Cross-screen commerce has become a focus for many brands. Consumers are looking for convenience and instant access to their favorite stores and products. As mobile technology has grown increasingly “smarter,” so has shoppers’ reliance on their devices for more of their retail needs.
In a report from Nielsen, 91 percent of adults have their mobile phone within arms reach 24/7; with that kind of immediate dependence, online retailers and mobile marketers should be prepared with a cross-screen commerce strategy. But while the marketing concepts and strategies for mobile are similar to those for desktop, the tactics are not.
Beginning this year, marketing teams need to think more aggressively about mobile and multiscreen. They must also reach beyond just downloads as the main performance metric. Downloads are easy–2014 will be about mobile monetization, and marketers will need to go the extra distance to find success.
Following are five essentials mobile marketers should take into account to leverage multiple devices for driving purchases and lifetime value.
1. Align Channels And Experience
Creating a uniform and seamless multiscreen experience for a campaign ensures the user experience and data carry over from one platform to another. If a customer is interested enough to place an item in her cart online, then her experience and confidence will strengthen when she logs into the app on her mobile device and sees the same items still selected. Connected cart technology also gives marketers the ability to retarget customers based on what they have placed in their online shopping carts across all screens.
2. Marketing Must Design For Small Screen
The most efficient path to purchase is always going to drive more sales. A key challenge for mobile is replicating on a smaller screen the clear and direct pathway available on the desktop. Reducing the steps to complete a purchase, and optimizing for mobile through responsive design—while keeping with brand experience—as well as adjusting for potential connectivity challenges should all be top of mind when creating the overall mobile strategy. According to a recent study by Marketing Land, more than 71 percent of mobile browsers expect Web pages to load at the same speed or faster than Web pages on their desktop computers, and 46 percent will abandon the mobile site if it is not working properly the first time. Neglecting to account for a smaller screen can all hinder a conversion.
3. Mobile Deeplinking Is A Must
To drive conversions, it is imperative that all ads, emails, push notifications, and retargeting efforts link witihin your site to the best possible customer experience depending on device, screen size, and whether a native app is installed. For native apps, deeplink the user into the app and then further internally, onto a specific page, promotion, or product featured. To avoid confusion or consumer frustration, marketers must also implement backup links in the event a user has uninstalled the app or to account for other status changes, such as product availability.
4. Cross-Screen Analytics
Analytics and data strategies need to be connected across all screens and should include desktop Web, mobile Web, and native apps. Native apps too often have simplistic analytics that sit in its own silo. To get a full customer view, roll up all behavioral data into one cohesive analytics strategy.
When launching mobile Web sites and native apps, it is imperative to do the work upfront to ensure that the correct data is being captured, can be analyzed, and can be easily shared with your email, retargeting, and personalization partners. Your best customers are going to shop with you across screens, so make sure you are capturing the data needed to deliver the best, personalized experience in every interaction.
5. Mobile App Development
Offering consumers a responsive-designed Web experience is a must, but a native app gives you a permanent home on their phones, a new communication channel, and the ability to deliver functionality that goes beyond what a mobile optimized site can do. A native app can include in-store functionality and offer coupons and promotions based on store visits. Native apps also open up a push notification channel, which can be very effective for driving sales.
When investing in mobile apps, it is important to budget for updates and maintenance throughout the year. Too many retail apps are launched and then neglected for months or even years in the app store. Apps need constant improvements for stability, speed, and functionality. It is an investment worth making because your best and most loyal customers will be one click away from you on the device that is always with them.