3 Mobile Push Tips for Holiday 2014
With nearly $1 trillion at stake this holiday season and the possibility that 58 percent of shoppers will trek to stores they've never visited, except online to research the "perfect" gift, brick-and-mortar and e-commerce marketers may want to add mobile push notifications to the marketing mix to make sure customers come their way.
Deloitte forecasts holiday sales will increase 4 percent to 4.5 percent this year because of positive economic news, resulting in $981 billion to $986 billion in sales. eMarketer estimates $61.8 billion will come from e-commerce purchases—16 percent of which will happen on mobile devices. But online contributions to sales don't end there—Deloitte believes "84 percent of shoppers use digital tools before and during their trip to a store," says Alison Paul, vice chairwoman of Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution sector leader. "Additionally, those shoppers convert or make a purchase at a 40 percent higher rate than those who do not use such devices during their shopping journey."
Denver-based marketing vendor Placeable, which provides the 58 percent unique shopper statistic in research titled "Lost at the Mall: Trends in Holiday Shopping Behavior," finds 89 percent of holiday shoppers expect to find location-specific content on a brand's website. (Asked Thursday about the reason for the shop switch, a public relations representative for Placeable couldn't explain the reason customers would abandon old stores.)
IBM's Antonietta Rubinetti says marketers can help customers by bringing the content to them.
"Last year, during the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, for example, retailers on average sent 77 percent more push notifications compared to daily averages during the previous two months," she writes on Nov. 13 in the Smarter Commerce blog.
In "Mobile Push Notifications: Target Customers Wherever They Are This Holiday Season," Rubinetti suggests marketers:
1. Use a Combination of Notifications:
- Alerts or advisory notifications: Marketers send these messages when customers aren't using apps or visiting the site and "are intended to drive a desired behavior."
- Reactive notifications: Customer actions—a visit to a website or store, for example—trigger the messages. "They're driven by detecting activity captured through mobile touchpoints," she writes.
- In-app notifications: "These notifications occur inside the inbox that's part of a mobile application and make it possible for companies to send messages to customers without interrupting the normal flow of their activities," says Rubinetti.
2. Capture Contextual Data. Collect data across all touchpoints and all channels. "While knowing that a customer just crossed your, or a competitor's, geofence is a powerful piece of data," she writes, "being able to connect this data to the person's other previous behaviors across your website, emails and other channels will give you the context you need to understand what content might best engage that person."
3. Get Personal. Rubinetti emphasizes that marketers need to get this right in order to achieve results, because not having customer integrated into this marketing strategy would be a waste. "Optimize push notifications by tailoring the timing and content using your customer data, the individual's profile and preferences," she says.
Perhaps most marketers get this tip wrong, according to data from the "VWO E-commerce Survey 2014: Trends and Insights to Find and Convert Buyers." This research, announced on Nov. 10, finds 55 percent of shoppers are "indifferent" to personalized offers.
"This could mean that e-commerce has not yet cracked the personalization code," opines VWO in the report, "and customers are used to being pitched products and offers that they are not interested in. This, in effect, leads them to simply treat personalized offers as another banner ad to ignore."
What's the main push this year? To convert customers in stores or online? Many consumers are shopping on smartphones—how many marketers are successfully selling that way?
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