With 84 percent of consumers relying on their mobile devices while in stores to search for sale items, compare prices, find gift ideas, read product reviews or check items off their shopping lists, retailers and store owners should be responding in kind, using the power and reach of the mobile experience to connect with shoppers the moment they walk in the door.
That is especially true if the goal of their overall game plan is to increase foot traffic and sales, and have more satisfied and loyal customers who’ll make return visits throughout the year -- not just during the holidays.
Enter in-location mobile engagement. As retailers and store owners move their marketing campaigns into the mobile realm during this important shopping season, it’s critical for them to understand the complexities, rules and opportunities for successful proximity or in-location marketing.
Retailers’ expectations and mobile tactics need to mesh with consumers’ behaviors and preferences. The following advice can help store owners better manage this year’s mobile-holiday marketing initiatives and start planning for 2015:
1. Let customers make the first move.
As the technology inside mobile phones becomes more sophisticated -- and the communicating technologies and beacons that locate consumers’ mobile devices have become more prevalent and invisible -- the concept of “opting in” has taken a back seat in the marketing world. But it’s a valid concept to keep in mind for proximity marketing: let customers make the first move and choose to engage.
Customer interest, engagement and loyalty are built on trust, and when customers decide to engage, they’re indicating a willingness to establish a brand relationship. If the ensuing mobile-marketing initiatives create satisfying, rewarding experiences, those consumers will turn their trust into habits, their habits into spending, and their spending into repeat visits.
Shower them with unwanted, uninvited communications, however, and you risk losing their interest, engagement and spending.
2. Remember that content is the key while technology is the messenger.
Everything that makes a mobile campaign successful -- opting in, app activation, brand engagement, in store time, redemption -- occur because of good content, regardless of the underlying technology.
Content received on a shopper’s small mobile screen has to be engaging, relevant and satisfying -- creating a customer who is eager to come back for a repeat performance. Brands and retailers can do themselves a favor by finding vendors that can provide the “how” in proximity marketing with a simple, reliable technology platform for the delivery of content in location. That then frees up the marketers to focus on the “what” -- compelling, well-targeted content and campaigns.
3. Deploy a laser-like focus on holiday initiatives.
Holiday aisles are already chock full of merchandise-laden tables, displays and offers around every corner, so focus mobile holiday initiatives on the very best of what’s available in a particular store, at a specific location, at a particular moment in time. That’s what true in-location marketing is all about.
Communicate that information to customers the moment they walk in the door, ready to engage.
4. Test, test again and then deploy.
Don’t be the shopper -- or the bedraggled clerk -- in line at the department store, swiping and re-swiping a phone, or frantically trying to enter a code or data into a sluggish computer, while 100 other customers wait in line.
Before launching any mobile campaign -- holiday or otherwise -- make sure it’s tested and re-tested thoroughly so that engagement and redemption are seamless, satisfying and quick. Or in other words, enjoyable.
5. Keep your campaigns reasonable and holiday-friendly.
Holidays are fun, festive and surprising, so let those factors govern your in-location holiday campaigns. Acknowledge the season in your messages and content, but also be respectful of your shoppers’ time constraints and numerous tasks and challenges. Offer the best products or promotions so that your efforts are not interpreted as intrusive, annoying and/or irrelevant. Customers will engage with great content, so make the content entertaining and holiday appropriate.
Remember that when your in-location mobile-marketing strategy is a seamless component of the overall marketing program, your customers will learn over time that they’re going to receive in-location mobile communications and messages only by walking into a specific, physical location. If what they encounter there is predictable and satisfying on a regular basis, they’ll learn from that experience, take advantage of it and come back for more. What store owner doesn’t want that?