There are conflicting results being published as to when consumers will begin their back to school shopping, but despite timing, there is one topic that everyone seems to agree on: the number of consumers turning to their mobile devices to shop and research products. According to the National Retail Federation Back to School Survey, 'Of those consumers who own tablets, 45% plan to research products on their device, while 31% will actually purchase products. And of those consumers who own smartphones, 37% plan to research products, while 22% will make purchases on their devices.'?
Mobile Impacts In-Store Behavior
Consumer mobile adoption continues to impact Ecommerce but is also impacting in-store sales. Beyond the volumes of transactions taking place from mobile and tablet devices, comparison engines and mobile apps are literally at the fingertips of consumers while shopping in-store. Shoppers can now compare prices while standing at-shelf to find the best price or discover coupons. This has steered retailers to put more weight on their mobile presence and better integrate their owned mobile tools into their complete brand experience.
Reported by The Search Monitor, '78% of smartphone owners used their phones to perform BTS searches in 2013.'? It's evident from stats like this one that marketers must impress upon agencies or in-house resources that paid and organic content needs to be optimized for mobile devices with specific mobile-only offers.
Mobile shopping will continue to gain momentum. To ensure maximum brand and product visibility, a mix of both Ecommerce and effort to influence consumers before and during their brick and mortar experience is critical. Savvy shoppers who are already consuming media and content on their mobile devices will be more likely to also convert on mobile or seek out product information in-store if the experience is a good one.
Leveraging Mobile Targeting to Influence Purchase
Geo-fencing: One example of specific mobile advertising is 'Geo-fencing', which has become a popular means of reaching consumers on the go. This method ensures that only users within a designated location radius (ex. 5 miles) are served an applicable advertisement, often stating in the copy, the proximity to the closest retailer where that product is sold. These ads are served across mobile websites and mobile applications.
Mobile Consumer Reviews: Consumer reviews also have their place and have a strong influence on purchase decisions; but on a small screen of a mobile device this element can be compromised. Platforms like Google, Amazon and Facebook all make it possible to incorporate a star-rating system, which increases readability. Even so, displaying reviews predominantly so they are easy to find and require minimal navigation increase the chances a user will have a positive mobile interaction.
These are just two descriptions of many mobile earned and owned opportunities useful during 'off peak' or seasonal times.
Back to School is a hectic time for consumers. Smart marketers will meet them where they already are to make the shopping experience easy and enjoyable.