Mobile is on track to boom this year. Just look at its performance in 2014: According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, 45 percent of all online traffic to retail websites and apps came from smartphones and tablets between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. This represented a year-over-year increase of 25.5 percent.
So don’t get caught without a strategy that can ring in the sales. Be prepared to deliver great digital experiences that can net big sales while building brand loyalty. Here are three tips to get you started:
Hook Buyers with a Compelling Deal
People shop for the best deals. Identify a loss leader and come up with attention-grabbing deals to get the buyers in the door. Think about a web and/or mobile-specific promotion that gets them to the point of conversion.
Many shoppers are going to be in-store looking at products up close, but guaranteed, many will have their mobiles in hand to provide necessary shopping support. Our Mobile Commerce Report found that over the 2014 holiday season, mobile shoppers used devices to search product reviews and compare prices only second to finding store hours and location. Mobile sites that are deal-ready will stand to reap the rewards.
You can also take a page from Amazon's playbook and develop something akin to Amazon Prime Day. Amazon sold more units on Prime Day than Black Friday 2014, the biggest Black Friday ever. The company’s worldwide order growth increased 266 percent over the same day last year and 18 percent more than Black Friday 2014. In addition, more new members tried Prime worldwide than any single day in Amazon history.
That’s not to say Prime Day didn’t have its share of criticism. One report called it “the world’s largest yard sale” while droves of unhappy customers aired their grievances on Twitter, calling it “#PrimeDayFail.”
Create a promotion that’s going to get your customers excited — and then deliver it. And don’t hold back, even if your competitors get a head start. Walmart offered steep discounts for online shoppers on the same day as Amazon Prime Day. The point is, you need to get in the mix! But first, you have to make sure your platform is built to last and built to deliver the experience your customers have come to expect.
Integrate Offline and Online Experiences
Implementing a responsive website that integrates customer touchpoints will enhance the customer experience and simplify their purchase journey.
Big stores like Toys R Us, Nike and Apple get it. They offer their customers the ability to buy through web and/or mobile device and pick up at the stores or start the shopping experience in-store then order online with a free delivery. Learn from them and make your own plan for how you can integrate experiences.
Tap Into Marketplaces
Look to syndicate your products on marketplace channels for more coverage in the market. Syndicating content will drive online visibility, boost rankings and improve search engine optimization. Plus, big marketplace players have better mobile apps and presence than the average organization can take on before the holiday.
Take a look at third-party syndicators like Channel Advisor and Shopify, for example. They offer cloud-based, on-demand e-commerce solutions that allow retailers to integrate, manage and optimize sales activities. These solutions provide another channel that will feed into sales.
Don’t Forget the Basics
In addition to these three tips, make sure you cover the basics first. Plan for a surge before you launch that big promotion. Your site needs to maintain optimum performance, especially as you drive people to buy online. In addition to lack of quality inventory, one of the big pain points with Prime Day was slow site performance. If a site is slow on the desktop because of increased traffic levels, you can be sure the slowdown will be even more noticeable on mobile. And that’s a recipe for disaster.
As you can see in the graph below, for the first time in our Mobile report’s three-year history, people were more motivated by speed than special offers when it came to downloading a mobile app. Bottom line — speed is king.
The big marketplace players — Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc. — may have better mobile apps and presence than the average organization can take on before the holidays. It’s simply not realistic to think most businesses out there can compete on the same level as the whales. However, every business can get an edge by developing a marketing strategy early and getting it out into the marketplace often.
Finally, take a hard look at the mobile attributes of your site. Google made it clear that it will favor mobile-friendly sites, so do your research. Read Google’s guidelines, invest in mobile and boost your rankings by improving your mobile site and mobile apps.
Start brainstorming now. The more you can get ahead of the holidays with killer mobile strategies, the better chance you have of ringing in big sales and building a loyal following of customers.