You, the savvy mobile marketer, already know that mobile commerce is booming. Having a comprehensive plan for Mcommerce is crucial for staying on top in 2016. An easy solution for increasing both store traffic and overall sales is the use of mobile coupons.
Mobile coupons are effectiveand, according to Mobile Commerce Daily, 96% of mobile users will search for digital coupons – a 26% increase from 2014. By the end of this year, 121.3 million U.S adults will redeem a digital coupon with 83.1 million doing so via smartphones (EMarketer). The expert opinions are in and here is what is in-store for mobile coupons in 2016.
Location, Location, Location
Location based mobile marketing, or SMS geofencing, is having a big moment, and it is only going to get bigger in 2016. Location SMS marketing works in 2 parts:
First, there is the use of it in physical locations where the customers are using it – to understand their purchasing personas. Customers can allow businesses to have access to their locations. By tracking customer movement, companies can get an idea of the persona of their customer base. For example, if you are a new sporting good company and you notice that customers in your area frequent the local soccer field, you can increase your in-store traffic by offering mobile coupons on your soccer equipment.
The second use of location based SMS marketing is SMS geofencing. SMS geofencing is when customers not only allow companies to know their locations, companies also have the ability to send location-specific SMS messages. When customers are in range of your business, triggered messages will be sent out with deals and coupons to lure customers in. Locations can be as broad as a U.S region or as narrow as being in a physical store. By targeting customers in specified locations, businesses can make the most of their mobile marketing – especially when it comes to mobile coupons.
Cross Platform Integration
Multi-platform integration is a large essential in every digital marketing arsenal. Going from mobile app, to SMS notifications, to in-store or online purchasing will soon be a seamless experience. Mobile coupons will be no different. Many apps, such as Sephora’s, have an all-in-one mobile shopping experience. Not only can you shop from the app, it also tracks your beauty rewards, provides beauty tips, and (of course) sends you digital coupons for your next purchase. In 2016, this will become far more common place as more stores opt for the all-in-1 integration model.
Big Takeaways for Mobile Coupons in 2016
No need for the crystal ball, we have seen the future for retail and mobile commerce: SMS coupons are on top.
It is estimated that mobile coupon usage will exceed 1 billion users by 2019 (Juniper Research). This means that to implement mobile coupons, you must have a thoughtful mobile strategy. To summarize, the two big takeaways are:
1. Allow an option for customers to opt-in to your location tracking services to effectively target the customers you need. Digital marketing can be costly, so make sure that you are sending your mobile coupons to the right consumers in the right places.
2. Make sure that your digital integration includes mobile coupons, and that they are seamlessly integrated. Cohesiveness is key if you want your mobile coupons to increase customer traffic.
Mobile coupons are not only a great way to tie multiple digital platforms together but, they help to build customer relations. Motivate your customers by providing incentive to their #1 shopping companion: their smartphones.
Mobile Coupons are Highly Effective for Driving Purchases
According to a recent article by eMarketer, “Eight in 10 US adult mobile coupons users will redeem a coupon or code via their mobile device for online or offline shopping in 2015.”
Why You Should Care
If your business is in clothing, retail, electronics, gifts, grocery, restaurant, quick service, office supplies, or any other in-store services, then mobile marketing does and will continue to have an impact on your business. Mobile coupons and other mobile tools have the potential to really support the growth of your business – and a lack of using these tools could be a serious detriment. You can use mobile coupons in a number of ways:
mobile website coupons (slightly smaller than SMS audience)
mobile coupons inside of a mobile app (smallest audience)
SMS mobile coupons are a no-brainer in my mind. These are the best of all worlds. You can deliver static or unique codes to your customers and prospective customers, include a URL if you prefer to use barcodes, and you can interact with customers directly throughout the process. A SMS coupon code could be a literal 5 to 10 digit code that is entered at check-out in the store or in your online store. If your point-of-sale system (POS) has very long and detailed codes, then you can include a link in the SMS message that goes to a dedicated webpage with a barcode and includes the offer details. I’ve tried it before, and I think it’s the best user experience.
The other thing I like about SMS mobile coupons is the possibility of interacting with a customer. You can send out a quick 1-question SMS dialog with multiple choice answers to figure out which coupon the customer wants the most. Then you’re delivering a highly targeted offer to your customer AND learning about his/her preferences and behaviors. If you integrate SMS into your POS and learn when he or she used the coupon, then you can even follow-up with the customer to see how things went with the purchase. BOOM! That is true customer relationship management.
Mobile Website Coupons can be a little tougher to grab attention, but like SMS mobile coupons can be highly effective. With SMS, you have a contact database so you’re pushing out a message to your customers and driving them to make a purchase. Without the SMS piece, you’ll need to find other ways to drive customers to your website / mobile website to find coupons.
You can use social media and email to drive contacts to a specific landing page on your mobile website where the coupon code is gated, after the prospect fills in contact information a dedicated code is provided. Yes, this does create a barrier to entry, but in the long-run you’ll want to know who is using coupons from your mobile website and gating the code is a great way to find that out. You can leave it open to the public, but then you’re depending upon your POS system to capture that data.
Mobile Coupons in Apps can also be a powerful tool, but the audience size is limited. If your business participates in a mobile app such as Yelp, Groupon, RetailMeNot, or ShopKick, then you are reaching a broader audience – which is great and highly useful. The limitations of mobile apps are technology, pricing and reach. While 92% of Americans own a cell phone, only 68% of those people have a smartphone (Pew Internet Research). That means that your mobile coupons are missing 32% of the population simply due to a technology barrier.
The technology barrier created by smartphone ownership also limits your audience. If you are seeking to reach an older population (over 65) or a less tech-savvy community with limited budgets, then your mobile coupons inside of an app will never be seen.
Depending upon your audience, needs, and technology, any of these tools can help your business. Consider each option and how you want to connect with your customers.
Retailers are Connecting Mobile Shopping with the In-Store Experience
When you create a unified shopping experience, shoppers will take note and show their loyalty with their hard earned dollars.
Online shopping is more convenient for many shoppers. Many retailers have begun treating their brick and mortar stores as a showroom more than a retail outlet – making the assumption that shoppers are coming in to see and touch products, but then purchase online.
An office supply retailer has 2 goals: increasing revenues overall (both online and in-store) and improving upon the up-sell process so that shoppers will purchase more.
We address the first goal of increasing revenue by providing a mobile shopping assistant in the form a a mobile website. Shoppers reportedly have a difficult time deciding between different kinds of computers, printers, and other technology items. It can be difficult to compare these items while in store, so we created a product comparison tool where the shopper can choose which items he or she wants to compare and it provides details about each category. If there is any confusion, the shopper can text in to the SMS program to get answers from a live customer support person.
The second goal is to improve the product up-sell process. Other retailers find that shoppers who choose to buy online and pick-up in store spend nearly twice as much as those who have online orders delivered directly to their homes. This is likely due to a few different factors – ease of purchase, ability to price compare with other retailers, and comfort of the third wall between them and the store. To increase up-sell purchases, we added digital / mobile coupons into the purchase path. As a shopper is looking at an item, the complementary products appear just before the “Add to Cart” button with a “Package it” button. Packaging up multiple products for a discounted price – such as a printer with ink and a ream of paper.
The mobile website with the product comparisons helped shoppers to make educated decisions while in-store and drove them to purchase sooner than before. This mobile shopping tool was supported by the customer service via SMS, which also helped the retailer with creating a positive shopping experience. And the packaging of products matched up with mobile coupons / digital coupons made checkout faster for the shopper, which increased the up-sell revenue and improved the overall process.
Shopping Experiences, whether in-store, at home, or on-the-go, can be the make or break point for a retailer. Shoppers are savvy – searching for the best deals and opportunities – but they also value customer service and the overall experience. Creating a unified shopping experience, no matter what the device or location can be the key to getting that next sale.
In a recent survey conducted by Luxury Daily, among respondents who use retail mobile apps 51% use them in-store. It is no surprise that no one leaves home without their beloved cell phone, and companies are taking full advantage by being more aggressive in their mobile marketing strategies. So how exactly do in-store shopping experience and mobile marketing working together?
In-Store Information for Staying Pretty On-the-Go
Beauty store mecca, Sephora, launched revamped to-go apps for all major smart devices this year. Customers have the ability to scan products in-store and instantly read ratings and reviews, receive notifications about special offers, use unique photo tools to help try on new make-up looks, and take a contouring class on the go. Providing this kind of information in-store to shoppers in real-time can be the difference between leaving the store and making a purchase. Information is power, after all, and the customer feels empowered when provided with options.
Color Your World: Personalizing the Shopping Experience
Sherwin-Williams is also personalizing the shopping experience with their new ColorSnap Visualizer mobile app. Much like virtual dressing rooms, ColorSnap allows customers to scan color swatches in-store to see them applied in simulated rooms. Director of electric business marketing at Sherwin-Williams, Megan Vickers justifies ColorSnap by saying, “An in-store color swatch is the truest representation of the color, but on its own, it can be difficult for many to imagine that small swatch of color filling the walls of their home.” This tool allows shoppers to make this key home decor shopping experience easier and decrease the time until a final transaction.
In addition to motivating consumers to get to the physical store, the new challenge comes in integrating mobile tools with the shopping experience itself. According to Apptentive, the top reason customers will use a store’s mobile app while shopping in-store is to redeem discount offers. While incentive based interest is profitable, many companies strive to engage with customers on a more personalized level.
What is your in-store retail plan to drive more revenue and decrease the time to purchase?
How Mobile Marketers Are Targeting Hungry Families
With the end of summer and the beginning of school season in full gear, many families are facing the challenge of creating simple dinners that can please everyone at the table. So where does a busy parent turn to for dinner inspiration? Break out a tired favorite out of the cookbook? Comb through the vast amounts of kale and quinoa dinner-in-a-jar recipes pinned on their Pinterest boards? For some, inspiration comes right from their mobile devices, which provides an opportunity for mobile marketers.
“Pushing” For Grocery Store Interaction
Recently, Clorox has launched a mobile based campaign for its Hidden Valley Ranch, the popular salad dressing brand, and Soy Vay, a line of Kosher Asian inspired sauces and marinades, to engage consumers to head out to their local grocery stores. With the help of iBeacon, Clorox has developed an app that sends cooking “hacks” whenever their target audience is close to or inside of a grocery store. Push notifications can range anywhere from recipes to product locations within the isles.
A Meal via SMS Alert
For the occasions when the idea of cooking is just too much, many quick service restaurants provide relief with the use text message opt-ins. A&W Restaurants’ text club provided users with coupons sent via text starting with a free Papa Burger ® just for opting in. Chipotle’s mobile list offers users BOGOs on their burritos and bowls. Domino’s new Anyware ™ campaign allows customers to order pizza on any device, be it on a smart watch, a tweet, or even a text.
Mixing food and phone together seems to be the profitable direction for both food companies and mobile marketing. Retail SMS, in-app messaging, and multiple device integration are the new norms of how we market food. Food is a highly saturated market with a 70-80 percent fail rate for new products launched in the grocery store market and a 61 percent fail rate for restaurants. However, as food brands continue to assert themselves more in the mobile market, the daunting question “What are we having for dinner?” can be much easier to tackle.
Using Augmented Reality Technology to Create the Virtual Dressing Room
Technology advances blow my mind sometimes. In just 4 years, we’ve seen leaps and bounds in the developments of the technology on our mobile devices alone. The virtual dressing room concept that I once fantasized about after seeing the movie Clueless is not as far away as it once seemed. And the excitement around this idea continues to grow. A recent survey from Accenture entitled Life of the Digital Edge: How Augmented Reality Can Enhance Customer Experience and Drive Growth found that virtual dressing rooms were rated among highest use for Augmented Reality for potential retail conversions.
What augmented reality use case would increase your likelihood
of purchasing the product?
Virtual furniture app: 86%
Virtual dressing room: 88%
Color changing app: 73%
Catalog app: 65%
Shopping app: 75%
Shoe sampler app: 87%
Virtual vehicle manual: 75%
Gamification app: 61%
Source: Accenture 2014 Augmented Reality Survey
“Augmented reality is an emerging technology that superimposes computer-generated images and content onto real-world environments, thereby enhancing a user’s perception of reality by combining physical and virtual elements.” (source: Accenture)
While this is a really exciting prospect, nearly 60% of survey respondents reported that they haven’t actually seen or used an Augmented Reality technology before. As companies continue to grow recognition and adoption among consumers, there are several other mobile tools surfacing with similar concepts that making the retail shopping experience easier for everyone.
Exciting Mobile Concepts
1. Mix Me. This mobile app allows users to mix and match clothes, organize their wardrobes, as well as make purchases. Developed by German shop Infobest, this app let’s the user take photos from multiple angles to capture the image of themselves and then generates a 3D model of the person.
2. Voonik.com. This Bangalore based website recommends clothes to based on a preferred style, clothing tastes and body type. When a customer signs up she takes a short visual quiz that reveals information about her body type and style preferences. Then instant recommendations are sent from stylists on what will suit her, how to wear the clothes, and what to pair them with. Naturally, it is available as a mobile app as well.
3.Fits.Me. This is a tool for online shopping. Capturing shopper dimensions and fit preferences adds vital real-time insights that enable the retailer or brand to curate and personalize every shopper’s experience at every touchpoint. Brands invite customers to enter their sizes, and it create an avatar that tries on clothes to find the best fit – which reduces returns and increases customer satisfaction with e-commerce. (Case Study)
4. TrialKart. Through the mobile app, users can choose any listed apparel and click on the ‘Try’ option. Using either an image taken by the phone’s camera on the spot or from an existing photo in the app’s gallery, users can visualize themselves in the outfit. It allows the ability to pinch, zoom, and orient the apparel so that it is correctly placed on the picture. Social sharing of the final image helps the users gather opinions, and the brands to get viral marketing.
Takeaways about Virtual Dressing Rooms and Mobile Retail
Trying on clothes to find the right style and fit is fun for fashionistas, but for many of us it is a chore. Leveraging virtual dressing rooms using mobile tools – from mobile apps to mobile websites – can reduce stress. Customers feel satisfied faster, develop brand loyalty and will stick with the retailers providing the best tools.
Every year it seems that the holiday season is arriving sooner and sooner. No sooner do the jack-o-lanterns pop up, the cornucopias and candy canes start looming in the background of the seasonal isles of stores across the nation. Because the holiday shopping season is starting earlier, many brands using mobile marketing begin preparations as soon as October. According to the Oracle Marketing Cloud and Edison Research, a study found that the majority of people surveyed had completed the bulk of their holiday shopping by October, spending nearly $900 more than they would have in December.
Push ‘It’ to the Limit
A big mobile marketing trend from the 2014 holiday season was the use of push notifications through companies’ mobile apps. These little notifications about various deals and specials were a driving force behind the increasing engagement rate between consumers and company apps. Retailers such as American Eagle Outfitter, Victoria’s Secret, and Best Buy all increased their push notifications, doubling their efforts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to ensure a profitable holiday season.
SMS Marketing for Success
SMS marketing amps up by delivering mobile coupons to consumers directly, eliminating the need to remember the abundance of paper coupons they receive in the mail or in emails. A successful holiday campaign from last year was Redbox’s “10 Days of Deals”. Customers were prompted to text DEALS to the designated shortcode for the chance to save between 10 cents and $1.50 on their next rental. Within 10 days, 400,000 unique customers opted-in, producing over 1.5 million SMS messages.
Get Social Too
Of course, social media is always a top contender for holiday promotions, especially via mobile marketing. The introduction to sponsored posts on Instagram allows for a plethora of different marketing options. Stella Artois was the first beer brand to buy in to Instagram ads. During the 2014 holiday season, Stella Artois made sponsored Instagram posts with artful shots of holiday food and their artisan beer to appeal to the “food porn” obsessed millennial demographic. Consider the ways that you can integrate your holiday messaging across your social channels and more direct communications such as SMS and Email.
Conclusively, Santa makes his list early and consumers are following suit. Mobile marketers need to jump on the holiday bandwagon while the jack-o-lanterns are still fresh if they wish to reach their targeted demographic in a timely fashion. With creativity, timeliness, and originality, a well sculpted marketing plan can help marketers jingle all the way to success with higher ROIs and deeper consumer engagement.
How to Make the Retail Experience Great Using Mobile Marketing
1. Make It Personal & Keep It Consistent
Make everything your audience sees personalized so that it is relevant to them. This means using customers data to make content more relevant to their purchases and preferences. And make sure that the messaging is consistent across all devices (desktop, mobile phone, tablet) and throughout the entire shopping experience.
2. Know Where and When Your Customers Researching
During the holiday shopping season, researching for gifts is just as important as the final purchase. Whether your consumers are searching for gift ideas, product information or deals, make sure you have an eye on their movements. Having a data-driven strategy allows you to reach your people whenever they are searching for you or similar products/services. Setting yourself up this way enlightens you to catch your audience when and where it matters most.
“Department store Kohl’s is using an indoor positioning system that ‘walks the aisles’ with customers. This mobile technology allows shoppers to opt in for promotions as they enter the store. Throughout their visit, people receive lifestyle content in real time based on the products they appear to be looking for.” Using a mixture of a mobile app and GPS, Kohl’s can track and respond to in-store activities as well as turn them into future content (source: dun & bradstreet).
3. Motivate Customers to Take Action
Entice customers with the items that are uniquely packaged for them, and drive them to take action. When customers feel that they are limited by time or inventory, then they are motivated to take action. Creating urgency stresses to customers that they need to buy your product NOW or else they will miss the opportunity.
Your customers want to get from A to Z with ease. Your marketing strategy goal is to let your leads get as close as possible to point Z before you ask for money. The closer customers get to point Z, the more likely they are to make a purchase to get their desired result.
4. Connect Platforms for Cross-Device Behaviors
Mobile phones are the new personal shopping assistant. People can search while in-store for the information or products and deals they want. The real strength of mobile during the 2014 holiday season was in driving traffic to retailers’ websites. During Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in 2014, “Wal-Mart added that about 70% of its online traffic in the five-day period came from mobile”(source: Wall Street Journal).
It needs to be easy for your audience to input information, do research, compare products, get mobile coupons, etc. And they want to feel that their data is safe while shopping on their smartphone. We tend to shift our shopping between platforms and devices, so make sure that the user experience has smooth and secure flow. This means integrating your POS and e-commerce with your website / mobile website, and any other key software systems. Make sure that your SaaS providers integrate with each other – look into the details of the APIs they each offer.
5. Use Data to Improve Creative
When you leverage data to fuel your messaging and creativity, the overall content can be more engaging for your audience and it has a higher potential for driving sales. More companies are using recommendation engines, which use an algorithm to predict what a user may or may not like among a list of given items – knowing their interests, preferences, location, products they’ve browsed and purchased, and even past product searches.
Final Thoughts on the Retail Experience
Mobile marketing for the retail experience involves reaching customers when they are using the internet while on-the-go and away from the desktop environment. Considering the increased mobile phone and tablet usage, mobile marketing tactics are a must-have for retailers, especially as we approach the holiday season.
Why should you bother with SMS integration into your other systems?
One of the major benefits of text messaging is immediacy. You want to enable your customers to leverage that benefit without modifying the way they interact with your business.
Platform integration plays a key role in enabling your existing applications or systems to be mobile. When you integrate with a reliable and feature-rich SMS gateway like 3Seventy, then delivering communication benefits to your customers is easy. Our free Application Programming Interface (API) tools allow for seamless integration with your proprietary software or website. Enabling your existing system to interact with an SMS gateway for sending and receiving messages can help streamline your marketing processes.
Common Systems for SMS Integration
Email: Combining SMS and Email may be the smartest thing you’ve ever done for your customers or clients. Rather than forcing them into only one communication channel with your business, customers can choose how they want to contacted and the types of notifications they want. While a customer may want to read your monthly newsletter via email, he may also want a specific text alert about a product or service update. This will alleviate your database issues by combining the two, as well as increase customer satisfaction.
CRM: This is where SMS personalization has the greatest potential. If you have a truly robust Customer Relationship Management system that is filled with contact attributes such as birthdays, contract renewals, preferred products, zip code, or other key identifiers, then you should be leveraging that information in your text message marketing program. Use auto response text message to in response to contact’s actions, or send out behavior-based targeted messages to reach the right audience at just the right time. And, of course, remember to personalize things when it makes sense (with the contact’s first name or other unique identifier).
This integration improves the efficiency of your communication by giving you more information and more options for each SMS you send or receive.
Point of Sale: For the mobile marketers working in retail, restaurants, and other brick and mortar businesses, SMS API integration into POS systems makes a world of difference. Using an SMS API to integrate into your POS is a great way to ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities to make a sale or retain a customer. While text coupons / mobile coupons can be a total blessing for driving foot traffic, they become an annoyance when the customer cannot move smoothly through checkout. We can all fantasize about having a mobile app for our store, but that isn’t always the smartest investment. SMS is a much more affordable way to keep customers loyal, fulfill their mobile requirements, and get people into your store.
Our integration tools (PHP .Net, Java, Ruby) make it easy for programmers to develop, integrate and deploy SMS solutions with your proprietary software or website, enabling 2-way SMS communications. Learn more about 3Seventy’s SMS API and get support integrating your systems with our SMS Gateway by contacting us.
Deep linking connects a unique url on a web search to a specific page in a mobile app or mobile website, seamlessly linking users to relevant content. This solution lets ads see whether consumers already has a specific app on their phones; and when the user clicks the ad, it directs the user to a specific page within the existing app to make a purchase.
For instance, a consumer is searching for a new backpack for back to school shopping on her phone’s browser. The consumer already has the specific department store’s app installed on her phone that she see’s advertised, when she clicks the ad it will bring her to the backpack section within the store’s app or to a specific sale page for that product.
How Does Deep Linking Work?
A mobile developer can install a custom url scheme to point the mobile browser towards a specific page when a particular action is taken, such as clicking the link. For mobile advertising, this custom url will likely point towards the correct mobile website landing page for a product or service offering. Things a little more complicated when you link to an app.
“Enabling deeplinking for a mobile application will allow you to invoke deeplinks that open an app and launch specific, defined screens within the app, such as the homepage, product pages, and shopping cart, much as you would on a website.” Read more about mobile deep linking.
Why is Deep Linking Is Useful?
Greater engagement takes precedent over database size for the savvy mobile marketers. Companies are attempting to overcome the switch from mobile to desktop for purchases. The best use of deep linking helps to circumnavigate the need for consumers to search again for another product they want or bounce out to their desktop and break the connection with your brand. The primary reason that deep linking has such value is because it allows advertisers to direct customers to their pages via targeted ads (plus track the success).
Mobile Marketing “Opt-In” Option
Interestingly enough, SMS marketing by its very nature is an an opt-in marketing service. So concerns about marketing tactics such as the intrusiveness of deep linking (as perceived by some) is completely avoided. Users must opt in to your SMS program, so they not only expect targeted content from you but see something of value from your company. When a consumer wants to receive marketing collateral, then you have completed the same possible process as you could with the deep linking but without the extra coding work by a developer and without an “invasive” technology.
Mobile technology presents so many great opportunities for the marketing of your company. If you carefully approach each mobile tool and consider the best uses first, then there’s an enormous opportunity to meet your consumers needs and desires while also protecting consumer trust.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, TrueDialog is the preferred SMS solution for enterprise businesses and higher education. TrueDialog's cloud-based software and API make it simple to send mass text messages, communicate with employees, alert students and parents, and provide multi-user, team-based customer support at scale.