Last year we saw retailers double-down on their commitment to mobile. Some retailers are initiating mobile loyalty programs using SMS messages as the primary communication channel. Some want to engage consumers via multiple channels for a single promotion (email with an SMS reminder message). Some are deploying mobile promotions to increase downloads and engagement with their mobile app. Whatever waypoints you’re pinning on your mobile roadmap, from simple text alerts (“Order is ready for pick up”) to delivering customized offers to a retailer’s mobile app based on past purchases, there is certainly an uptake in the use of personalization. Here are four areas where retailers will likely gain traction with their mobile-friendly customer interactions.
Retailers should continue to enlarge their mobile tool kit.
As consumers increasingly use mobile to engage with brands, retailer’s mobile strategies will continue to evolve. Last year CodeBroker saw interest in mobile capabilities begin to peak; retailers who had never used mobile were interested in building an SMS marketing list to complement their email marketing programs. Brands already sending text messages to their customers explored new ways to engage, such as delivering mobile offers. Retailers who already had a comprehensive mobile strategy really started to ‘get game’ by delivering personalized content to consumers (“Sue, hurry in. Your favorite jeans will be on sale next week).
Retailers will continue to explore creative ways to engage with their customers using mobile – from text messages to mobile apps to mobile payment as well as delivering even more sophisticated mobile offers such as sending an additional 5% off coupon to customers who have viewed a previously delivered offer multiple times but have not acted upon it. For a large ticket item, the additional incentive may be the icing on the cake.
Put greater emphasis on digital wallets.
Wallet technologies are just starting to take off. It is still unclear who will be the dominant player: software companies such as Apple and Google; credit card companies such as American Express and Citibank; or brands like Walmart who recently launched Walmart Pay. As consumers become more comfortable paying for purchases (and redeeming offers) from their mobile device, retailers will take notice, track the more popular payment methods, and race to integrate with the appropriate wallet interface. In addition to supporting mobile payment transactions, retailers will deliver a complete mobile payment interface including mobile offers enhancing the customer journey.
Integrate enterprise systems to deliver more personalized experiences.
Retailers have known for a long time that personalization is key to customer engagement. They’ve been working fervently to integrate various systems to assemble a comprehensive picture of each customer including information such as personal (birthdate), demographic (zip code), location (leveraging a mobile app), and purchase history. A complete customer profile will allow retailers to fully engage. For example, informing a customer when an order is ready for pick-up; a happy birthday wish with a mobile coupon attached; a tweet to all football fans when their home state team wins the trophy. The possibilities are endless.
Reimagine marketing automation for mobile promotions.
As retailers continue to reimagine marketing to consumers using mobile, the tools to do so will evolve as well. Similar to marketing automation for B2B, retailer-focused solutions providers are enriching their platforms so that retailers can deliver marketing messages and offers to highly segmented consumers. Retailers at the forefront of mobile promotion automation understand that it is no longer about what the retailer wants to tell the consumer but what the consumer is ready to hear. The right platform will allow retailers to further enhance consumer engagement by delivering the right message at the right time to the right consumer.
Dan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker, a developer of patented mobile marketing platforms that enable retailers to deliver digital coupons to increase sales, app downloads and higher customer response and retention rates. He can be reached at email@example.com.