The mass adoption of smartphones has proven to be a huge opportunity for retailers—and a huge challenge for those that haven’t jumped on board. Moreover, even the brands that have decided to make mobile a priority in 2015 and beyond, may not see the return on investment they anticipate.
According to a new survey conducted by Kelton Global and RetailMeNot, there’s a growing divide between consumer expectations for retail content on smartphones and mobile investment by retailers.
Mobile devices arm shoppers with instant access to retailer content: A simple search on a smartphone reveals popular products and current promotions. Yet a staggering 20 percent of retailers said that measuring mobile’s impact on their sales was either not important or they were neutral on the issue. This could prove to be a huge miss for retailers as they head into 2016 planning.
Here are four insights retailers should keep in mind as they strategize how to appropriately leverage the power of mobile:
1. Consumers are willing to share information, but they want something in return.
The majority of consumers (89 percent) are willing to share personal information with the brands they trust; and for millennials, who are virtually tied to their phones 24/7, this percentage rises considerably. However, in exchange, consumers want more personalized, information-rich content. Data and consumer-provided information can be a powerful tool as retailers begin to determine the types of promotional content, products, and other information they share with customers on their mobile devices.
2. Mobile content is a major influencer of all channels, with in-store leading the pack.
Deal-savvy consumers know what they want and how to find it at the best price. Retailers, however, must focus on making the shopper’s journey seamless, from search to browse to buy. When surveyed on where they redeemed the last retail promotion code, digital coupon, or online offer found on their smartphone, consumers said a physical store (29 percent), that same smartphone (26 percent), and on a computer (20 percent). While mobile’s impact on in-store sales is often highlighted by retailers—with good reason—what this data suggests is that mobile is heavily influencing decisions across all channels.
3. Content found in email and general shopping apps are the top drivers for consumers.
General shopping apps—sometimes referred to as mega apps (apps with mass consumer adoption that serve as a destination that shoppers continuously return to)—are the leader at driving consumers in-store (35 percent). When it comes to online, consumers noted that emails from a retailer on their mobile device are most likely to compel them to visit a particular store (60 percent), but content found on general shopping apps (e.g., rebates, loyalty, or promotions) closely follow (57 percent). However, this is where the gap in mobile content that retailers are providing begins to widen—The bulk of marketers’ efforts are still focused on mobile display and search advertising.
4. Continuously evaluate all forms of mobile content and measurement.
Nearly all retailers surveyed (93 percent) said that their brand takes an always-on approach to some form of mobile marketing, which is great news. However, according to Forrester Research, only 13 percent of digital-business professionals track their companies’ mobile audiences across online and offline channels. While attribution models can often be challenging, proper measurement of your brand’s mobile efforts throughout the customer journey will help better position marketing efforts in the future—and remove any disconnect with the consumer. By building partnerships with measurement and retail content experts, brands will be better poised to take a 360-degree look at their mobile efforts.
Smartphones aren’t going away anytime soon. With that in mind, retailers must do more in order to reach and engage with consumers on these devices. Mobile shoppers are armed and ready. Do you really want to be in the 20 percent that isn’t tracking mobile success after the holidays?
Photo by blackzheep/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Michael Jones is Senior Vice President of Retail and Brand Solutions, RetailMeNot.