3 Mobile Marketing Musts for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

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mobile-phone-map-searchAs smartphone adoption nears ubiquity in the U.S., mobilitiy now plays a critical role in the shopping behavior of many local consumers. For brick-and-mortar retailers, mobile has gone from an interesting opportunity to a foundational part of the marketing mix.

Consider a recent study conducted by Neustar Localeze and 15miles, which found that nearly four of five smartphone owners use their devices to search for information on local businesses. Approximately 80 percent of those mobile searches result in the purchase of a product or service, and 75 percent brought the customer into the physical store.

Over the past few years we’ve seen the mobile marketing industry mature, with new standards and best practices emerging to help marketers reach mobile consumers as they move throughout their day. Here are three mobile marketing strategies which have become table stakes for physical retailers.

1. Competitive Conquesting
The industry has high hopes for location-based advertising. A recent report from BIA/Kelsey suggests that mobile ad revenue from location-based campaigns will increase from 40% in 2013 to 52% in 2018. A large portion of the growth will be driven by larger brands, which the firm expects will spend f $4.5 billion this year,and $15.7 billion in 2018.

In addition to serving up ads to consumers near their location, some businesses are finding that competitive conquesting–a strategy that involves targeting consumers who are within the proximity of their competitors–can also increase campaign performance. According to a report by PayPal Media, mobile advertising campaigns that implemented geo-fencing see an average 8% lift in CTR compared with campaigns that did not, and campaigns that used competitive conquesting have an average performance lift of 12%.

2. Optimizing Mobile Store Locators
One of the defining challenges which marketers face on mobile is that most conversions occur in-store, and offline.

Store locators play a critical role in getting intended purchasers into a store. A study by Nielsen found that 70% of smartphone shoppers use a store locator to plan their shopping trip. Fifty-six percent of those users access the tool while commuting, and 24% while they’re at home, indicating that people using mobile store locators are more likely to be on-the-go.

Another option is to use click-to-call and click-to-map functions. PayPal Media’s report found that 57% of landing page clicks were composed of lower-funnel actions such as click-to-map and click-to-call, indicating that mobile users utilize these two functions the most when they’re considering heading to a store.

3. Providing “Tap-and-Collect” Services
Large retailers have allowed users to buy products on a line and pick up in-store for years, and its been a big boon for consumers. A study in eMarketer found that being able to buy online and pick up in-store is the second most popular retail offering (36%) for online shoppers in the US. But with the rise of mobile, retailers should also consider offering the service to mobile users.

A lot of merchants, particularly in the food and beverage industry, have already started doing this. BJ’s restaurant for instance, now has order-ahead capabilities that enable hungry mobile users to place orders ahead of time, right from any mobile device. BJ’s asks users whether they would like to dine in or have their order to go via take out or curbside (where they can just wait in a reserved curbside parking space and have someone bring their food to their car).

Similarly, pharmacy apps like the ones from CVS and Walgreens have been getting rave reviews because of their mobile refill features that enable people to use their phone to set refills and save themselves some time from having to wait for their prescriptions at the pharmacy. Meanwhile, Square has also entered the order-ahead space with Pickup, a new feature that allows merchants to accept preorders at their business.

Clearly, in-store pickup is a service that a lot of users want. And businesses looking to increase their foot traffic through mobile should look into how they can offer the capability on the small screen.

francesca nicasioFrancesca Nicasio is a retail blogger from Vend, a point-of-sale, inventory, and customer loyalty software that helps over 10,000 retailers manage and grow their business. Connect with Vend on Google+ and LinkedIn.