Mobile is playing an increasingly bigger role in the retail industry and is predicted to account for about half of 2020’s e-commerce sales in the United States and United Kingdom — 45% and 51% respectively. As such, it’s key for retailers to be proactive in adopting mobile strategies that engage customers at every step.
When we talk about mobile commerce, it’s important to keep in mind that we’re really talking about two channels: mobile browsers and mobile apps. Though browsers are better for driving initial awareness and engagement, apps are extremely effective when it comes to conversion. In fact, apps convert 160% more users than mobile browsers and 43% more than desktop browsers.
The good news for the retail industry is that consumer app usage is up, making up 66% of mobile sales for companies with both an app and mobile website. And a recent survey by Criteo shows that 60% of shoppers have downloaded an app in the past 6 months, while 57% have used a retail shopping app while in store. However, in order to drive long-term app usage, retailers need to get their messaging right at all stages of the funnel. Here are our top strategies for encouraging app engagement throughout the customer journey.
Target new customers with “next best action” messages
A great way to keep customers engaged early on is to ensure they’re completing actions that increase customer lifetime value. These actions will vary by retailer, but all companies can use rich push or in-app messages to prompt high-value actions, such as loyalty sign-ups, profile completion, or social media follows. Whatever those actions may be, you can set up waterfall criteria that seamlessly guide customers through their onboarding journey.
Boost engagement with product images
Once a customer has been onboarded, retailers have the opportunity to keep them engaged by using product images in their nurture campaigns. Movable Ink’s technology allows brands to pull images directly from their sites and drop them into rich push and app inbox messages. Companies can choose established criteria and available data to feature products like best sellers, new arrivals, or popular items. Likewise, they can select items based on timeliness, like bathing suits during vacation months, to capture users’ attention.
Encourage loyalty through rewards and promotions
Retention has always been important, but will be increasingly more so as retailers navigate the landscape in the wake of COVID-19. To get the most out of loyalty programs, brands can create push messages that pair balance reminders with expiring rewards, redemption offers, or points promotions based on customers’ past behaviors. This personalized approach ensures that consumers are being directed towards offers that are uniquely relevant to them.
Leverage customer behavior to drive purchases
If a customer browses an item or abandons it in their cart, a push notification can be the difference between them completing the purchase or not. It also gives the company the chance to provide updates on information like inventory, reduced price, applicable promotions, or availability at a nearby store. For instance, a reminder about a laptop that’s included in a back-to-school sale might be just the nudge a customer needs to go ahead and buy it. Similarly, companies can feature complementary product recommendations based on previous purchases, like a “complete the look” message.
Get creative with AR/VR technology
Looking to the future, one trend we’ve noticed is higher AR/VR adoption, which we expect to see more of in the retail sector. These technologies have become increasingly useful during the pandemic to help shoppers engage with products before purchasing them. The beauty space has been using AR for quite some time, but they’ve experienced a recent surge in usage due to store closures. Since customers can’t experiment and sample as they normally would, the ability to try on products virtually has become extremely useful.
Retailers can use filters to power a variety of AR experiences that boost customer engagement, like cheering on a favorite sports team, sending a holiday greeting to a loved one, or even visualizing products in their homes.
Create an omnichannel customer journey
Another trend we’re seeing is multi-touchpoint customer journeys that use mobile channels in tandem with others. Location-based push notifications have a significant effect on sales, with a little over a third of customers who shop on apps saying these messages influenced their in-store purchases. This, combined with store reopenings post-coronavirus, suggest there will be an even heavier reliance on mobile to aid the in-store shopping experience.
About the Author
Prior to joining Movable Ink, Rachel Cowlishaw worked on the client-side in a variety of marketing and CRM roles within the luxury retail space. She joins us from Neiman Marcus, where she oversaw Personalization and CRM Marketing across email, SMS, and mobile app. Most recently, she led a cross-functional agile team focusing on A/B testing and scaling personalized customer experiences and omnichannel journeys across stores and online. In addition she played an integral role in the enhancement of their MarTech stack, consolidating customer data and integrating vendor partners into a CDP. Rachel now oversees North America retail accounts for Movable Ink’s Client Strategy team.