You’ve likely included some form of mobile marketing in your holiday campaign (brand marketers would be crazy not to have!). But we’re nearing the ninth inning of holiday shopping, and retailers are looking for one last boost this season. Well, there’s still time to amplify your efforts and make the most of mobile.
Mobile is decidedly the most impactful force behind shoppers this season. And according to eMarketer, it will play a large part in holiday sales this year with U.S. retail m-commerce sales projected to grow 32.2 percent over last year. Additionally, mobile is influencing shoppers across channels, so retailers should be prepared to meet the crowds in their stores as well as those shopping from the comforts of their couch.
While investing in mobile tactics for the long-term is a must, there are several short-term mobile strategies that retailers can still leverage in order to reach more consumers this holiday season.
1. Train in-store staff to be digitally savvy.
Target’s new innovation initiative, LA25, is making sure that retail employees are armed with knowledge and know-how when it comes to each of the brand’s digital channels. Digital service ambassadors will be available in stores to help customers with questions about things like the Target mobile app and Cartwheel, and in-store pickup. It’s not too late for retailers to do a pulse check on their customer service and in-store teams. Mid-season, retailers can make an effort to check in on their managers and holiday staff to gauge any potential challenges faced so far in helping the mobile shopper. This will allow store staff to find solutions and increase customer service skills for the season’s final shoppers who walk in store with a smartphone in hand.
2. Reach on-the-go consumers via social channels.
RetailMeNot recently launched a campaign with Snapchat during the “Five Days of Savings,” from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Using location-based ads near 3,000 shopping centers, Snapchat users were able to utilize RetailMeNot’s branded graphics and filters on the platform, helping it to be top of mind for shoppers—especially millennials (and, yes, I had to have a tutorial). Brands like Target and Macy’s are also taking advantage of the social trend by testing out Instagram’s new Marquee offering, a takeover-style ad on the app.
There are still plenty of possibilities for brands wanting to reach consumers through their social channels. Everything from sharing celebrity brand-ambassador photos to partnering with social media influencers and tapping into popular hashtags or memes can help retailers join the conversations being had by consumers.
3. Tie in mobile efforts with more traditional holiday promotions.
Starbucks is the retail mobile gold standard in many ways, and the brand continues to think of new ways to seamlessly tie in its mobile app with more traditional in-store campaigns. This season, the brand has started Merry Mondays, where members can find exclusive offers every Monday afternoon when they make a purchase using their Starbucks app or registered card. By utilizing promotional offers that rely on mobile app engagement, the coffee giant will increase awareness of its mobile capabilities as well as tap into valuable holiday spending trends and data among its customers.
4. Seek out additional promotional opportunities.
The wonderful thing about mobile marketing is that it’s flexible for advertisers, and there are opportunities to jump in at any time. Brands can reassess their marketing efforts halfway through the season and still find ways to partner with promotional platforms to extend their marketing reach. Partners who have large, highly engaged consumer bases can help retailers reach additional audiences and tap into more mobile moments with tactics like optimized emails, display ad and app placements, and app-to-app linking. Shoppers are coming early and staying late this season, so now is the time to invest in any remaining channels.
Throughout December, shoppers will continuously be looking to their mobile devices for purchase inspiration, price comparison, and more. Retailers with the strongest mobile strategy are likely to be the season’s biggest winners. But if you don’t act soon, the competition will skate right past you into 2016.
Photo by Maggie Smith/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Michael Jones is Senior Vice President of Retail and Brand Solutions, RetailMeNot.