Mobile is exploding. Last year, U.S. consumers were at a “mobile tipping point,” spending more time on mobile digital media than desktop media. According to the most recent findings from KPBC’s 2015 mobile technology trends, U.S. consumers have moved beyond that tipping point, spending 51 percent of their time on their mobile devices, significantly higher than the 42 percent of time spent on their desktops.
As retailers prepare for holiday sales, the most innovative will take advantage of this trend to leverage new ways to reach consumers, boost return on investment and ensure repeat visits using virtual and mobile gift card solutions. Already scrambling to prepare for the busy holiday season? The good news is that there's still time to create a virtual strategy before the holidays that will help you achieve demonstrable results. Here are five key actions you can take now:
1. Reach the procrastinating shopper this holiday season. Today’s consumers — most notably millennials — increasingly shop via digital channels like mobile devices, which can result in shopping cart abandonment. To fix this, retailers need to engage with consumers to incentivize behavior or reward frequent purchasing. If a consumer doesn’t complete a purchase started online, leaving their item(s) in a virtual basket, send an instant gift card to entice them to complete the sale. The smallest incentive, even $5, can turn a lost sale into a satisfied customer. And we know that, on average, consumers spend $23 more than the value of that original gift card, so you'll get the investment back many times over.
2. Incentivize your “rewards junkie” to buy more. From shopping to finding a great restaurant to booking a hotel, consumers crave brands that meet their needs quickly and efficiently — and reward them for their purchases. This concept is especially relevant when thinking about consumer loyalty programs. Sending promotions to physical mailboxes isn't a modern way to reach your customer. Today’s consumer wants ease of use and instant rewards, things which are best satisfied by gift cards shared directly to mobile devices. The ROI on this strategy proves it: 40 percent of all gift card recipients end up spending more than they originally planned because of an incentive being offered at the time of redemption.
3. Incentivize your instant gratification customer to promote a new behavior. The instant gratification shopper frequently turns to rewards that are easiest at hand, and these are often at their fingertips on mobile devices. As virtual gift cards become a key component in driving loyalty and building brand awareness, retailers need to ensure that signage is also mobile ready so consumers immediately understand their value. Gift card signage needs to be clear, concise and large to be impactful. Have a new app? Drive the instant gratification customer’s engagement by incentivizing them with a gift card when they download the app to their mobile phone.
4. Recognize your social media promoter. Forbes reported this year that 62 percent of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they're more likely to become a loyal customer. Spot positive brand messaging from a customer on Instagram? Reward it with a quick gift card. It's the fastest way to ensure they repeat the behavior and promote your brand over the holiday season.
5. Wrap it all up in a mobile wallet or app. Finally, the key to any successful virtual program is consumer participation in a mobile app or wallet. Given that 55 percent of consumers are interested in using a mobile app to store their gift card information, retailers have an opportunity to promote gift card registration in mobile apps. Once signed up, consumers have the ability to reload gift cards, and studies show that 50 percent of consumers who reload prepaid cards make additional purchases.
Euphemia Erikson is a director of client solutions, network and security solutions at First Data. To learn more about maximizing gift card revenue, check out First Data’s 2014 Prepaid Consumer Insights Study.