Modern Mobile Shopping Journeys: The Retail Keys to Success
Mobile has long been Americans' most popular and well-used screen, and that was cemented even more when we were all stuck at home for most of 2020 and early 2021. According to eMarketer, Americans spent over four-and-a-half hours daily on mobile last year.
For retailers, the growth of mobile is a huge opportunity — and increasingly a must-have part of their customer engagement strategies. At every stage of the shopping journey, mobile can — and should — play an important role.
Using Mobile to Engage Retail Shoppers
Retail marketing and advertising have always focused on meeting consumers where their consumption habits were while trying to reach as many eyeballs as they could. This used to be accomplished solely through television and other legacy media channels. However, as Americans shift and expand their media consumption habits, it behooves retailers to adjust their marketing accordingly.
If linear TV is no longer the only mass medium of the era, then what else is there? Increasingly, consumers are turning to mobile and apps. As Nielsen has noted, Americans spent over 30 hours a week watching TV and over 20 hours a week using mobile devices between July 2020 and September 2020. Likely, a healthy portion of time spent watching TV and on your mobile devices overlaps in the same sitting.
As such, advertising within apps is an ideal option for retailers. Through mobile and apps, retailers can see increased reach in these environments and capture the attention of the consumer — even while hearing that TV ad in the background.
Over half of Americans said they discover new products through mobile ads. In comparison, only 36 percent said they noticed ads on mobile websites.
There are many other ways for retailers to use mobile to boost awareness and consumer engagement. One increasingly popular way is through social media influencers, especially as time spent on mobile-first networks like Instagram and TikTok continues to rise. Worldwide, more than 25 percent of shoppers trust the recommendations of influencers, and most social platforms are looking to bolster their commerce chops.
Other options include:
- Email communications, as emails highlighting that someone has abandoned their virtual shopping cart have an average open rate of 40 percent and an average clickthrough rate of around 29 percent.
- Combining TV and mobile advertising, since two-thirds of global consumers report using their phones while watching television.
- Using a brand’s own app to communicate directly with consumers. For one, over 50 percent of consumers find push notifications from select apps useful some or all of the time. Furthermore, someone with a retail brand’s app is 19 percent more likely to visit their brick-and-mortar location compared to non-app owners.
- A brand’s own social media channels, as around 90 percent of social media users will reach out directly to retailers through these platforms. Furthermore, 21 percent of people in the U.S. and U.K. discovered new brands via social media in 2020.
- A third-party marketplace app like Amazon or eBay, which can help with discovery. After all, 69 percent of people will look up a product online before coming to a physical store to make a purchase.
Using Mobile to Simplify the Shopping Journey
While some may prefer to purchase through mobile apps, others may prefer to use already popular e-commerce platforms and marketplaces. Still others may want items shipped directly to them, while some consumers will want to pick up in-store (including curbside pickup). And on top of all this, 46 percent of consumers look up products and conduct research on items while shopping in-store.
Omnichannel shopping is now the norm. As a result, retailers need to offer consumers multiple ways to buy so that they can choose the method that best suits them.
The key to unlocking omnichannel shopping success is mobile. It's the connective tissue for retailers to build best-in-breed omnichannel experiences. Not only will mobile drive footfall and help consumers make more informed choices when they’re in-store, but mobile can also be used to make direct purchases and facilitate purchase tracking and pickup. Innovation in areas such as augmented reality capabilities for in-store and at-home showrooming will only enhance mobile’s influence and separate the leading retailers as consumers come to expect a unique and seamless omnichannel experience.
Charting the Future of Retail and Mobile
We know retail shopping and media consumption habits have changed, although we're waiting to see how much they regress to pre-COVID norms. But nevertheless, we know mobile's importance in consumer shopping is here to stay and will continue to evolve as retailers embrace investing in their omnichannel experiences.
Justin Sparks is the head of vertical strategy at InMobi, the world's leading "Marketing Cloud."
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