The holiday shopping season will be here before you know it. Now is the time retailers need to think about all the ways mobile marketing can help them reach their goals.
Here's five ways they can:
Responsive design. With the growing number of emails being opened on a mobile device (surpassing 50 percent or more), optimizing email rendering to create a great customer experience is critical this holiday season. But why then have nearly a third of marketers surveyed at my company's recent conference indicated they have not utilized responsive design for email yet? While responsive design is more difficult to produce, marketers who implement responsive design report a 20 percent increase in clicks and conversions on average. Start slowly by isolating one or two responsive-designed emails to track and measure the impact for your brand and then proceed with a full rollout in time for the holidays. Survey results from attendees of "The World Has Gone Mobile" at Responsys Interact 2013.
Apps, push, and cross-channel triggers. App development ranked second to only mobile measurement in terms of a marketer's top mobile priorities for 2013, according to a recent Responsys survey. If you're a leading retailer who still does not have an app, build now and consider using the holiday season to launch and promote it. If you already have an app, look to enable push notification and inbox messaging to help promote your marketing efforts. Location-based offers and geo-fencing may also be considered and tested to help drive store traffic and marketing success during the holidays. Finally, location signals from push may also be used to trigger cross-channel-orchestrated messaging across email, SMS, and Passbook if your marketing provider and/or system can connect app users to the customer record. Be sure your marketing provider can also support orchestrated messaging across channels to improve the program's efficiency and to maximize success.
Passbook/Google Wallet. While the popularity of Passbook/Google Wallet continues to increase, a growing number of retailers are embracing Passbook/Google Wallet to encourage customers to load loyalty cards, coupons, and more. Consider using email and SMS to introduce and promote Passbook/Google Wallet to your subscribers, and be sure to explain the benefits and appropriate call-to-action to encourage usage. Finally, use holdout groups to measure its impact and track the increase in incremental in-store sales.
SMS remains the workhorse of mobile marketing. Leverage the ubiquitousness of SMS to promote marketing programs offline as well as through text messaging. Consider in-store signage and promotional initiatives to encourage incremental spend and text messaging signups. Create program flows that enable the consumer to not only sign up, but to provide her email address and location. This helps tie phone numbers to the right customer records, which in turn enables marketers to produce highly targeted offers and messaging. Finally, it is also important to note that as you add new mobile channels, providing consumers access to an expanded preference center to control what messages they receive where and the frequency of those messages is paramount. Automated technologies may also be used to trigger additional messaging based on behaviors (e.g., didn't open an email) to help expand reach and response without overwhelming the consumer.
In-store Wi-Fi. In-store Wi-Fi is increasing in popularity. For retailers that are embracing and testing in-store Wi-Fi, it offers numerous opportunities including the ability to measure in-store traffic and competitive online shopping and price comparing. However, the future and opportunity of in-store Wi-Fi will continue to evolve. It will enable marketers to have the ability to capture important consumer behaviors during a brick-and-mortar experience, and potentially serve up offers to individual shoppers based on their behaviors and interests with the appropriate permissions. Finally, Wi-Fi offers and shopping behaviors may even be tied to POS systems enabling marketers to close the loop on the journey from pre-shopping communications to behaviors during an in-store visit to post-shopping up-sell/cross-sell offers. Continued developments including gaining permission to market and match consumers to existing databases while in-store will allow leading retailers to tie behaviors across online and offline activities. Several leading retailers now offering in-store Wi-Fi are currently exploring new and exciting activities on this front.
If the 2013 holiday season is a continuation of last year's trends, shoppers will be more likely than ever to turn to their mobile devices to view offers, comparison shop in-store, and purchase goods and services. The marketers who embrace the mobile mindset and offer an optimized mobile experience across email, web, apps, Passbook, and in-store will be well positioned to drive success in the coming months.
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Michael Della Penna is senior vice president of emerging channels at Responsys. His responsibilities include spearheading the overall strategic direction, partnerships, and solution offering across emerging channels including social and mobile for the company. Michael is a seasoned marketing professional with a long, proven track record of launching successful marketing, branding, and sales strategies for leading public and private companies. Most recently, Michael founded SuiteDialog, a full-service email and social CRM agency that helps brands ignite conversations and cultivate relationships with customers across the social web. Prior to SuiteDialog, Michael founded Conversa Marketing, a social CRM company that was acquired by StrongMail Systems in 2010. Before branching out on his own, Michael served as chief marketing officer for Epsilon, a leading provider of multichannel, data-driven marketing services. Michael's other key marketing leadership roles include CMO at Bigfoot Interactive, VP of strategic development at CNET Networks, Inc., and VP of marketing at ZDNet. Michael received a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from Hofstra University.