Commentary

Holiday 2015 Mobile Messaging Checklist - Part I

When holiday sales are lagging behind forecast, you'll want a super quick and easy way to pump them up. Take these steps now to get your secret weapon -- mobile messaging -- ready for action.

Why focus on Push and SMS when mobile is a tiny sliver of the small slice of ecommerce, compared to in-store sales? Because we know these things:

  1. Multichannel customers spend more. According to representatives of Sephora, Walgreens and Staples, for those who shop in-store, online and via mobile spend is four to six times that of in-store-only shoppers.
  2. The path to purchase includes mobile. Mobile traffic to your sites is on the rise -- and more than ever, shoppers use phones in-store.
  3. You can develop, approve and send a mobile message in a fraction of the time it takes to create an email.
  4. With so few retailers doing mobile messaging -- well, you have the opportunity to create a competitive advantage.

Grow Your List

Given these benefits, it only makes sense to ramp up efforts to build your list now. I just wrote about growing your SMS list, so I will focus on growing your Push subscribers.

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As this example by Brenden Mulligan demonstrates, offering Push notifications when the user is most receptive to them is critical. Bombarding the user immediately after download or during an app tutorial is not as effective as requesting permission when the user has accessed functionality that can be enhanced by Push notifications. You have just shared something with your friends, for example -- do you want to receive a notification when a friend responds?

For users who did not accept notifications when first offered, consider an in-app ad, targeted email or social ad to demonstrate the benefits. Consider these reasons that users say would prompt them to restart app use:

  • Discount or coupons toward next purchase
  • Exclusive or bonus content
  • Family, friends and colleagues started using it
  • Notification of new features

Know What's Working

Do you know which offers drove the highest engagement and conversion and which led to the highest opt-out to date? If not, it's time to have a serious talk with your data. Look at your top and bottom performers and strategize what you can do to repeat successes and avoid failures. You still have time to do some A/B testing to prove any theories that are inconclusive thus far.

And if your answer is “I don't know, we could not track that,” it's time to figure out how to change that. Bit.ly codes and unique mobile offer codes are your friends.

Connect the Dots

One of the things you will likely discover when reviewing your campaigns is that narrowly focused offers don't work as well for a broad audience. For category-specific offers, you need to target customers with a propensity to buy. If you can't match behavior to your mobile subscribers, it's time to get to work.

There are a variety of ways to connect your mobile subscribers to other customer data -- both technical and marketing, which I wrote about previously. Ask yourself: what data would enhance my messaging this holiday season? Then figure out how to get it. Do you need to merge two databases to find matches? You may not be able to do this with your current systems, but may be able to extract and merge. Go make friends with the DBA. For the alignment that can't be made with data, go to your customers and ask for that key piece of information and provide something in return: points, discounts, free shipping, etc.

Make Friends with Store Ops

Brick-and-mortar accounts for 90% or more of all retail sales. In addition to driving mobile discovery and store traffic, there is a huge opportunity to influence purchase in-store. As a Vibes study revealed, most showroomers are looking to “feel better about their purchase.”

A Zavers by Google study found that 42% of shoppers say they will leave a store if they have left a coupon at home. Address both by offering a text-to-get coupon or a discount on purchase when shoppers download your app or join your loyalty program. To make that happen, you need signage and staff to generate awareness. Think of those Black Friday lines and remember Jakob Nielsen's dictum: killing time is the killer app. Unfortunately, the silos between physical and digital are a huge obstacle.  Follow mobile leader Macy’s and think digical: the physical and digital merged. These steps lay the foundation for a sound holiday mobile messaging strategy.

In Part Two, we will go into more depth on process, legal, omnichannel, creative and timing. Thanks for tuning in!

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