‘Tis the season: Lines, lines everywhere. But shoppers are getting better at putting that down time to good use, studies show, by shopping online with their phones. SocialCentiv, whose software helps companies find customers on Twitter, has some holiday marketing tips to help marketers maximize their e-commerce and mobile campaigns; and ring up more jingle.
Ad spending is an area where retail marketers need to catch up: They play Scrooge with dollars designated for mobile e-commerce campaigns, while favoring traditional marketing.
Retail sales in the U.S. in the November and December holiday season should clock in at $885.7 billion, up 5.7 percent over the same period in 2014, according to eMarketer. E-commerce should account for 9 percent of total U.S. retail sales in this holiday season, up from 8.3 percent in 2014, eMarketer forecasts.
Some of the biggest change in retail shopping is coming from consumers’ increasing willingness to buy via mobile devices like smartphones. By the end of 2016, one out of every four dollars that retailers generate through e-commerce will originate on a mobile device, eMarketer projects.
Yet recent data suggests that many companies have yet to shift enough of their marketing efforts to the Internet, especially the mobile arena, according to Bernard Perrine, co-founder and CEO of SocialCentiv.
“In 2014, of every hour that U.S. consumers spent watching, listening to or reading media like television, radio, print publications or the Internet, they spent more than 14 minutes on mobile devices,” Perrine says. “But a recent Kleiner Perkins report shows that only 8 percent of U.S. advertising spending last year went toward ad platforms like smartphones and tablets.”
The Kleiner Perkins data show that U.S. advertisers were pouring too much money into media like print and television in 2014, because their audiences had shifted toward wireless devices, Perrine notes.
“That is an opportunity for marketers who know how to capitalize.”
Four points to success
There are four basic elements to maximizing a company’s marketing efforts online and on mobile, according to Jason Dove, SVP of sales and marketing at SocialCentiv:
- Set goals. “As Ometria has noted, companies must know what they’re looking to achieve in a campaign and have a reliable measuring stick to help determine when they’ve hit the mark,” Dove says.
- Know thy customer. This means doing in-depth research on demographic questions like age and income, along with learning where a business’s clientele hang out in cyberspace and what devices they use when they visit.
- Attract and convert. “A strong understanding of who buys a company’s products or services, and why they purchase, will inform the methods the business uses to spur interest in prospective customers,” Dove explains. It’s important to optimize Web pages to increase the odds of transactions getting done, with Ometria suggesting steps such as replacing carousel images with static ones on the home page.
- Measure and adjust. Every business is unique, as is every campaign it runs to bring in new customers. “It is important to keep close tabs on the results of every marketing push, and to make changes as things proceed to get the best bang for the corporate buck,” Dove adds.
Follow up, personalize
With consumers being bombarded with dozens or hundreds of marketing messages daily, marketers must go the extra mile to ensure their pitches are relevant to individuals in their target market. “The stronger the emotional connection an individual feels with a brand, the better the chances he or she will buy,” Dove says.
And since even the most loyal customers can’t respond to every marketing outreach, companies are well served by following up to help ensure their message gets heard. Research suggests that selective persistence can boost response rates, but the key is to avoid overdoing it.
E-commerce and mobile marketing are full of nuances, many of which can help make or break a sale, Perrine adds. This is why companies can benefit from getting outside expertise on the in’s and out’s of this emerging endeavor.
“A strong marketing partner can help make the cash register chime,” he says. “And during the holidays in particular, that is music to a CEO’s ears.”