Happy Mobile Holidays

Urban Airship Nigel ArthurIn what is a make-or-break season for retailers, many already see that the majority of their traffic is coming from mobile devices, and statistics abound showing that the vast majority of shoppers use mobile for pre-shopping activities and while in store. Savvy retailers are going beyond the catch-and-release strategy of search engines, ads and the mobile web, to invest in apps that can reach consumers with immediacy and context to forge lasting relationships.

In an October 2013 report, Forrester Research said: “Push notifications are now a mainstream phenomenon among most European online smartphone app users: 89 per cent of iOS app users receive push notifications, while 83 per cent of Android app users do” (Push Mobile Engagement To The Next Level, Forrester Research, 10/17/2013). In fact, Urban Airship’s just-released Good Push Index (GPI) found that Retail led all other industries analyzed in achieving the biggest app user engagement and retention gains from push messaging.

Retailers who make smart use of mobile are likely to harness the greatest growth this season, with many using 10 top strategies to increase revenue and connect with their audiences.

1) Broadcast messages will drive immediate engagement
Retailers capitalizing on the power of broadcast push notifications will alert opted-in app users to immediate actionable events such as holiday door-buster sales or seasonal collections just hitting the racks. Deep-linking to the specific offer or product from the push (rather than the app’s homescreen) allows users to immediately follow through on calls to action.

2) Inbox messages will reach the entire mobile audience
Savvy retailers can still reach consumers who opt out of push notifications through integrated in-app message centres. Users are alerted to new content with badges on the app’s icon and badges within the app, enabling them to check out new offers at their convenience.

3) Rich content will dazzle users with video and images
Along with delivering value, marketers can send push notifications that direct users to rich app pages with multimedia content. New rich app pages can be delivered regularly without requiring developers’ assistance, to feature new offers or holiday services, such as free shipping or gift-wrapping.

4) Apps become more responsive to users’ behaviour
Retailers will rely on users’ behavioural cues rather than just their stated preferences to send messages that elicit action. Between listing an item as a favourite, adding it to their wish list or leaving it in their cart, retailers will leverage these shopper breadcrumbs for audience segmentation and personalized messaging.

5) Store-specific location capabilities enhance shopping
Customers who use smartphones in store spend 25 per cent more than those who don’t, and retailers are using rewards for product scanning, shopping lists linked to store maps and messaging targeted to in-store shoppers to streamline experiences and grow revenues.

6) Mobile shows product information and availability
In-store barcode scanning features allow consumers to access deeper product information and reviews, as well as check warehouse availability for out-of-stock items, helping to move from consideration to conversion.

7) Coupons will be digitally delivered and updated seamlessly
Mobile coupons are redeemed at a rate 10 times higher than paper coupons, and can be updated in real-time based on product inventory and new offers. Location-aware reminders and expiration push alerts boost results even further. SnipSnap, which enables consumers to convert paper coupons to digital for easy retrieval on their phones, sent more than 400,000 push notifications over the Black Friday weekend, resulting in 150,000 coupons saved to phones and 75,000 redemptions – a 20 per cent end-to-end conversion rate.

8) Gift cards go mobile
With digital wallet capabilities included in your app, users can send gift cards directly to a loved ones smartphone. Retailers can also reward their most loyal customers with gift cards to encourage greater spending.

9) Retailers will make loyalty more rewarding for mobile customers
Retailers offering digital loyalty cards will improve point-of-sale and CRM data and open up more opportunities to personalize customer interactions. Just like mobile coupons, location-specific triggers can welcome shoppers as they enter stores.

10) Brilliant customer service shines bright on mobile devices
Some of the simplest touches can be the most helpful to customers, such as messages informing them of extended holiday hours, parking valet services, free gift-wrapping and dedicated lines for in-store pickups.

Nigel Arthur is managing director EMEA at Urban Airship