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Segmentation is key to attracting likely-to-buy mobile shoppers: study

Thirty-six percent of shoppers will take advantage of their mobile devices for shopping this holiday season, using their phones to look up competitive products and prices, according to a study by MarketLive.

These trends, and other insights into the holiday shopper mindset, were revealed through polling of 1,000 consumers in September. The insights allow multichannel retailers to refine their marketing, merchandising and promotions strategies to effectively reach holiday shoppers. 

“Retailers have an opportunity to leverage the increase in traffic and the interest in online and mobile shopping to capture the majority of the market, and drive higher results this year,” said Ken Burke, founder and chairman of MarketLive, New York.

“With traffic also being up going into this holiday, shoppers are clearly price comparing and browsing,” he said. “Retailers must up the ante with personalized promotions and on-site marketing that will attract buyers rather than browsers.  

“Tools like one-to-one marketing and segmentation are essential to rise above the noise and attract the consumers that are likely to buy.”

Mobile shopping
The MarketLive study found that shoppers will use their mobile devices to look up competitive products (17 percent) and prices (16 percent) ensuring they get a good deal anytime, anywhere.

Also worth noting is that some shoppers stated a desire to remain loyal to retailers or brands. However, research also shows that most (61 percent) will be lost to competitors’ Web sites when they encounter out-of-stock products this holiday season.

Locating hard-to-find products and saving time are the two most frequently cited reasons for buying gifts online and via mobile as opposed to physically going into the store. 

Avoiding crowds, saving money
Shoppers state that avoiding crowds, saving money and shipping ease are also important motivators for shopping online and on mobile this holiday season.

Finally, 67 percent stated that they plan to research gifts online prior to purchasing – indicating the critical role of branding and consistent and compelling customer experiences across channels.

Books, clothing, music, gift certificates, toys and consumer electronics are the top product categories shoppers are likely to purchase online and on mobile this holiday season.

Despite the caution that still pervades the minds of consumers, their willingness to spend online is powerful and speaks to the mobile Web’s ability to deliver from both a time and money saving point-of-view.

Creative merchandising
Cross-channel merchants need to creatively merchandise, actively inspire and support shoppers to ensure that the shift toward online and mobile shopping continues.

Vigilant performance monitoring throughout the season and timely adjustments should deliver the bottom-line profits for which all are striving in 2010.  

“Onsite merchandising must be compelling and must reach beyond the traditional to engage customers,” Mr. Burke said. “Tools such as social integration, video, smart path to purchase will help retailers drive conversions.  

“Promotions must represent value,” Mr. Burke said. “The vast majority of consumers are looking for a discount of some sort.”

Free shipping (92 percent) and free returns (81 percent) are the most desired promotions. 

“MarketLive believes that doing special sales that include free-shipping, or volume thresholds that trigger free shipping are some of the best ways to implement shipping discounts without breaking the bank,” Mr. Burke said. 

“Mobile is a factor for the first time this holiday,” he said. “For retailers who have already implemented mobile shopping, mobile-only promotions or in-store information features are the most likely to deliver results.”

Final take
Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor of Mobile Commerce Daily