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5 Mobile Strategies to Make Marketers Merry During the Holidays … and Beyond

Written on
Dec 12, 2013 
Author
Joseph Pigato  |

ADOTAS – The shopping habits of the customer are changing dramatically every year with the soaring fanatic mobile user base and rapidly improving capabilities of smartphones and tablets.

As a marketer, the critical question is: Are you getting a piece of this holiday pie?


Shopping has entered a new era, and we’re seeing consumer shopping evolve in ways we never imagined. Ninety percent of parents with smartphones who shopped on Black Friday did so on mobile devices, most often in the comfort of their homes. With nearly one in every five e-commerce sales being made on a mobile device, companies need to optimize their mobile sales efforts. Here are a few tips to stand out during the crazy holiday shopping season.

1. Build a Mobile-Optimized Site. In a recent study, The Search Agency found only nine of Fortune’s top 100 brands have mobile sites with responsive web design and 47 have dedicated mobile sites. That means 44 of the world’s top brands simply haven’t bothered to deliver anything but the desktop version of their sites to mobile users. Further, they noted the average page load time was approximately five seconds, a laughable stat when compared to the Google recommended one-second load time duration. If page loads take three seconds or longer, 57 percent of viewers are likely to drop off and go somewhere else.

User expectations are increasing. Consumers demand mobile-friendly layouts, easy navigation, and instant page loads. Failure to accommodate these expectations risks a significant drop in mobile website success.

2. Target Tablets for Couch Commerce. According to eMarketer, only 39 percent of smartphone owners have made a purchase on a smartphone, compared to the 63 percent of tablet users who have made purchases on tablets. But while tablets are, of course, mobile devices, nearly 75 percent of all purchases on tablets are made at home, most often on the couch. Thus “couch commerce” is emerging as a significant retailer focus. With the increasing number of tablets in the market, volume of tablet users, likelihood to purchase and superior shopping experience on a larger screen, tablets are the go-to option when it comes to holiday shopping. People who research products on tablets are nearly three times as likely to buy as those searching on smartphones.

3. Place a Premium on Pictures. Photos on mobile are the new “holiday window shopping.” Consumers scurry along sidewalks bustling with shoppers to scan interesting products in windows. Replicate this experience on mobile with visuals and you’ll have a rapt audience.

Facebook posts containing images generate 39 percent more interaction than text-based posts. It’s no surprise then that people respond to images on the web. In addition to boosting fan response on Facebook mobile, visually driven sites like Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Wanelo are great ways to get eyeballs on your products. All have extremely high mobile-use rates. Unlike paid advertisements, content from these visually driven sites is free, shareable and comes with a peer-to-peer undercurrent that people value.

4. Make Room for “Web-rooming.” Eighty-eight percent of shoppers now prefer to research products online or on mobile and buy in brick-and-mortar stores. This trend, known as “web-rooming,” is becoming increasingly common as people browse from the privacy of their own homes. Fifty-five percent of parents who own smartphones expect to check availability of items on mobile before going to a store to make purchases. Then with research in hand, they purchase gifts inside the store. Often, consumers prefer to buy products in person because they need to see them, try them on, test them, etc. This is most common for clothing, electronics and appliances.

The holidays add another wrinkle as well: people still want in-store experiences for the sentimental value and experience of holiday shopping. They are more willing to deal with the frustration of traffic, parking, and crowds during the holidays, though many indicate they are happy to use mobile shopping to avoid truly chaotic shopping days like Black Friday and the day after Christmas.

Web-rooming should be accompanied by tried-and-true strategies: ensuring all prices and promotions are the same online as they are in-store; helping customers add items to their wish lists for access in-store; and showing customers whether the merchandise they’re interested in is stocked on store shelves. Make the online shopping experience as close to an in-person shopping experience as possible by having your site act as a virtual salesperson that can tell customers all they need to know.

5. Engage Throughout the Year. A lot of the mobile holiday retail battle is won well before the holidays. In many cases, the most successful marketers will have already built connections on social media earlier in the year and will have established positive, somewhat frequent interaction with customers on mobile. That way, holiday strategies aren’t built on a foundation of pure tactics, but rather, a network of relationships.

This year-round engagement strategy offers a leg up on competitors, and it also better equips marketers to understand which products and promotions will be most appreciated the closer we get to Christmas. Marketers who capture holiday shoppers will pay attention to those same customers throughout the year – not just during December.





Joseph Pigato is the Managing Director of Sparked mobile-first customer engagement platform, where he heads marketing strategy and product development. With more than 14 years at b2b and b2c web companies, Joseph Pigato has worked with clients such as Google, Sony, HP, Toyota, Intel, HSBC, Qantas, China Unicom and others to build and lead innovative technology startups in seven cities across four continents. Sparked was founded in 2009 to connect people with their favorite organizations, working with companies like LinkedIn, Google, SAP, and Kraft. Follow Joseph on Twitter @josephpigato.

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