How to Bring Your Retail Business into the Mobile Landscape

With the ever-increasing number of consumers who use mobile devices to research and make online and in-store purchases, e-commerce and retail businesses must shift their digital marketing focus to remain current and competitive.

From a retail perspective, it might be difficult to fully realize the power of mobile devices. Let’s take a look at some of the key numbers showing the correlation between mobile and retail purchases: 

  • An astounding 78 percent of people searching for local businesses and/or services on their smartphone end up making a purchase – that’s 17 percent more than PC and laptop searches and 14 percent more than tablet searches.
  • 82 percent of smartphone users consistently reach for their phone to look up additional information about a purchase they’re about to make in-store.
  • Nearly half (44 percent) of consumers say they want companies to send coupons and special offers directly to their mobile devices.
  • Mobile purchases will account for 24 percent of all e-commerce purchases by the end of 2017 – so if you’re not capitalizing on mobile, you’re potentially losing one in every four e-commerce purchases to your competitors who are using this knowledge to their benefit.

How do you go about optimizing your marketing strategy for a mobile world?

Three of the most important factors affecting the success of a retailer’s mobile marketing strategy are whether or not it effectively:

1. Aligns with the customer’s intent in the moment of their search.

You must be familiar with what your prospective customers are searching for on their mobile phones, whether it be asking a question about a particular product, doing a price comparison, searching for current special offers or any other common search trends and queries.

Understanding the unique needs of your clientele will help ensure you have the answer, solution, product or special offer they need in order to take action, whether that means visiting your physical storefront or making a purchase online.

2. Takes the context of the shopper’s search into consideration.

Even if you understand the needs of your customer base, your mobile marketing efforts may fall short if you fail to also consider the context in which the mobile user is carrying out their search. In other words, once you understand their intent and how to tailor your marketing accordingly, you must also consider factors such as the time of day and location where they are searching, as these details alter the way you customize your approach.

For example, if a user is searching for reviews of a product you carry while inside your store, you want to approach your mobile ads with specific, ready-to-buy ads because they are so close to actually purchasing that product from you.  

3. Shows up with relevant and helpful information in the immediate moment of the shopper’s search.

If your website, ads, blogs or other content pieces aren’t showing up at the precise moment the shopper is looking for an answer or solution, you will likely lose this lead to a competitor who is there and available.

But merely showing up in the right moment isn’t enough. The information presented to the user must also be relevant to their needs and offer a simple and accurate solution to whatever it is that motivated them to reach for their smartphone.

Don’t be discouraged by the bigger stores

When it comes to mobile marketing, it’s easy to feel discouraged by the big-box stores in your area who likely have more mobile marketing success simply because people are familiar with their brand. However, keep in mind that one in three smartphone users end up making a purchase from a local company, and that business is not the one for which they initially searched.

Why are roughly 33 percent of all smartphone users choosing a different company than what they originally intended? It all boils down to the ability of this lesser-known company to be there with the information the shopper needed at the precise search moment. Not only can this lead to more purchases based on that search alone, but it also helps build awareness about your brand.

How to know if your mobile marketing strategy is serving its purpose

If you’ve taken the steps necessary to bring your retail business into the mobile landscape, it’s important that you check the effectiveness of these efforts on a regular basis. To do this, perform a few searches related to your industry on your mobile device, and then answer the following questions:

  • Is your business showing up? If it is, put yourself in the role of the consumer. Is the information your company is offering helpful, relevant and action-oriented?
  • If you’re not there, what companies are there and what are they doing differently (and more effectively) than you are?

After answering these questions, you might feel like your mobile strategy needs a pick-me-up. There is a lot of learning associated with local business digital marketing; you have some trial and error steps ahead of you before you’re going to get it right, but it’s important that you keep learning and working on your brand’s mobile presence.

Want to learn more about how mobile affects retail consumer habits? Download our research, Holiday Shopping with a Local, Mobile Twist, to see how your audience shops for retailers like you!

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