Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Optimizing Mobile Marketing To Deliver The Ultimate Customer Experience

Let’s face it: today’s consumers — myself included — are obsessed with their mobile phones. In fact, recent research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project has indicated that 65% of adult smartphone owners sleep with their phone on or next to their bed.

The cutting-edge features of smartphones such as the iPhone and Android are great contributors to this evolution. From the instant communication of short message service (SMS), to the media-rich experiences in applications and the robust, yet compact, Internet experience of mobile web, smartphone technology seems to have it all. To that end, innovative retailers are leveraging mobile marketing strategies to interact with tech-savvy shoppers in the new era of customer engagement.

One of my recent retail experiences spotlights the potential impact of an effective mobile marketing strategy. Since I was in need of new furniture, I decided to search for the best deal during the red tag sales of Columbus Day. After conducting extensive research via my iPhone, I discovered that JCPenney carried the exact furniture style I was looking for, at the right price. Upon completing my purchase, I opened a JCPenney credit card, signed up for the rewards program, and opted in to the retailer’s email and SMS programs so I could be alerted when my bill was available and when I was eligible for deals.

A day after opting in, I received a “thank you” text and email, and a coupon for a future purchase. This retailer has hit all the touch points of the shopping process, securing me as a new customer and motivating me to consider additional purchases.

Although my personal shopping experience shows the power of mobility on an individual basis, the recent Retail TouchPoints Mobility Report drives these points home on an industry level. In the report, retail analysts and experts identified the customer-facing benefits of SMS, applications, quick response (QR) codes and geo-fencing strategies. Based on consumers’ position across the buying lifecycle, retailers can find the perfect message and channel to boost engagement. Some examples follow:

-SMS: Similar to my JCPenney experience, shoppers have “raised their hands” via SMS to receive news updates and specials directly in their text message inbox. Retailers such as Urban Outfitters, eBay and Victoria’s Secret have optimized this strategy by tapping into shopper history and preferences to send relevant, targeted messages.

-Applications: Mobile storefronts have changed the way shoppers browse, buy and interact with brands. Retailers including Sephora have set the bar high by creating a multi-media brand experience with videos, tutorials, customer ratings and reviews, and social media integration.

-Geo-location apps/geo-fencing: Applications such as foursquare have taken the mobile marketplace by storm. These programs turn everyday experiences into a game by promising check-in points, badges, offers and the greatest honor of all: to become the mayor of a location. When I enter a restaurant or store, I am anxious to check in and find out how many points I have earned. Retailers can take advantage of this “gamified” strategy to drive foot traffic. However, geo-fencing is moving to the forefront as a new way for retailers to push out digital coupons when a shopper is in a store aisle. The goals of this strategy are twofold: boost impulse purchases and increase basket size.

-QR Codes: These scannable codes allow retailers to connect the dots between print and digital marketing. For example, Crate and Barrel, Best Buy, and Macy’s have leveraged QR codes on in-store signage, catalogs and print advertisements. Once shoppers scan a code, they can obtain detailed product information, access to deals, and behind-the-scenes videos.

With the holiday season in full force, I find myself struggling to make the time to buy gifts for my friends and family. However, by simply tapping into my iPhone, I have the resources to research items, purchase gifts, redeem deals and share my wish list. Looks like it will be a jolly holiday, after all.

To learn more about the latest mobility trends, click here to download a complimentary copy of the Retail TouchPoints Mobility Report.

*Alicia Fiorletta is Associate Editor for Retail TouchPoints. Working closely with industry analysts and experts, Alicia reports on the latest news, case studies and trends coming to forefront in the retail industry. With a focus on cross-channel strategies, Alicia follows consumer-driven applications in the industry that increase brand loyalty and shopper engagement in-store and online. Through her work with G3 Communications, Alicia also acts as Managing Editor for Channel Marketer Report, a blog that spotlights new marketing strategies, research and news within the channel. 


Originally posted on TheMobileRetailBlog.com Please take a moment to check them out!

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