While there’s no question sitting in traffic, fighting for a parking space, not being able to get help in the stores, groping through ransacked shelves, taking in the exquisite audio combo of holiday elevator music and crying children, and getting bargain-blocked in a “retail smackdown” is a grand time…an alternative way of shopping will be getting embraced this year more than ever.
According to eMarketer, almost 20 million US adults will redeem a mobile coupon this year. That includes coupons or codes received via text, apps and mobile browsers, or a QR code, and group buying coupons purchased via mobile. This year, almost 1 in 5 smartphone owners 18 and up will redeem a mobile coupon. That’s a growth of 117.6%. And that’s just couponing, never mind any other possible mobile strategies.
Now, layer the holiday shopping season on top of that and you start to get the picture that whether it’s at home or in the stores, this is going to be a big holiday season for shoppers incorporating social on mobile into their gift-buying. Are you ready?
Holiday shoppers are, above all else, warriors. They strategize, they get out maps, hold team meetings, coordinate every meal, and assemble a cache of sales flyers. They have a plan. Your job is to reach them early so that you’re a part of that plan, or to hit them on the fly with an offer that’s too good to refuse. So if you’re going after them on their mobiles (and you should), keep these things in mind:
- Don’t forget to gather your own intel. Whatever tool you offer them to make life easier for them when their shopping days come, get whatever customer info you can as they’re registering for that tool so you can customize their experience as much as possible.
- But first of course, come up with that tool. Make it something they’ll want, that’s practical, that’s relevant, and that will actually be of use to them out there on the battlefield. They’ll appreciate you for it, and they’ll brag about it to their friends who had to suffer through their shopping without it.
- Use your mobile campaigns to build and reinforce the one-to-one relationship you have with your customer. You aren’t broadcasting. You’re talking to and dealing with one person. You can assume their mobile is on and near them at all times. This is the time, and mobile is the way, to really perfect your “brand as a human being” skills.
- When designing your UI, keep the screen size of mobiles in mind. A shopper might be able to read your microscopic text at home if they strain their eyes, but when they’re in action in the stores, you want everything really big and really easy to see and manipulate.
- Make everything possible start-to-finish on the mobile. Don’t try to drive them to your website. They’re unlikely to want to have to jump on the demo laptops at Best Buy to get something you’re trying to offer them.
- Think about all the things a mobile can do. It’s a phone, it’s a text device, it’s a still camera, it’s a video camera, it’s an MP3 player, etc. These are the kind of functions you can utilize in your mobile Christmas shopping campaigns. But remember, they’re crazed and really busy…so don’t make them jump through too many hoops.
- The less bandwidth your mobile campaign can hog, the better. Shoppers’ schedules are really tight, and the faster your stuff loads, the better. Likewise, keep your message very short and easily digestible.
- Do some advance work on your social channels in advance of the big day(s). Use Facebook and Twitter to let them know about how indispensible your mobile app or campaign is going to be to them. You want them to have it armed and ready in advance.
- The more your offers can be geo-targeted, time-specific, store-specific, and incentivized, the better.
Hey, we don’t like seeing Christmas decorations in the stores right after Labor Day any more than you do, but the time for planning out how you’re going to be a true mobile shopping partner to your customer this holiday season is now.