Holiday success centers on seamless omnichannel and personal mobile experiences
Many retailers and brands are taking a mobile-first strategy, focusing on securing a completely interconnected experience within all facets of the company and using these seamless channels to offer a more personalized shopping experience. This is what numerous brands are striving for, and this holiday season many will be attempting to take these ideas even further to serve customers a fully intimate and integrated form of shopping in-store and out-of-stores.
“The big push this year for the holidays will be about user data and performance at the user level,” said Jason Rothman, general manager of mobile at Steelhouse. “Mobile is only a tactic and a channel in today’s space because the industry is still looking at performance by device.
“The future is about data and the user, not the device,” he said. “As technology continues to advance, the user experience becomes more vital to brands looking to interact, not simply force a message at an inopportune time.
“Basically, I see the race for technology and campaign dollars depending on who can best use data to enhance the customer experience, across every device. With the end goal to show clear attribution and drive high quality app downloads and higher average spend per user by data driven segments.”
In conversations with exhibitors and attendees at last week’s eTail East 2015, it was clear that mobile has been leveraged heavily in terms of marketing and sales for retailers, especially through the holiday season as these technologies offer a more individualized experience and consumer connection. As more and more retailers get a better grasp on how to use these platforms, the competition is steep to develop channels to the best of their ability.
Many companies strive to develop new features and methods in creating a personal experience for customers, constantly moving the industry as whole towards a consumer-first mindset. Retailers need to focus on using demographic data as well as individual customer information to stay competitive.
“As retailers approach the 2015 holiday season, their mobile strategies are all about personalization,” said Ted Brookes, ecommerce business analyst at Mobify. “Shoppers expect contextual messages that are tailored to their preferences, so retailers are looking to leverage their big data on customers to communicate in a more personalized way.
“One of the most recent advancements in messaging is web push notifications,” he said. “Retailers now have the opportunity to take advantage of the wide reach of web, and the engagement potential of push notifications previously limited to apps.
“By tailoring web push notifications to the customer’s location and shopping behaviour, retailers have the opportunity to drive purchases both online and in-store.”
Consumers now expect a tailored experience that serves them relevant content and makes shopping more convenient, across all platforms. For instance, if a customer has been searching a particular item through a retailer’s mobile Web site or app, the desktop site and in-store associates should be able to share recommendations similar to that search.
Features such as beacons, notifications, in-app messaging, SMS and email should be able to deliver experiences, specials and content that an individual customer would want to get involved with based off of past history and information. During the holiday season consumers will be seeing much more of this, as many retailers are focusing on using these tactics to drive sales during the celebration shopping frenzy.
Customers should be able to travel through a retailer’s various channels without noticing a difference. While various technologies should be leveraged appropriately, as the same content does not work across all platforms, users should not have to restart there engagement and should be able to pickup where they left off on other devices.
For instance if a customer is searching and viewing products on mobile but moves to desktop to finish purchasing, they should not have to restart their shopping journey at the beginning. A much greater connection between these channels will be seen significantly in the upcoming holiday sector.
“Retailers today understand the importance of mobile, but it has been difficult to integrate into a true omnichannel attribution model,” said David Trice, CEO of Engage.cx. “This holiday season, retailers must integrate a holistic view of the customer across their entire attribution model including web, brick-and-mortar, social and of course mobile.
“By observing behaviors both online and off, retailers can understand their customer in a whole new way and help to create unique experiences for each of their brand disciples this holiday season, helping them to stand out from the crowd of holiday super sales and promotions,” he said.
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily