It’s a big year for mobile retail. With revenues and competition climbing, marketing strategies have to keep up. Mobile downloads are important; but in 2019, user retention is critical. After all, what’s the point of spending money to pour water into a leaky bucket?
Traditional marketing activities — advertising, app store optimization, email campaigns — don’t have the power to shape in-app user experiences. A download doesn’t guarantee a purchase, just like a single purchase doesn’t guarantee a loyal customer. With 2019 mobile revenues projected to reach $268 billion, retaining loyal users is an immediate priority. To accomplish this, mobile marketing teams must refocus their efforts on creating a holistic, quality user experience — from download to check out.
Amazon represents the single-biggest threat to retailers today, with crushingly low prices that few other retailers can match. Luckily, price isn’t everything. In a recent PwC survey, U.S. consumers said they would be willing to pay up to 16 percent more for a better experience. So as many brands are starting to figure out, the key to thriving in the retail industry today is to create experiences that bring joy to the customer — and if you’re going after modern buyers, the digital experiences really matter.
If the secret to in-app retention, loyalty and purchase completion lies in UX, then retail marketers must figure out how to elevate their app experiences. The question is, how can retail marketers determine what their customers expect from a mobile shopping experience?
It’s Time to Test
To create the best digital experience possible, marketers must double-down on their A/B testing strategies. Sometimes called split testing, A/B testing compares two or more versions of a tactic to determine which one performs better with users — taking the guesswork out of refining UX.
A/B testing involves more than just small tweaks. It tailors customer relationships. While color and layouts are a part of testing, brands also test the offers they provide through ads (a free drink to some users, a free bakery item to others), or what products to recommend to each customer (if a customer is looking at shoes, should you recommend a matching dress or another similar shoe?), and how customer behavior affects purchase decisions (whether users purchased after a coupon or with a free shipping offer).
By running real-time changes and testing them on real user groups, marketers have clear visibility into what works for their users. Many apps already perform A/B tests around onboarding, but long-term retention and engagement warrant something more.
Running tests as if all user desires, experiences and demographics are homogeneous doesn’t produce relevant insights. To avoid this mistake, retailers must target specific groups of users. The process is called segmentation.
Segmentation makes it easier to uncover actionable insights for each group. Targets can be demographically or geographically determined, based on gender, age or location. But they can also be action-driven, zeroing in on buying behavior and targeting users who visit the brand’s site because they are looking for a particular item, saw a promotion or just wanted to browse. It’s more effective to identify the decision drivers of specific subsets of the customer base than to make assumptions about the group, as a whole. When marketers segment their testing efforts, they reap accurate results — something that doesn’t happen in homogeneous tests.
Segment-based testing provides critical information to marketers. With insight into the experiences that performed best for specific groups, marketers no longer need to choose the experience with the best overall results. Rather than presenting the best experience to everyone, each segment receives its own best experience, tailored by visit, needs or demographics.
Segment-based personalization offers a long-term competitive advantage. By matching the right products to the right people at the right times, and timing promotions based on the user, the whole experience feels more relevant to the shopper. With a personalized, relevant experience comes ease of use, trust and a heightened desire to return and enjoy the experience again. According to a recent study from Leanplum, app personalization increases notification open rates by 800 percent.
A personalized UX on mobile is incomplete without cross-platform consistency. Customers exist in a multichannel world, browsing and making purchases across mobile apps, mobile browsers and traditional websites. So, it’s critical that A/B testing occurs across all digital touchpoints to ensure a consistent customer experience.
If specific personalizations and promotions are inconsistent across platforms, users grow frustrated. Optimizing personalization with a multichannel mindset ensures that users are presented with consistent prices, promotions and features, as they travel from their mobile phones to their desktops and back again.
Forming a more complete vision of a user’s shopping experience keeps retailers competitive. With today’s innovative A/B testing platforms, it’s easy for marketing teams to test a change on one platform and then track the impact (including revenue generation) across all other platforms. Even campaigns can be analyzed according to platform, testing the impact on one platform to avoid cannibalizing another. With these insights, it is simple to optimize each user’s unique multichannel buying journey — something critical for retail, an industry with more use cases for multichannel testing than others.
Optimizing Is Forever
Mobile UX optimization is an ongoing process that grows and evolves alongside the brand. By 2021, the mobile shopping market is expected to account for over 50 percent of e-commerce. There’s no time like the present for marketers to evaluate their existing mobile initiatives and pivot strategies to focus on long-term tactics, like comprehensive, cross-platform A/B testing to optimize the digital experience.
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