I know what you’re thinking. One of my “3 Ways to Maximize the Mobile Inbox” will definitely be responsive design. Sorry to disappoint, but it didn’t make the list. I’m sure by now you have already heard the “responsive design” recommendation loud and clear. It has emerged as the best way to design and code messages to reach a variety of screen sizes, but there are several other ways to make your content more engaging and functional for mobile openers without changing your design process or investing in new technology.
It’s easy to overthink and overcomplicate mobile optimization initiatives. New devices are being introduced all of the time. Screen sizes are getting larger. Emerging technologies (I’m looking at you beacons and wearables) have started to steal the spotlight from the more traditional ways to reach subscribers who use multiple devices to shop across channels.
Let’s put our feet on the ground and explore a few practical strategies for reaching mobile shoppers with engaging tap opportunities to drive sales.
If you dig deep into your open data, you will likely find that total open rates, which include multiple opens by a single subscriber, have increased in recent years. Going even deeper, you may find that these opens are occurring on a mix of devices. Many subscribers will open your message on one device with plans to view the message again later on another. Some even use tools such as Google Inbox’s snooze feature to remind them to reopen the message.
Anticipate multiple opens across devices by including content that gives the multiple opener calls to action that go beyond “click here.” Deeper links to a product’s ratings and reviews or its image gallery could help the subscriber access detailed information on a product they are considering buying without having to navigate to the full product page.
Multiple openers may also be bouncing across channels. Help these shoppers find their way by going beyond a basic store locator link. Include detailed store information and test whether street addresses and phone numbers open related GPS and phone apps on popular devices. This usually only requires that the information be entered in a common format for a phone number or street address. No additional coding necessary.
Explain the Offer
Cross-channel offers can be confusing for many subscribers. Many retailers struggle to accept coupons shown on mobile devices at point of sale and those who can accept the offers do so in a wide variety of ways. Don’t assume your subscriber will understand if the offer can be shown at the register or if the coupon needs to be printed. Whether you’re rolling out a new couponing technology or just seeing low adoption rates for these in-store offers, try dedicating some copy space to explain what the subscriber needs to do to take advantage of the discount…and don’t bury it in the fine print.
Decrease the Purchase Pressure
Consumers expect a seamless shopping experience regardless of the devices and channels being used, and retailers must keep the process engaging and entertaining as a shopper considers a purchase. Many of the strategies used to connect channels, such as in-store pickup or even placing an item in a shopping cart, can potentially make the shopper feel like they are over-committing to the purchase when they are still casually shopping. Whether in triggered messages, such as product page abandonment and shopping cart reminders, or in your regular promotional emails, explore ways to help the consumer shop without making them panic and leave your site. Including a call to action in your shopping cart to print your cart or save as a shopping list can give shoppers a way to build wish lists they can take into a store location. Dedicate a customer service themed email in your abandonment series to reminding customers they can call with questions, or offer to schedule an appointment with a store staff member in their area.
There are so many exciting new technologies available for marketing to mobile shoppers. It’s thrilling to see e-commerce continue to evolve at such a rapid pace. But while it’s worth spending time and investing money in some new tools, don’t ignore some of the simple yet effective solutions that will help you engage these on-the-go shoppers today. The data and insights you gain from these tactics will help you make informed decisions about which new technologies and features will keep your customers coming back for more.
Jim Davidson is Head of Research for Bronto Software