Rapid developments in mobile technology have impacted almost all industries, and for commerce, it has been a game changer. A popular option for online shoppers, mobile now accounts for 40% of online retail sales in the UK, according to IMRG.
However, from a user’s perspective, the mobile retail experience is still in need of some refinement. For those brands that haven’t quite nailed mobile yet, paying for products using a smartphone or tablet device can be a time-consuming and clumsy process for consumers trying to navigate unresponsive websites. As a result, shoppers are turned off by the retailer and driven to alternative platforms to make a purchase. In some unfortunate cases, they might even defect to a competitor who is more accommodating of their needs.
So how can retailers make the most of the mobile trend, and ensure that their e-commerce strategies are fully optimised for mobile shoppers? Here are some top tips for incorporating more effective mobile tactics and trends into your marketing strategy:
1. Implement Dynamic Advertising Into Your Marketing Campaign
We’ve seen a lot of hype around social media in the last couple of years, with new platforms seemingly unearthed and imagined every year. Brands have enthusiastically climbed on the bandwagon, building engagement, conversing with consumers and responding to queries via the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Periscope.
The 2016 festive period saw an increasing number of retailers drawn to the creative possibilities offered by social. John Lewis and Sainsbury’s, for example, experimented with new smartphone applications such as Snapchat to boost visibility. Additionally, customer service-oriented Twitter accounts proved popular with frustrated Christmas shoppers, while Instagram users documented the season with photo uploads captioned with hashtags, such as #christmasshopping which was used 401,564 times.
To take social a step further, brands should consider the use of dynamic ads. These targeted adverts allow retailers to trial more effective ways of personalised marketing, using data pulled on consumer browsing and purchasing behaviour. Dynamic ads cannot only improve customer experience, but also reduce the need to configure thousands of individual ads, which can be time-consuming and ineffective. Facebook was the first to offer dynamic ads, but Instagram will now be rolling out the same tool, which will be available to the 98% of users who are exclusively accessing the app from a mobile device.
2. Avoid A Hard Sell And Head To The Marketplace
Online marketplaces have grown in popularity and are now the first port-of-call for over a third of online consumers. Demand has been astounding, with marketplaces like Amazon representing 51% of all retail growth in the US during the last quarter of 2016.
Even smaller retailers that had previously deemed marketplaces too challenging can now opt to pay for services such as Fulfilment by Amazon to reap the benefits. In addition to distribution and logistics services, marketplaces offer boutique retailers access to a wider pool of consumers who may not have previously headed directly to their website or, organically found them in a search on Google.
The capabilities and convenience offered by marketplaces, including online tools and services such as auctioning and multiple listings, have added to their popularity among retailers. Embracing marketplaces will allow retailers to take advantage not only of the ready-made services on offer, but also consumers’ new-found reliance on these sites as a one-stop-shop for online purchases.
3. It’s As Easy As A To Z… Google Indexing
Change is afoot for Google. For the first time ever, Google is ‘splitting its index’ to list mobile and desktop searches separately.
But what is this ‘index’? Have you ever considered the order in which the results are presented by your Google search? Why do certain websites get priority to sit at the top of the list, while others are hidden two or three pages back?
In the past, Google has listed results based on things like popularity and relevancy. But, in an industry first, it is now dividing its findings into two indexes (lists of search results) for desktop and mobile. This means that if a brand’s website is not optimised for mobile, it will appear in the desktop index, but not in the mobile index. Therefore, if online retail brands don’t want to miss out on visibility and reach in search results, they will need to think about building responsive websites that work on all platforms fluidly.
Advancements in technology are increasingly allowing consumers to become more mobile. In this vein, businesses – particularly in the retail sector – should be looking to adopt a ‘mobile-first’ mind-set with a focus on responsive websites, tailored social campaigns and harnessing the power of marketplaces. This approach to marketing will not only capture the attention of time-poor, brand promiscuous consumers who flit from device to device, but it will also help retail brands keep their heads above the competition of a crowded and ever-aggressive sector.