September 28th, 2011

Debenhams extends mobile strategy with mobile website and QR Codes

Debenhams iPhone appBritish department store chain Debenhams has launched a mobile shopping website in time for the run-up to the Christmas and holiday season.

The mobile site is in addition to an existing Debenhams app that makes use of features on a smartphone such as the camera and GPS to create a richer experience. The app offers bar code scanning, Debenhams TV, a store locator feature, push notifications, gift finder and wish lists.

In its first six months, the Debenhams iPhone app has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and has taken in more than one million pounds in sales.

“The mobile site allows Debenhams to reach all smartphone devices, rather than just the iPhone, Android and Symbian devices that the mobile applications are currently available on.” Harriet Williams, head of digital development at Debenhams, London

The mobile site was developed in-house in response to the significant growth in traffic to Debenhams’ traditional website from mobile phones.

“The mobile site has been built to capitalise on the growing mobile traffic to In August 2011 there were 650,000 visits to from mobile devices, an increase of 320% year-over-year.” Harriet Williams, head of digital development at Debenhams, London

Debenhams’ aim is to target different customers with the mobile site and the apps. “The mobile site is targeted at less loyal shoppers and browsers who are searching on the mobile Web, whereas the Debenhams application is for our loyal customers who want a permanent link to Debenhams on their phone,” Ms. Williams said.

Users on the mobile site can find store locations and hours, make purchases and watch Debenhams television and become a fan on Facebook.

The mobile site will be promoted via search marketing, affiliates, Debenhams Facebook and Twitter, email newsletters to customers, in Debenhams television ads and through in-store collateral.

The retailer is also testing a number of other mobile approaches including using Aurasma augmented reality to bring its print ads to life and the integration of QR Codes in smaller stores to extend the range of products being offered and in its advertising and location-based marketing with apps such as VoucherCloud.

“Mobile is having an increasingly important role across the business,” Ms. Williams said. “In addition to generating mobile sales, mobile has been incorporated into our marketing through SMS, mobile coupons and QR codes.

“It has also been introduced into stores through the bar code scanner integrated into the Debenhams apps,” she said. “The bar code scanner allows the app to act as virtual assistant giving the customer further information on products in store.”

Debenhams operates 153 stores across Britain and Ireland.

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