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How Marketers Can Keep Pace As Mobile Rises And Matures
Columnist Soo Jin Oh reviews mobile trends over the 2014 holiday season revealing the power of mobile for e-tailers and e-commerce.
2014 was by far one of the most successful years in e-commerce sales and one of the first times we saw mobile contribute a significant amount to overall spending growth.
This trend particularly rang true during the 2014 holiday season, as mobile traffic accounted for 45% of all online traffic from November-December. The mobile activity positively affected retailers’ sales numbers, which were up more than 25% on mobile devices over the same time period in 2013.
Analysts predict that the trend will continue as consumers reduce desktop and in-store purchases, especially as mobile devices become easier to shop on and retailers put more dollars behind mobile strategies.
Here’s a look at why we saw the surge in mobile throughout the 2014 holiday shopping season and ways to continue mobile’s momentum in the New Year and as we look forward to the next Q4.
Rising Tide: Mobile Continues Its Swell
Early data from the fourth quarter of 2014 produced by IBM shows record breaking activity for mobile, with online traffic from mobile devices surpassing desktop on Thanksgiving Day and accounting for nearly 50% of all online traffic on Black Friday.
Amazon reported that more than half of their customers used mobile devices to shop over the holidays, while large brick and mortar retailer Walmart climbed 84% over the past year. Walmart also saw more than 70% of web traffic come from mobile devices between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
Ravi Jariwala, a spokesman for Walmart, recently told USA Today that Walmart operates with the assumption that 100% of their customers have smartphones, which explains why the retailer has focused so much on its mobile app. The widespread adoption of mobile devices is forcing brick and mortar retailers to invest more heavily in mobile strategies so that they can compete with larger scale e-commerce brands.
On Christmas Day, IBM reported that desktops still managed to capture the most dollars with nearly two-thirds of online sales. 2014 trends show that consumers are browsing across mobile devices, but still purchasing on desktops. While mobile gets traffic, desktop continues to reign in actual sales.
The next phase of the mobile revolution will focus on conversions, which will likely be driven by advances in mobile payment options and more consumer-friendly mobile applications.
Making More Out Of Mobile
2014 marked the year for more sophisticated and enhanced mobile-friendly sites and applications. Marketers didn’t just focus their marketing efforts on app downloads, but they built experiences for user engagement.
In the past, payment processes and shipping have been a big pain-point for consumers who are looking to complete purchases on mobile devices and receive their goods quickly; but this year, retailers recognized that to compete with large e-tailers, strong mobile payment platforms and free shipping have to be incorporated into their marketing plans.
Flash sales, daily deals and mobile coupons were the primary types of mobile promotion used during holiday season. Target, which was ranked as one of the retailers with the most site visits in the U.S. for 2014 by eMarketer, used its digital offerings to rack up a record-breaking holiday season.
Cartwheel, Target’s digital coupon app, added 2 million new users over the holiday period, and Black Friday weekend purchases made via mobile phones were two times higher than 2013.
The 2015 Mobile Experience
Although marketers have evolved and matured the mobile user experience from research to the purchase process, there is still more room to grow in terms of mobile reach and conversions. Mobile is no longer specific to a certain demographic or age group, which means that brands now have the freedom to test different creative ads and messaging to determine what delivers the highest ROI.
Now is the time to be using multi-variate testing and incorporate a higher number of data sets to optimize for future holiday campaigns. Making mobile a more prominent channel for reaching a wide range of customers will significantly grow mobile’s role in sales and marketing. For some brands, that means investing and improving mobile apps and for others, it means optimizing for mobile web experiences.
On the conversion front, marketers will have to find ways to turn mobile interactions into transactions. Cross device targeting will help in its ability to make messaging consistent from device to device, putting more relevant ads and promotions directly in the hands of current and potential customers.
If this past holiday season taught us anything, it’s that the now is the time for marketers to focus on improving shopping experiences on mobile screens and building a loyal customer base for holiday season 2015.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.