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Personalization key for Valentine’s Day mobile shopping: report

Both men and women are looking for personalization on mobile this Valentine’s Day, with 73 percent of men and 78 percent of women citing personalization as crucial for mobile engagement, according to a recent study from Maxymiser.

The “Valentine’s Day: Retail’s Love Affair with Digital” report looked at how men and women approach mobile shopping in advance of Valentine’s Day. Maxymiser found that delays and poor functionality cause both men and women to lose patience, with around half saying a load time of more than five seconds turns them away.

“To me, the most important take away from this study is the quantifiable benefit of omnichannel data and personalization for marketers,” said Daniel Toubian, principal consultant for U.S. retail and consumer brands at Maxymiser, New York. “The study underscores the fact that the digital experience cannot be a one-size-fits-all experience, because each visitor, in this case each woman, is different, and with this comes a unique set of digital preferences and behaviors.

“For instance, a shopper, who’s trying to balance work, social life and family may be inclined to wait until the day before Valentine’s Day to buy a gift for her loved one, whereas another shopper may try to get ahead of her busy schedule by doing her Valentine’s Day shopping two weeks before the actual day,” he said.

“Often there’s a pattern, and the only way to understand one shopper’s mobile behavior versus another’s and present the experience that is most relevant and simplest to navigate for each, is by using these data to create profiles and presenting each profile with the optimal experience.”

For the study, Maxymiser gathered responses from 1,000 United States adults who own at least on desktop/laptop and a smartphone or tablet.

Mobile Valentines
As Valentine’s Day approaches, mobile marketers need to be on their game to attract traffic and sales from both men and women. The study from Maxymiser points to a number of different components of mobile shopping that are particularly important for both genders.

Personalization was one of the most important components of mobile shopping for consumers surveyed in the report. It was cited as critical to prompting clicks with Valentine’s Day offers on a retailer’s site.

While 66 percent of both men and women plan on purchasing a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift on a desktop or laptop, the genders differ on mobile device preferences.

Twenty percent of women prefer shopping on a tablet, and 14 percent prefer smartphones. Men, on the other hand are equally likely to shop on either device with 17 percent preferring smartphones and 17 percent preferring tablets

Additionally, 52 percent of men and 42 percent of women said that five seconds was their threshold of patience for pages and images to load on mobile. Retailers need to ensure speedy load times to keep these consumers on their site.

Mobile features
Maxymiser found some interesting similarities and differences between genders when it came to what they valued for mobile Valentine’s Day shopping.

Consumers of both genders were interested in being able to log in through their Facebook account on a mobile commerce site instead of having to register with the retailer. Fifty-six percent of men and 57 percent of women are more likely to buy a Valentine’s Day present if the retailer’s site integrates Facebook log-in.

Since it is frustrating to have to type in lots of information on a mobile device, retailers should try to streamline the process as much as possible and limit the amount of information required to checkout. Integrating Facebook log-in is one way to cut down on the amount of information a consumer needs to provide.

While not necessarily specific to mobile, 55 percent of women most value free shipping when shopping online, and 42 percent of men feel the same.

Thirty-four percent of women cited price comparisons as the most important element they want to see on a mobile site when shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift, while only 21 percent of men felt similarly. Twenty-four percent of women and 23 percent of men thought ratings and reviews were the most important elements.

Sixteen percent of men and 12 percent of women considered mobile-only offers to be the most important element, and 19 percent of men and 16 percent of women considered product recommendations to be the most important element.

“Mobile needs to be embedded into a retailer’s holistic customer experience optimization strategy – whereby testing, data/insights and personalization are all interconnected and power each other to deliver maximum ROI,” Mr. Toubian said.

“That is the first and most critical step that retailers must take to make consumers happy and keep them engaged across every channel and device,” he said. “Essentially, retailers need to build a test-and-learn culture across all areas of their business and embed this approach into everything they think and do.

“As our study indicates, men and women tend to have different expectations and preferences when shopping for Valentine’s Day. Marketers, therefore, should be leveraging A/B and multivariate testing across their respective shopping funnels – from their home page to category page to product page through the checkout process to purchase confirmation. And while doing so, they should also analyze data on each group’s specific set of preferences.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York