Going mobile may be the the best thing for retailers this holiday season

With the holiday season almost here, now may be a good time for retailers to reflect on the lessons learnt from last year’s holiday shopping patterns. The holiday period is traditionally known for recording huge volumes of sales, and as per an article in Forbes, this year is expected to be no different. Retail outlets will therefore need to step up their game to become the choice destination for shoppers sifting through the deluge of offers, discounts and deals thrown at them.

In such a scenario, getting to communicate with customers in a personal and intimate nature is integral to getting them to come to your store instead of your competitors.  And what better way to do that than by the use of mobile phones and smart devices! After all, a study by Google and Ipsos on the holiday shopping trends of last year revealed that consumers depended a great deal on their smartphones before making their requisite purchases.

The study says that 46% of consumers researched an item on their smartphones before going in a store to make a purchase, with 57% of such shoppers declaring their devices to be “extremely useful” during their shopping expeditions. Be it to read reviews, check for discounts, search through a store’s inventory or even to simply look for usable discounts and deals, holiday shoppers are expecting their stores to be, literally, on their fingertips.

If these numbers aren’t enough for retailers to take charge of their mobile marketing strategies at once, perhaps another statistic will do the job. A study by the Kellogg School of Management said that in-store mobile shoppers are the ones who spend more at a store as compared to other shoppers—not only are they big spenders, such shoppers prefer to buy at a physical store as well, making them a demographic worth impressing and engaging with.

With such statistics behind it, mobile can therefore be expected to play a crucial role in shopping patterns during this year’s Black Friday. In fact, an article in Marketing Land says that retailers without mobile platforms could face a double downer, because not only would they find it hard to stave off competition from online retail outlets, they would also be unable to attract or influence in-store customer purchases as well.

So, what do retailers need to know about their mobile marketing strategies? First of all, push out your mobile platform as soon as you can—the festivities may be weeks away, but rest assured that shoppers are already checking digital shelves for their purchases. Give them tools that they can use—while they will love coupons and deals, shoppers will also appreciate being able to compare products, discuss their details, see the options available to them, etc.

When it comes to the design of your platform, make sure that it is not just a variation of your online website—customers today are much savvier and they expect a great deal more from their mobile applications. Personalized information, location-based services, social media integration—the possibilities of a mobile platform are immense and one can expect them to translate into good profits not just during the holiday season, but long after it is over as well.

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Categories: Consumer Behaviour, Industry Trends

Author:Aby Sam Thomas - Guest Blogger

Aby Sam Thomas is a writer and journalist living in New York City. He is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has been published in a number of publications including DNAInfo.com, The Huffington Post, The Indypendent, Untapped Cities and Allvoices.com. He is interested in a variety of topics and has written on themes as varied as arts, culture, technology, religion, current events and more. He can be contacted via Twitter at @thisisaby.

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