Web Clicks: Mobile Marketing—Moving Up the Retail Priority Chain

Web Clicks: Mobile Marketing—Moving Up the Retail Priority Chain


With advertising and marketing becoming so fragmented today between print, social media, web, mobile, etc., finding the right mix has become a complicated equation for retailers.

Just as many retailers have finally gotten their brains wrapped around getting their websites in order and taking a stab at social media, consumers are now beginning to adapt to making purchases and accepting product pitches on their smartphones and tablets.

“It took a while,” began Lauren Sosik, a retail marketing consultant based in New Jersey. “But as smartphone and tablet technology has evolved, so too has the way consumers are using the devices. And a growing percentage no longer feel having marketing messages texted to them is invasive . . . they are now embracing this practice.”

The main objective for all marketing campaigns should be about driving in-store traffic or “footfall,” as it is also commonly referred to. And it only stands to reason that, seeing as consumers are typically out and about when they are engaged with their mobile devices, a well-timed mobile marketing message might get them through your doors—perhaps that same day.

A recent report from Juniper Research found that the annual spending by U.S. retailers on mobile marketing will reach $55 billion by the end of 2013, almost double the $28 billion level expected for 2012. So it’s safe to assume your competitors may certainly be catching on.

Delving into the report a bit deeper, just over 41% of marketing e-mails were opened on a mobile device in the second half of 2012, up from 36% in the first half of 2012, 27% in the second half of 2011, 20% in the first half of 2011 and 13% in the fourth quarter of 2010. See a trend developing here?

Similarly, the report observed that mobile devices were driving retail footfall through coupons, with couponing apps becoming an increasingly popular mechanism of distribution and coupon storage.

There are now those in the retail world who feel today’s retailers simply must adopt a mobile-first mindset. As Adorama’s vice president of Marketing, Brian Green explained it’s all about the immediate engagement mobile can provide.

“Marketing today is not about selling products, goods or services,” he said. “The models of marketing today are platforms to instantaneously engage at the immediate point the customer displays interest. From mobile coupons and offers, and app contests, to custom QR codes and geo-location based promotions, we strive to leverage mobile marketing with various objectives. As a retailer with all types of technologically savvy customers it is that much more important to constantly engage and evolve.”

As imaging retail continues to struggle some with regard to getting customers to do more with their images, mobile would seem to be a perfect fit in helping with this dilemma as well.

Chris Ely, CEA’s manager of industry relations, agreed as he recently told DIR that the desire to print photos is there but consumer awareness regarding many of today’s photo merchandise services is lacking.

“Our recent studies are showing a strong desire to print photos,” Ely explained. “Two in three U.S. adult photographers print at least one photo in a typical month and roughly two in five estimate they send more than $25 each year to print photos.”

He added that making the camera-clicking public more aware of the diverse and generally inexpensive output services that are available today will help drive sales in this area. Mobile is the perfect platform to do exactly this.

A study released by InfoTrends late last year appears to back Ely’s assertion, as the report claims the overall market for personalized printed products in the U.S. is estimated to grow from 113 million units in 2012 to nearly 158 million units by 2017.

Furthering this push on the mobile marketing front, the InfoTrends report also strongly recommends that in all product categories “retailers must continue to develop and promote mobile ordering, focus on mobile marketing messaging, conveying quality of products, and targeting new demographics.”

Adorama is currently pushing the boundaries with their mobile marketing efforts and has developed a mobile friendly website. “[A] must,” said Green, “and the site is optimized for all screens and devices, we even market different product offers and separate banner ads that are targeted to the mobile user.” 

Add to that the use of mobile coupons that are delivered to the cell phones of Adorama subscribers—offering in-store coupons and free gifts—as well as the retailer’s Appos Awards, a mobile photography contest that encourages mobile image taking and utilizes various mobile image-editing apps.

“If retailers are using e-mail to engage customers, each campaign needs to be great on mobile devices,” added Patti Renner, director of Marketing at Knotice, an online mobile marketing firm. “That includes the links throughout as well—each destination needs to both work well and look great on phones, tablets and desktops to make sure the best brand experience is maintained.”

All that being said, making sure your current marketing campaign has the flexibility to be effective in a mobile format should be an important part of your thought process moving forward.