Smartphones and tablets are the ultimate business tools, the coolest technologies and the biggest distractions any of us have ever seen. In the United States, 42% of American adults own a tablet computer; 58% of all adults carry smartphones, and they often turn to their favorite shopping sites and apps just to pass the time. That spells opportunity for the mobile-savvy retailer.
But helping your mobile audience engage with you online or on-site is not as simple as creating an app, text club or QR code offer. Here are four ways retailers can make the most of their mobile audience:
1. Adopt a mobile-first mentality
Here’s what you know: Customers come to your site to find merchandise, get information and—most importantly—to purchase.
But here’s what you might not know: More than 55% of consumers use mobile devices to access the web — and the number keeps growing every year. Your mobile website is more likely to be the face of your retail organization than even your retail location or your desktop site.
And for many consumers, their mobile experience will largely determine if they will purchase from you. Latitude, a marketing and research firm, recently reported, “61% of U.S. consumers have a better opinion of brands that offer a compelling mobile experience than brands that do not, and 40% will turn to a retailer’s competitor based on a bad mobile experience.” Deloitte also reports that 58% of mobile shoppers use their devices in-store and are 14% more likely to convert than their non-smartphone-touting fellow shoppers.
2. Target based on analytics
Mobile shopping revenue is projected to reach $57.8 billion in 2014—up 37.2% from $42.1 billion in 2013. There’s a lot riding on your ability to reach the right consumers with the right message on their mobile device.
With the incredible growth of mobile purchases, mobile consumers are more than a subset of your web analytics report—much more. As mobile consumers engage with you online, you can determine time spent on a page, number of returns to that page, average page views before making a purchase and more. But with in-store consumers also using smartphones as they shop, you can measure their path through your store, how long they spend in front of certain displays and even try A/B testing by varying the same display in two different stores.
3. Increase social engagement
You don’t always know whether your audience is on a desktop or mobile at any given point, but you can be sure that their mobile is connected to their social account. Here are some of the most effective strategies for turning social followers into brand advocates and increasing mobile conversions through social:
- Interact with your customer base – Respond to comments, thank your evangelists, and handle your detractors (tastefully).
- Send out platform-only promos – People want to feel like they are part of something special. Release an offer only for your Twitter followers (or Facebook, or Pinterest, etc.), and measure code redemptions to assign value to the promotion.
- Use it for customer service – Did you know that 42% of consumers complaining in social media expect an answer from you within an hour? While some just like to vent, others take their concerns to social media because it’s a convenient way to garner an authentic response. Don’t lose customers by missing an opportunity to tweet them back. Do it within an hour, and you might turn a detractor into a brand advocate that purchases (read: converts) over and over again.
How to know It’s working
The success or failure of your mobile strategy depends entirely on customer data. How they’re interacting with your company on mobile devices won’t always match industry trends, and you need to be able to react fast to make the right changes to your strategy.
But even the most detailed analytics and thorough strategies aren’t accurate enough if you’re working from static reports. Retailers still face the overarching challenge of seeing how all their data works together, in real time. Retailers with business management platforms that cut out middlemen and give them accurate, real-time data will always have a leg up on the competition.