All is ‘Mobile’ and Bright

Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber monday. Winter holidays. New Years. The period between the day of thanks and the celebration of new beginnings marks the start of the high-earning revenue holiday season. As ecommerce stores launch their holiday engagement strategies and mobile marketing campaigns, advanced retailers are implementing transformative digital tools and campaigns to maintain a competitive edge. In the last decade, the rise of ecommerce and digital buying experiences have drastically changed the landscape of holiday shopping. In the face of huge technological advances and increased versatility of smart devices, prepping for the holiday season is more imperative in the digital retail ecosystem than ever before.

Mobile commerce and smart devices now symbolize the bridge between physical, brick-and-mortar spaces and digital retail. The huge influx of ecommerce transactions conducted via smartphones is reflected in this survey which revealed that over 70% of U.S. consumers now shop online. In order for store owners, advertisers, and salespeople to effectively identify and target shoppers this fall & winter holiday season, it’s essential to scrutinize current advertising campaigns to improve your omni-channel and/or mobile holiday marketing strategies. In this blog, we’ll highlight some best practices for your approach to mobile holiday marketing and sales.


Point 1: Personalization – Know Thy Customer

As larger and larger amounts of increasingly detailed customer data becomes easily-accessible, ecommerce businesses should leap at the chance to construct comprehensive patron profiles. Are your most loyal customers seasonal or year-round shoppers? Are you aware of changing or severe weather in certain locales when promoting events? Do you notify return customers about tailored sales or products?

There’s no excuse to delay in leveraging valuable, collected data to fuel individualized, tailored campaigns. Your store can utilize data analysis of patron purchase histories and buying habits to recommend new items, suggest add-ons, and offer repurchasing. Building customer profiles allows you to zero-in on particular demographics regarding life stage, buying trends, personal shopping habits, consumer preferences, user devices, and other socioeconomic factors. Here are a few areas you can focus on to increase the efficiency of your approach to mobile personalization:   

  1. Push notifications
  • Send on-site, instant, and tailored offers
  • Notify customers about:
    • Promotions for items they’ve purchased before
    • Products they’ve previously viewed or added to their cart
    • Sales at a store/location they frequent
  • Experiment with locale-aware and context-sensitive marketing tactics
  • Assess shopper behavior in specific settings or platforms
  1. Location-based sales and offers
  • Situational and location-oriented buying experiences
    • Highly-targeted offers, campaigns, and promotions
    • Increase foot traffic and drive sales
  • Shop as you go deals
    • The Target Cartwheel app – entices customers to purchase items down to the aisle
  1. Loyalty programs
  • Points programs for returning and loyal customers
  • Reward with exclusive deals and digital content
    • From Best Buy to Jamba Juice to Sephora, many mobile sites and apps offer rewards for loyalty programs
  1. Mobile apps
  • Direct path to purchase
  • Offer a plethora of functions and features that allow your patrons to:
    • Skip the line
    • Sign up for sales and events
    • Make reservations
    • Earn in-app points and bonuses
    • View ongoing promotions or deals
    • Use digital coupons
    • Make purchases
    • Try new products
  • Make the most of cross-channel platforms and social media

Point 2: Marketing and Digital Content – Creating a Unique, Holistic Experience

Optimized mobile content. If your online content and website don’t display properly on mobile devices—agitating and disappointing potential shoppers—customers are far more likely to ditch your store for a competitor’s whose site was optimized for a variety of screens and platforms. To ensure a uniform, cohesive experience for your customers, it’s critical to maintain a site/store that’s fully-functional for mobile. All digital content must be formatted for display on smart devices and cell phone browsers. If a potential customer visits your site and is forced to pinch, zoom, and adjust while scrolling, it’s probable they’ll leave out of frustration.

Whether your mobile marketing strategy relies on blog posts, video content on Youtube, virtual and augmented reality apps or advertisements, or chatbots and deep-learning artificial intelligence, most companies launch their holiday ads 4-8 weeks prior to the holiday being promoted. Preparing early will guarantee that you have time to enhance your efforts based on consumer shopping behavior, buying times, types of browsers and devices, etc.

Social Media Holiday Marketing
  • Use stirring, festive visuals to promote holiday-themed sales or events
  • Take advantage of fun social media tools and features:
    • Instagram boomerangs
    • Facebook stories
    • Twitter moments
    • Snapchat ads
    • Youtube clips
  • Create social-media heavy campaigns that are bright, cheerful, and evocative
    • The holidays are often a source of stress
      • BUT they can just as much be about joy and lightheartedness
    • Focus on mobile marketing that makes holiday tasks and errands enjoyable
      • DON’T: encourage patrons to mull around a store by means of vague discounts or deals
      • DO: create interactions and encounters in your store that form a cumulative customer experience
  • Collaborations and partnerships with influencers
    • Partnering with social media influencers and popular accounts leads to:
      • High levels of digital engagement
      • Increased ROI across social platforms
    • Followers trust influencers’ recommendations for holiday products and gifts
    • Rely on influencers to promote trending, must-have products
SMS Notifications
  • Should feel tailored/exclusive
    • Content should be short and sweet
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Offer those who opt-in to text notifications your best promotions
  • Encourage customers to sign-up for mobile alerts
  • Promote deals and sales
    • Personalized coupons
    • Price match and comparison
    • Offer app promo codes or user-referral discounts

Point 3: Omni-Channel Strategies – Consistency and Unification

In your omni-channel strategy for mobile, your business should prioritize consistency and unification across all platforms and experiences, be it mobile or in-store. Social media, ecommerce platforms, mobile sites, in-store technology, and a company’s customer service should all provide a uniform, homogenous experience, regardless of channel.

Things to keep in mind about omni-channel campaigns:
  • Web sites must be fully optimized for mobile to spur:
    • High mobile return rates
    • App downloads
    • Opt-ins for push notifications
  • Personalization and cross-channel integration create positive experiences for your customers anywhere, anytime
  • Customers will use whichever channel:
    • Suites their situational wants and needs
    • Is convenient to buying habits
    • Matches their values and preferences
  • Patrons, especially return shoppers, expect a high level of consistency on all channels

Point 4: In-Store Functionality – Brick-and-Mobile

A frequently-cited survey of 3,000 Gen Z’ers and Millennials conducted by Verve revealed that 1 in 4 customers use their smartphones during in-store visits for navigation, product guidance, and item comparison. That means that 25% of one of the largest ecommerce target demographics prefer to gain store knowledge and make purchases via cell phone while on-location. In addition to these features, you can provide other tools to your oxymoronic in-store/mobile shoppers:

  • Product guides
    • Supply visual, interactive, digital product maps and descriptions
    • Provide via mobile tablets, computer kiosks, or smart devices
      • Patrons can view detailed product specifications
      • Makes customers feel confident and informed
    • Decreases amount of time spent in-store or getting frustrated
    • Increases the number of in-store pickups
  • Chatbots and self-help kiosks
  • Kiosks for locating products or price-checking
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants can answer FAQs or request a store associate

Point 5: Check Out – Avoiding Abandonment

The winter season is a prevalent time for mobile cart abandonment. Rushed, stressed, or exasperated holiday shoppers are likely to prematurely exit their mobile transaction, whether on an app or mobile site, if the check-out process is too complicated or lengthy. You can simplify your store’s check-out system by adopting tools that reduce friction and obstacles:
  • One-click checkout
    • Fast, easy, convenient, and secure
    • Requires only relevant details and necessary info
      • Minimizes cart abandonment significantly
    • Allow “guest checkout” to retain customers who shy away from creating an entire user profile
  • Increased popularity and usage of mobile wallets
    • Apple Pay, Venmo, Google Pay, Due, PayPal, etc.
  • Self-service methods
    • Click-and-collect counter for online order pick-up
    • App or mobile usage for skip-the-line features
    • Self-pay kiosks and virtual check-out assistants

Moving Forward with Your Holiday Mobile Strategies

During the holiday season, shoppers must trudge through tiers of marketing campaigns and dozens of ecommerce stores, so it’s especially important to be aware of new pop-culture trends and cutting-edge mobile technology to stand out amongst other brands. Formulating a versatile omni-channel strategy for holiday marketing (and implementing it early) is the best way to lean into the fast-approaching winter shopping season. Now that we’ve illustrated some of the best practices for omni-channel, holiday campaigns, you’re ready to tackle your winter marketing season with a knowledge of mobile trends and developments.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay and Unsplash

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