A Customer-Centric Mobile Strategy Will Be Key to Winning the Holidays - Insights

A Customer-Centric Mobile Strategy Will Be Key to Winning the Holidays

by Megan AnderleNovember 7, 2016

This holiday season, mobile will be king, but marketers need to go beyond merely pushing promotions and deals to our devices.

Brands that pair mobile with content, personalization tools, and the right contextual signals will provide consumers more relevant and meaningful experiences – which should result in a higher return on marketing efforts.

Mobile shopping has been on the rise, every holiday season; there’s no question that a strong mobile presence is an imperative. 

Last year, shoppers spent $12.7 billion on purchases through their tablet and smartphone devices – a major increase of 59 percent from the 2014 holiday season. Retailers saw a 140 percent increase in mobile clicks last year. And consumers now start holiday shopping earlier in the season over mobile – 40 percent of users are starting to buy before Halloween, according to Regina Wilson, who works at Google with agencies to drive advertiser, acquisition, and overall business growth.

That uptick is expected to continue this year.

At Blue Fountain Media’s recent “Future of Customer Engagement + Digital Technology” seminar, Wilson highlighted mobile’s increasingly important role in the 2016 holiday shopping season. Google estimates $1.1 trillion purchases will be mobile-influenced this year, meaning users will be searching for products online at an unprecedented rate and then making a decision to buy online or in a local store.

More often, people are using their mobile devices to research products and decide what to purchase, even if they aren’t buying directly over a mobile platform.

“Brick-and-mortar isn’t dead, and it won’t ever die, but having a strong mobile presence is becoming more and more important,” Wilson said. She added that “near me” searches for stores have doubled in the past year.

Providing users with an optimized mobile experience is crucial; Wilson cited Forrester research that shows 40 percent of users abandon a mobile website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

“Today’s consumers are no longer brand loyal. They’re needs loyal,” she said. 

To meet those needs, serving consumers unique, engaging, and personalized content across mobile channels is equally as important as making the experience speedy.

Brands can leverage a multichannel distribution strategy to promote content on social, email, website, and blogs. In doing so, they’ll create multiple touch points to reach omnichannel shoppers (people who buy both online and in stores) and provide them useful information, no matter where they are.

Beyond that, brands can offer shoppers personalized, location-based experiences on their apps. For example, Target’s Cartwheel app notes aisle locations for users’ local stores and allows them to create shopping lists. Users can also scan product bar codes through the app to discover prices, deals, and other information. 

Retailers experimenting with beacons have also been focused on delivering better customer experiences. Sephora, for example, sent push notifications to nearby shoppers to alert them about perks such as gifts and free makeovers. The company’s iBeacon trial run at a few San Francisco stores was very successful, with more than 80% of Sephora shoppers opting in.

IKEA has an augmented reality app in which the user can place the catalogue in a room and see an image of what furniture would look like in the space. It advises the user on whether it would fit in the space and gives recommendations for styles that coordinate best.

“The creative is going to be key here, with purpose in mind and thoughtfulness for the customer,” says Joe DiNardo, director of marketing operations at Blue Fountain Media.

Key Takeaways for Marketers:

  • Going in to the holiday season, ensure that your website, newsletters, and all online presences are mobile-optimized.
  • Leverage owned and paid channels to promote your messages so you can meet consumers where they are.
  • However, don’t just push out sales and deals. Provide useful content that informs, entertains, and engages.
  • Where possible, offer shoppers personalized and/or location-based content to create a more relevant buyer experience.


Megan Anderle is a writer and editor at Newscred who specializes in technology. Her work has been featured in The Guardian, The Atlantic and AdAge.