We are living in an increasingly ‘here and now’ culture; instead of going to the high street or shopping centre to find products, consumers want the retailer to be where they are, when they want. This trend is driving mobile commerce in the UK, where we are expected to spend £7.9 billion this year.

However, regardless of a growth in adoption of mobile commerce and a lot of chatter in the industry about optimising for mobile devices, conversion rates remain low: 2.79% on mobiles compared to 6.09% on desktop. If retailers are to see return on investment in their mobile-optimised campaigns, they should consider these campaigns carefully.

Location is everything

For retailers, mobile has huge potential to drive traffic and provides retailers with an effective channel for both ecommerce sales as well as promotions. Not only can mobile be used to encourage shoppers into online and bricks and mortar stores, but it can also help convert sales by providing the consumer with a helping hand on the path to purchase. A study by The Omnibus Company found that 51% consumers are more likely to enter a store and buy something if they receive an offer on their mobile device while they are nearby.

However, this figure also highlights the importance of location in mobile retail. A shopper who is browsing items on the tube to work is unlikely to respond to a call-to-action for a flash sale at a store in a nearby town, whilst this same offer may entice a high street shopper in that town into the store. Location should be carefully considered as these offers have the potential to make or break a customer relationship. A multi-channel or location specific offer is a great strategy for closing a sale, but send an irrelevant offer that the consumer cannot act upon, and you will turn them off.

And as location-based testing continues to drive results which span from sales to engagement to loyalty, the potential to deliver even more relevant offers to consumers will help strengthen this bond between customer and salesman.

Be personal, not pushy

As retailers, we need to bear in mind that a smartphone is much more than a mobile device to consumers; this is still a personal item which consumers carry everywhere. As such, retailers need to toe the line with personalisation, by providing targeted offers but not becoming intrusive.

Push notifications is something that we, as a global audience, have not reached a final conclusion on. On the one hand, they benefit consumers and retailers alike by providing a powerful tool for targeting, but on the other hand, they become an annoyance when we receive too many. Retailers should therefore tread carefully with push, by holding back from overusing the tool, and ensuring that offers sent are more personalised and relevant. This will ensure that the tool engages customers, rather than encouraging them to disengage push.

In addition, putting the power in the hands of the customer is an intelligent way of ensuring the customer is interested in receiving your offers. By providing shoppers with the power to decide on preferences, location settings and targeting frequency, retailers can ensure that they stay within the selected parameters of providing a personal service for shoppers. For example, retailers should offer customers the power to decide whether they want macro or micro location offers, whether they shop online or in store, as well as how often they are willing to receive these offers. This knowledge can help retailers build a personal relationship with the customer by providing them with the information they want, at the time they want it, to the device of their choice.

For retailers, mobile has huge potential to drive traffic, build customer engagement and boost sales both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores. And shoppers overwhelmingly seem to be open to giving up their location for a more relevant deal. As long as retailers pay consideration to relevancy and privacy, location-based targeting could be the secret to breaking down the walls between retailer and the consumer.


By Giulio Montemagno, SVP International at RetailMeNot. 

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