The Post-Pandemic State of Mobile, Part 1: How Mobile Data Overcomes Today’s Retail Challenges
There’s no denying that 2020 fundamentally changed how consumers interact with brands. Smart marketers realized the need to understand changes in consumer behavior and leveraged consumer behavior data to develop effective retail strategies. Digital engagement initiatives — in particular, mobile engagement (text, mobile wallet, and mobile app push notifications and inbox) — have continued to drive success for brands across the board. The intimacy and authenticity created by mobile engagement, and the data it produces, is a valuable resource to overcome the challenges presented by rapidly changing customer behavior.
Now in 2021, as retailers start to see budgets loosen, they're faced with high expectations. Mobile for marketing, servicing, and loyalty can serve as a key strategy for driving high return on investment and consumer engagement for brands. As the most intimate channel, effective mobile engagement relies on highly personalized messages that are timely and relevant and can only be generated by data insights. Data from mobile engagement allows brands to craft a personal shopping journey for each consumer in an automated way. From initial welcome messages to personalized offers and post-shopping engagement, brands can connect with consumers on their most personal and trusted device.
Awareness and Reach
According to research, 99 percent of text messages are read within 90 seconds of being received. This demonstrates the massive reach of mobile engagement, and how receptive consumers are to this type of communication. So when a retailer is launching a new product or looking to notify shoppers about an upcoming sale, it’s only natural to gravitate to a platform that can inform a large and receptive audience. In addition, mobile engagement is personal in nature. Your phone is an extension of you; it’s how you build relationships and is a personal connection to the digital world. All of this, it goes without saying, makes mobile data extremely valuable for retailers, at a massive scale.
With the steady increase of messaging, the explosion of contactless experiences, and the acceleration of e-commerce, both the quantity and quality of data retailers have at their fingertips increased throughout 2020. Mobile-specific data unveils a variety of insights that allow retailers to build holistic shopping profiles and experiences. This data goes beyond the typical name, phone, email, country, carrier, and device type. It shows how and when consumers are using their most trusted device to engage with your brand. Knowing that a customer prefers to engage early in their day can help create new strategies to target customer segments like daily planners vs. impulse buyers, for example.
Bi-directional data integrations with the rest of retailers’ tech stacks can link data to larger shopping behaviors that allow them to provide more personalized, bespoke experiences for each individual shopper.
Engagement in Real Time
As more consumers utilize mobile and contactless experiences, the data can reveal unique buying behaviors that were previously unknowable. For example, using my earlier example, brands can determine precisely the right time of day to engage with a customer to maximize attention and effectiveness. This data can create entirely new segments of customers, who before now looked unrelated. The speed of mobile allows marketers to test content like never before. For example, one Vibes customer uses A/B testing in increments of 15 minutes to learn time-based buying behavior of its customer base.
Mobile Provides Adaptability and Nimbleness
2020 was a strange year. And potentially unlike any year we will ever see again. However, it provided a peek into the future. One where retailers are required to be more nimble than ever before and adapt their content to a world where daily events can change the meaning of content. Consumers have become hyperaware of physical interaction during both the shopping journey and the buying journey. And this behavior will last.
One Vibes customer saw that change and took action. It used mobile to make its entire shopping and buying journey 100 percent contactless across tens of thousands of physical locations. The only time the customer touches anything other than their phone is to take the physical merchandise after they’ve completed their transaction.
In part two of this series, I will explore mobile’s dominant role in click-and-collect/BOPIS and curbside pickup.
Alex Campbell is the co-founder and chief information officer at Vibes, a pioneer in mobile marketing engagement.
Alex Campbell is one of Vibes' co-founders as well as Chief Innovation Officer. For over 20 years, Alex has helped shape mobile marketing both within the company as well as the industry.