All this month we've been sharing advice about jump starting your mobile strategy, especially in light of the upcoming holiday season. By any measure, mobile is booming.
As Boston Retail Partners, a retail management consulting firm, notes in its 2015 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey (registration required), "Consumers and their ubiquitous mobile devices have completely changed the face of the retail. Customers have become very comfortable with mobile shopping and the power and convenience of online commerce integrated with social media. Today’s customer is always connected."
But mobile doesn't exist in isolation. It's a key element of your overall digital strategy.
"Consumers expect their shopping experience to transcend channels – begin in the digital realm and end in the physical store or begin in the store and complete on a mobile device. This is the new reality and retailers must continue to work towards achieving this reality or they will be at a severe disadvantage," the benchmarking survey continues.
For retailers surveyed, enabling mobile solutions is one of the top challenges this year, trailing only improving customer service, securing customer data and implementing a single commerce solution.
And this is no time for procrastination.
A third of consumers have already started their holiday shopping, according to the new Consumer Pulse survey from Los Angeles-based Rubicon Project, an online advertising technology company. The annual survey examined the holiday shopping habits among consumers ages 18 and above in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, and includes data on online and mobile shopping trends and how consumers are spending their money this season.
Rubicon Project SVP Dallas Lawrence noted, “Consumers have taken control of the holiday shopping season, starting earlier, and signaling a clear desire to shop online and on mobile devices."
So what should you do? We asked multiple experts, and are sharing their responses in a two-part series.
How can you best reach your mobile customers this holiday season?
Joe Kleinwaechter, VP, Worldpay
Kleinwaechter is vice president of innovation and design at Worldpay US, a provider of payments processing technology and solutions for business customers. He has been leading technical innovation and introducing unique solutions for more than 20 years in a wide range of fields, including internet security, energy management, FinTech and groupware. Tweet to Joe Kleinwaechter.
Pain and anxiety are not two words that often describe “the most wonderful time of the year,” though these feelings can run rampant among holiday shoppers.
So if you want to reach your mobile customers, get rid of the stress. Customers are in a hurry and on the go, making purchase after purchase across all platforms.
And instead of celebrating the happiness and giving, they become frustrated by the overwhelming amount of clutter in the mobile commerce space. Any retailer that can remove or lessen their irritation will catch the eye of consumers (as they breathe a sigh of relief).
Simplify tasks your competitors are complicating.
Work with developers to slim down your mobile interface and create a simple, effective design that lets users quickly get in and out with their purchases.
Give customers the confidence that you won’t let them down; stay on top of orders across touchpoints with a robust inventory monitoring system that presents a bird’s eye view of operations, complete with real-time updates and ordering information.
Everyone else will be focused on having more, giving more and doing more to create an overabundance of excess; cut through all of that noise by focusing on the fundamentals.
Find a way for your product to erase things from their massively complex to-do list so you don’t become one of those items yourself. Merchants who can provide something that helps their customers overcome the discomfort in a season of constant movement will keep them for the coming year.
Jess Stephens, CMO, SmartFocus
As CMO for London-based SmartFocus, Stephens spreads the word about a Software-as-a-Service platform that helps brands to deliver contextualized and personalized messages to customers She's worked in digital and mobile marketing her entire career, gaining experience at everything from the boot-strap start-up world through to established Fortune 250 companies. Before joining SmartFocus, she was founder and director at proximity marketing platform TagPoints and held senior leadership roles at MoneySupermarket Local Deals, Local Daily Deals and Filofax.
You have to understand the mobile user experience to maximize the effectiveness of your holiday campaign effectiveness. Here are three easy-to-implement mobile tips for email to ensure you have the competitive edge:
Make sure you optimize all your email for mobile devices — and verify how those optimized emails appear across all mobile devices. All good marketing cloud platforms offer this as a standard feature now. Remember 42 percent of consumers immediately delete emails that don't render on a mobile device, according to Bluehornet's 2015 survey of consumer views.
Offer location based store information when your email is opened. Rather than second guess which stores customers consider local, direct them to their nearest store when the email is opened on a mobile device using GPS data. If the email is opened on a desktop, then use its IP address cross-referenced with previous store purchase data to identify the nearest store.
Increase conversion rates by timing browsing based email campaigns. Personalized campaigns triggered by browsing behavior can drive conversion rates up to 10x higher than standard campaigns, since the message is sent when the customer is 'in the market' to buy. In-store, online or social engagement behavioral data can be used to automatically trigger a campaign send.
Yoav Barel, Head of Mobile, LivePerson
For more than a decade, Barel has developed and marketed mobile products, apps and services. He's currently head of products, strategy and engagement at LivePerson. Before LivePerson, he led teams at Oracle and Sun Microsystems. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Barel enjoys traveling, tennis and chess in his spare time. Tweet to Yoav Barel.
Mobile consumers are tech-savvy, time sensitive and informed. They’re also willing to engage and try new brands, so holiday shoppers made happy can become your new lifelong customers.
Mobile shoppers demand a quick and to-the-point customer experience, especially during the busy holidays when a great app or mobile experience can help alleviate some of that stress. Win customers over by making your mobile experience sleek and intuitive with proper context.
There's a reason why the top ranked mobile apps are those that facilitate a human connection, and an increasingly popular way to make that connection is through mobile messaging. The one-to-one chats mirror how people interact daily, build brand trust which leads to conversions, and respect a consumer’s time.
Your mobile customers should be engaging with your brand on their phone, not waiting on hold. And remember, mobile shoppers are in your brick and mortar locations too.
Offering creative apps that encourage in-store mobile activity, like price scanning, product videos or in-store live chat, which is especially helpful in large stores, can take your customer engagement to the next level.
Nothing will please a holiday shopper more than a brand that meets their needs, and is convenient and respectful of their time, too.