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Digital Déclassé: Fashion Week’s Mobile Losers

When it comes to fashion, it’s all about the look. But according to a study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released as Fashion Week kicks off in New York, leading fashion brands can appear downright shabby on mobile devices.Two thirds of the top 100 names turn a blind eye to the revenue-forward possibilities of responsive design, and 17% have yet to put up mobile-optimized websites.

American Apparel, Danskin, DKNY, Joe Boxer, Vanity Fair, and Versace are among the brands whose websites are ill-fitting when called up on mobile phones, bereft of simple optimization. Fewer than half of fashion brands, meanwhile, support mobile apps for iPhones (47%) and Android (43%), and just a quarter of them field iPad apps—surprising in that several research studies have borne out the fact that online shoppers research on phones and buy on tablets.

IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence did a study of leading fashion brands’ mobile strategies in July, awarding them “M-scores”  ranging between 0 and 100 based on their usage of mobile websites, links to app stores and desktop sites, and tap-to-call and store locator features. In all, fashion brands’ walk down the mobile runway came up woefully short. Their average M-score: 61.9.

Not all fashion brands are behind the times, however. The North Face, Pink, Tiffany & Co., and Victoria’s Secret all registered perfect M-scores of 100. Yet three bottomed out with zeros: Candie’s, Casio, and Joe Boxer.

Fashion brands that depend on brick-and-mortar store sales—the great majority of them—have the most to lose from ill-conceived mobile strategies, according to Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. “A great number of fashion houses aren’t as mobile-savvy as they need to be in today’s digital world,” he says. “Those with a direct retail presence have the strongest imperative to offer great mobile experiences.”

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