Mobile promises to be a big factor in holiday shopping this season, with 85% of consumers saying they "probably" or "definitely" will be using a mobile app for their holiday shopping, according to a YouAppi study.
Marketers also plan on riding the mobile wave with 95% saying the holidays hold great mobile opportunities, such as the chance to engage with customers (54%), revenue-generating opportunities (50%) and the chance to give customer incentives (49%), noted YouAppi.
Mobile apps can also expect to see some changes during the holidays, with 48% of marketers planning on developing holiday-related incentives, scaling their apps to support traffic (37%), providing new features (32%) and making other changes to their apps for the holidays. Only 14% plan to do nothing for the season.
While mobile could be a key way for marketers to reach out to holiday shoppers, YouAppi’s study also found several disconnects between what consumers want on mobile and what marketers are delivering.
For one thing, 60% of marketers said in-app purchases were the most effective mobile payment, while only 5% of customers agreed. According to YouAppi, customers prefer to pay with a credit card from an existing profile (35%), Paypal (30%), entering their credit card directly (28%) or Apple or Android Pay (9%). So although a majority of consumers are aware of mobile payment technology, it’s clearly not as desirable to them as marketers think.
Shoppers also listed a series of improvements retailers could make to ensure their mobile apps are easy for customers to use. Topping the list were basic functionality issues, like making sure there aren’t bugs (45%), having a flow that is easy and makes sense (36%), making sure the app moves quickly (35%) and being able to move easily between the app and the retailer’s website or store (31%).
Those results are in line with previous studies, which have found that basic functionality issues can drive shoppers off of a purchase, with 68% of online shoppers willing to abandon a website if they encounter one of their pet peeves, according to Corra. The younger generations are even more fickle with online and mobile shopping — 60% of Gen Z refuse to use an app or website that is too slow to load and 62% won’t use an app that’s difficult to navigate.
"Without question, the holidays present phenomenal opportunities for mobile brands," Jennifer Shambroom, chief marketing officer at YouAppi, said in a statement. "Yet without careful planning and targeted goals, companies can easily miss out on their best ROI of the year."
While some of the items on consumer wish lists are to be expected — 60% of users said special offers got their attention, like coupons (40%), exclusive, personalized offers (22%) and holiday-focused rewards or incentive programs (16%) — marketers are missing the mark on others.
Among those, mobile videos are a relatively untapped area of marketing, per YouAppi’s study. Despite the fact that 54% of shoppers reported being willing to watch a mobile video if they received a reward for it, only 20% of marketers plan on using rewarded video during the holidays. And while 76% of marketers say they struggle with a lack of time to prepare for the holidays, 79% don’t start planning until the fall.
Mobile isn’t the only sphere in which marketers have struggled. According to Persado, only 22% of CMO’s feel skilled at emotionally engaging their customers through content — a disadvantage when compared to the success of companies like REI and L.L. Bean, two of the most 'human' businesses, which win big points with their customers for the emotional connections they form.
As the holiday season advances, marketers would do well to address consumers’ mobile concerns, especially when it comes to functionality issues, as a poor user experience could block a customer’s path to purchase.