Online Retail in a Mobile Wonderland

With Christmas only weeks away, the holiday season is well and truly upon us, and online retailers are scrambling to ensure their campaigns are locked in, and their brand is positioned for optimal success.

A strong mobile strategy can help alleviate the pain point of ad-fatigue, and provide boundless opportunities for retailers.

At Rakuten Marketing, we saw affiliate sales on mobile increase by an impressive 243 percent, whilst insights from our display and retargeting channel demonstrated that the global average order value on mobile grew 112 percent.

These statistics highlight one major point – when online retailers are fighting for the attention of consumers at crucial periods, mobile is a strategic key to ensuring their brand is front and centre.

So let’s take a look at 3 major elements that e-Commerce businesses should consider when implementing a strong mobile strategy:

  1. Mobile is a Place of Discovery

With consumers increasingly browsing their mobile, particularly using apps like Instagram and Pinterest, they’re in a mindset of discovery. Online shoppers don’t know what they’ll find and often they’re not necessarily looking for a particular product, however, they are open to receiving content.

The first thing online retailers need to understand about the discovery phase on mobile is that the search paradigm doesn’t work as well in apps. Instead of thinking of apps as a Google desktop, where consumers head with a specific intent in mind, the app is more like everyones’ favourite magazine.

The native style of Instagram, and the very nature of Pinterest, delivers new ideas and products directly to consumers, making them great tools for retailers to influence its target market. And now the influencers have cottoned on, leveraging these platforms to develop a unique connection with consumers, that are proven to drive high engagement.

Furthermore, the social platforms themselves are recognising the power of discovery. This was demonstrated earlier this year, when Pinterest reinstated the use of affiliate marketing links within its platform, a move which allows influencers to be credited and commissioned on any sales made by their followers with the brands they promote. The use of affiliate links further incentivises influencers to continue to create unique content.

mobile commerce

  1. Mobile Meets Social

Through mobile apps such as Facebook and Instagram, retailers have a plethora of data at their disposal, which can be used to accurately target and engage consumers, particularly when employing a social media strategy.

Facebook and Instagram provides retailers with the ability to target specific audience segments using demographics, locations, likes and interests. Serving relevant and influential content to consumers, ads appear in a native format, breaking through the clutter and the noise of traditional advertising, and ensuring consumers are targeted with products that are of interest to them.

So, how does this translate to mobile?

Aside from the fact that Instagram is a mobile platform, online retailers can accurately target consumers across a variety of devices using the data and login credentials from social platforms.

Let’s say a consumer is logged into Facebook on their desktop at work whilst browsing a retailer’s online store, but abandons prior to making a purchase. When they finish up for the day and go home and login into Facebook on their mobile, using deterministic data (aka the same login credentials) retailers are able to accurately serve retargeting ads to consumers, increasing the likelihood of the consumer returning to the online store and following through with the purchase.

  1. Mobile Goes Offline

Retailers are increasingly seeing the need to deliver blended consumer experiences across the digital and traditional retail journey. Affiliate marketing dominates the intersection of online-to-offline (O2O) sales, and this is largely in thanks to smartphones.

Innovative new publishers are continuously building out O2O solutions which enhance a retailer’s ability to accurately target and deliver a seamless experience.

Whether it is through geo-targeted deal alerts, mobile coupons that can be added to coupon aggregator apps or digital wallets that are scanned at the point of sale, retailers can tap into technologies ensuring they’re leaving no stone unturned in engaging consumers.

As an online retailer, it’s pivotal to ensure that your ads are breaking through the dreaded ad-fatigue of the holiday season. Through implementing effective mobile strategies that encompass discovery, social, consumer data and O2O strategies, online retailers can be confident that its audience is being reached.


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