Mobile commerce has got a lot of attention lately with ecommerce stores coming up with their own mobile websites and applications. The attention is justified as consumers are shifting their focus towards their mobile devices while browsing for products or making a purchase.
As per Statista, in the US alone, mobile ecommerce spending increased from $0.6 billion in 2010 to $11.1 billion in 2015. The mobile revolution is evident from the fact that the fashion ecommerce company, Myntra, shut down its desktop website and shifted its entire business to its mobile app.
However, having a mobile website or app is not enough. Online businesses have been concentrating on optimizing the experience for their customers. Whether on the website, mobile app or in-store, today’s shopper is looking for the best shopping experience — a personalized shopping experience.
So, here are some trends emerging in mobile personalization space, which will help you receive your customer’s increased attention and set you apart.
The fact that a mobile device accompanies the user everywhere he/she goes, makes it a powerful medium to target him as per his location through geo-targeting and geo-fencing.
With geo-targeting, you deliver location-specific messages to users using their real-time location. Geo-fencing, on the other hand, is setting a perimeter around a physical store and triggering relevant messages on user’s smartphone as soon as he steps inside that perimeter.
For instance, you stop for gas and while waiting you receive a special offer for groceries on your mobile at a store nearby. Combine this with the urgency of specific sale-days, such as valentine’s day, and you could be plucking the low-hanging fruits of micro-targeted, customized sales.
Consider this example below, a message sent to a user while he was in the vicinity of a brick-and-mortar store.
According to Sean Tepper, a software and technology consultant, geo-targeting is the trend that makes smart marketers, look like all-stars. However, the truth is, if your company is not relying on geo-targeting, you might want to perk your ears up for this tasty treat.
He asserts, “Knowing exactly where consumers are located physically, allows businesses to market specifically to them. The pattern of getting what we want, when we want, is a temptation that will always continue and smart companies will win big, when they play on this urge.”
Inna Semenyuk, founder of WandrCard, also vouches for location-based personalization. She says, “Location-based services including proximity marketing and geo-fencing not only respond to a customer’s immediate needs in specific relevant products and services, but also creates opportunities for brands to offer these proactively by identifying the location of the customer and matching it against layers of big data on customer interests and purchasing behaviour available.”
Adding Context to Every Interaction
Berkley Bowen, Founder and CEO of Cue Connect, feels that retailers will be seen focussing on context in the coming year than ever before, that involves shifting the focus on exploring the customer’s mindset by finding out more about the intricacies of a shopper’s interests.
He says, “Imagine reminding shoppers of an important birthday coming up that they need to buy a gift for. You can sync your database with their calendars to recommend a time to buy that gift, while also suggesting products based on what they’ve bought in past. Simultaneously, you can use their GPS to show them the nearest stores that carry those items.
The number of ways to personalize the experience are endless, but what remains true is learning from past behavior to add context to future interactions.”
According to Berkley, this ‘retailer-as-a-friend’ model will drive loyalty in 2016. He feels that in the hyper-mobile landscape, giving good ol’ loyalty points with each purchase will not be enough as shoppers turn to their smartphones to things more than just buying.
Being active will not suffice. You need to be proactive and guess the future needs of the consumers and plan your marketing accordingly.
Take a look at this image below of Wrapp, the gifting app. It syncs with your Facebook account and pulls out your friends’ birthdays to send gift notifications. The app, then recommends the type of gift cards according to the offers available in the respective location.
Social Ecommerce Integration
Social media platforms give ecommerce brands various options to increase their products’ visibility as well as conversion.
Instagram has included the ‘Shop Now’ CTA which takes the user to the company’s website or mobile app.
Liza Chu from Black N Bianco says,“Offering your target audience a personalized ad campaign will be the hottest trend in 2016 especially with Instagram ads rolling out recently. The reach will be massive and best of all, personalized for your target audience.
Creative advertising on the mobile social media platforms will dominate 2016. The ability to purchase your products directly off social media platforms will be a huge opportunity to grow and expand your mobile presence.”
You can ask your customers to add their social accounts in their profile on your shopping app, so that you can send them more customized notifications based on their social activity, while also showing them related products on social media. This will help you utilize both the channels effectively.
Personalized In-app and Push Notifications
In-app and push notifications have been there for a while now. Dallas McLaughlin of The James Agency believes that this is one opportunity which businesses shouldn’t ignore.
Gilt, a fashion and travel startup, have adopted a ‘mobile-first’ culture by using the power of personalization. Gilt personalizes the user’s experience by iterating his profile over time, and showing the single-best sale of the day according to the user’s taste through push notifications. Thus, it doesn’t overuse push notifications and sends only relevant ones.
For instance, a notification that says, Sale starting at 12 PM Eastern daily, or another informing the user about the availability of a waitlisted product . The image below shows one such personalized notification by Gilt:
In-app notifications are a powerful way to reach your most active users while they are using your app. Gilt exploits this extensively by sending an overlay in-app notification that appears at the bottom of the screen with a relevant offer, such as free shipping, while the user is browsing a list of products on sale.
Dallas McLaughlin says, “In 2016, brands must learn how to collect cross-channel data, segment their users based on consumption habits, and personalize their mobile marketing messages based on who their users are, what they do, and what they like. Sending personalized push notifications and in-app messages that speak directly to the consumer can help drive engagement and build brand loyalty.”
Mobile as a Digital In-store Assistant
There has been a large emphasis on how ecommerce ‘deliver an experience’ to their customers. Lately, this has extended to include the in-store shopping experience as well. A research by Mobile Commerce Daily found that 51% of respondents used retail mobile apps while shopping in-store for redeeming in-store discounts, finding products, and viewing product ratings and reviews.
Having hardware in-store that communicates with user devices (for instance, beacon technology) helps the retailer to communicate and engage shoppers on a highly personal and contextual level.
Features, such as in-store navigation, deliver a convenient shopping experience by helping customers locate desired products within the store. Customers who have signed up for a store’s loyalty app receive personalized product recommendations, real-time discounts and adverts.
Take a look at how Tesco with its MyStore App allows customers to create a shopping list at home and notifies them when their order is ready for pickup once they arrive at a store.
Berkley Bowen of Cue Connect says that in ‘The New Digital Divide’ study by Deloitte, respondents were asked where they would prefer to go for assistance in-store and across every category, the majority of respondents said they preferred to use their own device.
He further adds,”We predict more retailers will be creating mobile experiences with in-store shoppers in mind. They will be making it easier for them to find the information they are looking for and connecting with their friends and family for their opinions on it, treating mobile like a digital in-store assistant instead of a smaller version of their website.”
Today’s smart customer is looking for a seamless experience that makes them choose your brand over others. Personalization goes a long way in building relationships with your customers by creating valuable experiences for them.
As technology matures and marketers get a better hold at making their data actionable, mobile personalization would not only become a standard marketing practice, but something customers would expect your brand to provide. Matching steps with the trends discussed above will fetch you rewards in terms of revenue as well as more customers. However, ignoring them might leave your customers with no choice but to to turn to your competitors for a better shopping experience.