Among brand communities in retail, we can see an evident shift in the relationship between online and offline worlds. According to Forrester Research, $1 trillion of total offline retail sales are influenced by mobile. Now, mobile, in effect, shapes the offline environment, rather than the other way around.
Location-based marketing is a key driver in this interplay, with as many as 84 per cent [Google] of consumers using mobile to aid their shopping whilst in-store. This places brands in a position whereby they can sell more effectively to consumers via mobile apps. Geo-location data and past purchase information provide powerful marketing context. With this information, some of the smartest brands are developing apps and shopping experiences that are truly personalised to both product and individual.
Mobile marketing is a strong route to driving sales as it provides access to the latest key technologies, which enhance the shopper’s experience, such as, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, push notifications and location services. Online ordering then provides an easy Segway direct to purchase items.
The customer experience that is generated for consumers online is one that is entirely enriched, and therefore separates itself entirely from traditional offline shopping. Many brands have successfully pivoted to a mobile-first world, implementing strategies that include a range of effective targeting techniques. This new technological approach to shopping online naturally helps brands to create valuable and unique experiences, improving stickiness and brand loyalty.
Brand focus – who is doing mobile marketing well?
At the beginning of 2018, brands found themselves in an experimental phase regarding whether to partner with third-party developers and social media services, or create their own apps and technology independently. A huge amount of work is required in order to ensure an app functions as it’s supposed to. In spite of this, branded apps are very much paving the way in mobile marketing, as we have seen new strategies from brands such as Starbucks, who have opened up their Mobile Order and Pay app to allow non-rewards members to pay via the app.
Equally, Citibank’s recent update involved displaying spending insights and financial information to mobile users, appearing to take on recent offerings from challenger banks, such as Tandem, who provide consumer-friendly digital insights on spending patterns.
Beauty brand, Sephora, have also used geolocation technology to provide customers with past purchase information whilst in-store, so they can stock up on favourite items. It also provides beauty tips and even uses AI and AR via its Sephora Virtual Artist, a feature on the app that allows users to superimpose products onto their own face.
Lastly, online trainer marketplace, Goat, allows users to create wishlists and price ranges they are willing to pay via the app. Goat will then provide the user with push notifications every time a product they have saved goes on sale, or is listed as being 5 percent within their chosen threshold.
[Sephora Virtual Artist]
Evidently, there are a host of brands who are using mobile as an opportunity to enhance the shopping experience, rather than simply 'selling' online - an intelligent strategy in an environment where companies are increasingly competing for home screen monopolies and repeated users through mobile.