce is expected to account for $31 billion, about 9% of the entire e-commerce market.

Why is Mobile Going Global?

These m-commerce customers told the survey firm comScore that they buy with their smart phones for a variety of reasons. The top four were:

  • On-the-go convenience, cited by 63% of respondents
  • To get special offers and coupons — 52% of respondents
  • Ease of comparing prices to find best deal — 48% of respondents
  • Product was not found in a brick and mortar store — 41% of resondents

What Retailers Can Do About It

This preference for m-commerce has some significant implications for retailers:

  1. You must be sure that your website — in this situation, referred to as a mobile site — is optimized for the small screen, whose average size is about 2.5 x 3 inches.
  2. You should also offer free ‘apps’ — short for applications — for all the major smart phone operating systems. [An app is a small piece of software that is downloaded to a mobile device to facilitate online activities.] Pay special attention to developing a good app for Apple’s iOS, since iPhone owners do substantially more mobile shopping than owners of other brands.
  3. You may also want to investigate selling watches and other products via a virtual store within one or both of the two most heavily trafficked m-commerce sites, eBay and Amazon. Consider this: eBay receives 6,400 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits the site an average of 7.5 times for an average of 10 minutes per visit. Amazon is close behind, with 5,824 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits an average of 5.6 times per month and remains on the site for about10 minutes. Some major retailers sell on these sites, including Target on Amazon and Brookstone on eBay.
  4. If you sell retail from temporary locations, such as outdoor kiosks, pop-up stores or Christmas village shops, there are m-commerce products for your smart phone that make selling more convenient. For example, a company called Square makes a small device that attaches to your smart phone and enables it to take credit cards. There’s no need for card machines or electrical access. Just slide the customer’s card through the Square device. It will record the sale, send an electronic receipt to the customer’s phone and that’s it.


An interesting mobile development for watch retailers is the budding popularity of smart watches, which are predicted to be big for 2013 holiday gift-giving. Several brands are already on the market, although there aren’t many apps available at this point. You can read all about the new smart watches at SmartWatchNews.org, and perhaps be one of the first retailers to create an app for these novel devices. (Very Dick Tracy.)

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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Lord & Taylor Owner Buys Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue, NYC


by John Sealander  

Will Continued Consolidation in the Retail
Industry Benefit or Hurt Watch Manufacturers?

When retail giant HBC Holdings announced on July 29 that they were purchasing luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, it signaled a continuation of the trend toward consolidation in the retail industry. The purchase, valued at $2.9 billion dollars, will bring together Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company to create one of North America’s premier fashion retailers.

With the addition of 41 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 67 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores, the saks.com online business, and Saks-licensed stores in Dubai, U.A.E.; Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico; Manama, Bahrain; and Almaty, Kazakhstan; the combined company will operate a total of 320 stores, including 179 full-line department stores, 72 outlet stores and 69 home stores. These retail stores, along with three e-commerce sites, are expected to generate $97 million in annual sales within three years.

Retail consolidation typically provides significant economies of scale and as HBC chairman and CEO Richard Baker said recently “This acquisition will increase our growth potential both in the U.S. and Canada, generate significant efficiencies of scale, add to our powerful real estate portfolio and deliver substantial value to our shareholders.”

Potential Growth for Luxury Manufacturers

Does retail consolidation have any benefits for manufacturers and luxury goods buyers? Probably so. Luxury manufacturers are typically smaller than mass-market manufacturers and it is often not practical to ship full truckloads to a lot of small independent retailers. Consolidation allows these manufacturers to ship a single large quantity to a consolidated retailer like HBC Holdings and then let this company use its own distribution system to get the merchandise to individual stores. As a result, exclusive products like luxury watches and jewelry become available to a much wider audience.

The economies that come with a large consolidated inventory and distribution system are a big reason why giants like Wal-Mart and Target are able to offer low prices on such a wide variety of merchandise. Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company are all popular destinations for the latest in jewelry and fine timepieces. Now that these three luxury retailers have joined forces, it should provide luxury goods manufacturers with a more effective way to get their goods to market while providing customers with a wider selection to choose from.

If you’re a watch aficionado who likes to shop, stop by one of these retailers when the sale is completed. If history is any guide, you should see some exciting new choices that weren’t available before.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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Amazon on the Verge of Joining Top-10 US Retailers

Amazon Warehouse


by John Sealander  

The World’s Second Most Valuable Brand
Moves up to Number 11 in US Domestic Sales

AmazonThere is no better sign that online shopping is here to stay than when a pure play online retailer is poised to join the ranks of America’s largest brick and mortar retail giants. The new kid on the block is Amazon, which jumped to number 11 on a list of the largest U.S. retailer in terms of domestic sales. Amazon raked in $34.42 billion in U.S. sales in 2012, a 30% year-over-year increase.

The Seattle-based online retailer is already ranked as the second most valuable global retail brand on a list that includes international retail giants like Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, and Aldi. Cracking the top ten in the influential US market is considered significant because it clearly demonstrates that Americans are changing the way they shop.

Although giants like Walmart, Kroger, Target, and Home Depot, still lead Amazon in domestic sales, they are not growing nearly as fast as the online retailer. Traditional brick and mortar stores haven’t even been able to come close to Amazon’s impressive 30% year-over-year increase in sales.

Amazon’s Growth in the Luxury Industry

Amazon’s steady growth hasn’t gone unnoticed in the fine jewelry industry. For many years, Amazon has been creeping up in the ranks of the largest and most influential fine jewelry and watch sellers. Amazon is already ahead of familiar jewelry and watch sellers like Sears at number 13 on the list, and Macy’s at number 14. To put things in perspective, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus is all the way down at number 84 on this year’s list of domestic sales.

It seems clear that Amazon will soon join the exclusive ranks of the top-10 US retailers. If their performance continues at present rates, Amazon could even be number one in the not too distant future. This explosive growth has serious implications for anyone who makes or sells luxury goods. According to Gevril Group President Samuel Friedmann, Amazon will be an important component in any luxury goods marketing strategy. “Every year, we see an increase in the number of watches selling on Amazon,” says Friedmann. “Amazon sales are a part of world marketing strategy now, and will continue to be so in the future.”

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Like us on Facebook. Reader comments are welcome.

Target and Neiman Marcus Join Forces

by John Sealander  

Would a Relationship Like the One Recently Established by
Target and Neiman Marcus Work in the Watch Industry?

Target Neiman Marcus Joint LogoEveryone is talking about the newly formed partnership between Target and Neiman Marcus. To some, this “odd couple” relationship makes no sense at all, while others praise the new collaboration as a stroke of genius. Whatever your opinion, it’s hard to ignore that this is a whole new way of marketing.

Traditionally, high-end retailers and discounters never went after the same audience. On closer inspection however, collaborations like the one recently established by Target and Neiman Marcus can be a win for both parties. In Target’s case, collaborating with Neiman Marcus on a holiday collection featuring 24 well known designers gives them more big names to feature in their stores. Neiman Marcus, on the other hand, benefits from the additional exposure it gets from being featured in thousand of Target stores.

High-End and Value Watch Brands from a Single Source

According to watch industry insider and Gevril Group founder Samuel Friedmann, these types of “odd couple” relationships make perfect sense for the watch industry. “We have always tried to expose our audience to a wide variety of quality brands and price points,” says Friedmann. The Gevril Group strategy of providing a single source for watch brands at many different price points has worked out well for everyone.

High end, low volume brands gain the exposure they need to maintain their allure, while value oriented, mass-market brands benefit by offering customers a clearly defined choice. It’s a win-win for all. Traditionally, marketers have thought that selling high end products in the wrong place would damage the brand. That thinking is changing however. Marketers now recognize that customers are savvy enough to distinguish between a limited edition timepiece that sells for $5,000 and a mass-market version that sells for $500. What today’s customer’s want is the ability to see all their options and make the final decisions themselves.

Single Source Marketing Works

When Target and Neiman Marcus decided to provide a common venue for the holiday collections of 24 well-known designers, they discovered something that Gevril Group has known all along. Single source marketing works! It works because today’s customers are smart and they like lots of options. Samuel Friedmann doesn’t care whether customers are looking for a rarity or an exceptional value. “My job is meeting customer expectations,” he says. “To make it as easy as possible for customers to find precisely what want.” Target and Neiman Marcus are doing exactly the same thing.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Reader comments are welcome.