‘Mobile Black Friday’ Coming Your Way Soon
The crazy-busy day we know as Black Friday is fast-becoming “Mobile Black Friday,” and retailers need to take heed. With the amount of shopping done by mobile continuing to skyrocket, it’s now more imperative than ever that retailers have a mobile strategy for the holiday season.
Consider for a moment the amount of Black Friday activity moving to mobile. (Black Friday, for those outside the U.S., is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday of November, that marks the beginning of the busiest shopping season of the year.) Last year, according to IBM, 28 percent of online sales for Black Friday came via mobile devices, an increase of 28 percent from 2013. Furthermore, 50 percent of online traffic for Black Friday was from mobile devices, up 25 percent over 2013.
Then comes Cyber Monday, which is quickly transitioning into Mobile Monday. This year’s projections show that half of consumers are planning to buy gifts from their smartphones, according to an e-tailing 2014 survey, and 75 percent are planning to use their smartphones for shopping in-store, according to a Google/Ipsos MediaCT study.
As these numbers tell, the opportunity for retailers to engage consumers through mobile on Black Friday to Christmas (and beyond) is significant. And it’s not just offers that consumers are looking for during the holiday season. They want gift ideas as well. Even though Black Friday is a week away, there's still time to deploy a mobile campaign, even for retailers with little mobile experience.
One of the simplest and most reliable mobile channels for a holiday campaign is text messaging. In a mobile world of multiple technologies, messaging is the one common denominator through which all mobile devices communicate. This makes text messaging a perfect starting point for any retailer embarking on a maiden campaign.
To help retailers — whether mobile novices or mobile veterans — make the most of a messaging campaign, here are two steps that should be a part in getting your campaign up and running in time for the holidays:
- Gaining customer opt-ins: Before you can engage your customers via text messaging, you must get their explicit permission to do so. Variations in laws require single or double opt-in from customers, so it’s important that you establish your opt-in database from the start. Letting your customers know how you intend to use their information — in this case, for marketing — is critical to building trust. However, obtaining this permission doesn’t have to be complex, and launching an opt-in campaign doesn’t require complicated technology integrations or support from an IT team. Retailers can start to build their holiday opt-in databases using special offers. The key to getting consent is to present enticing offers. For example, a retailer may ask customers to opt in to receive 20 percent off their next purchase. This will eventually lead to a database of customers who have explicitly agreed to be contacted through mobile, so you can better target your text message communications.
- Making sure phone numbers are accurate: Verifying phone numbers of consumers has now become a critical part of mobile marketing for retailers that want to increase their return on investment. This can be done initially to ensure all numbers collected during opt-in are correct, and after a database has been built. Doing this can help retailers reduce costly failure rates for messages and increase effectiveness for campaigns. Moreover, number verification in tandem with the launching of a campaign ahead of the holiday season doesn’t require large investments. With the right technology partner, retailers can conduct effective mobile campaigns and scale when ready to introduce more advanced features, such as beacon updates and push notifications.
With mobile holiday shopping on the rise and text messaging offering a reliable channel, retailers should consider the important steps above to make the most of their campaigns.
Fatema Hamdani is vice president, mobile engagement and protection strategy, enterprise and intelligence solutions, at Syniverse, a company that develops mission-critical technology services designed to manage and interconnect voice and data systems.