2014 has been a monumental year for mobile marketing and commerce, now representing 57.1% of all ecommerce sales during the heaviest shopping days of the year. Aside from some new buzzwords (wearables!) what have marketers learned this year in mobile strategy?
2014 was the year of the “Beacon Pilot Program.”
Look beyond the breathless headlines in 2014 that so-and-so retailer is embracing beacon technology and you see very few, if any, mass rollouts. Why? Partially, timing. By the time beacons exited the innovation lab we were too far into the year for retailers risk installing new hardware in stores for holiday rush. The other reason, cross organizational buy in. In-store stakeholders, along with their digital marketing counterparts, need to be aligned with the goals of the program as beacon rollout and management is a shared responsibility. In 2015, look for the conversation to move beyond the hardware to beacon management and reporting tools as keys to program success.
Push is the new email.
It has everything email marketers drool over – willing opt-ins, high open rates and even higher site (or in this case app) visits. With the strides of iOS and Android in making push messaging more interactive and end-user friendly, marketers will be shifting more attention in 2015 to native Push Notifications as an engagement and conversion tool.
iOS users still spend more, engage more.
This is not a dig on Android, which has evolved into a slick interface and some seriously nice devices, but iOS users seem to be more natural mobile shoppers. This year’s Holiday stats reaffirm Apples dominance - iOS users have over 40% larger order value and accounted for nearly four times the overall sales. Android matters, but it's just a different audience and apples-to-apples comparisons (sorry couldn’t resist) ignore commerce friendly attitude of iOS users and their tablet dominance certainly helps. Apple Pay is set to just accelerate this behavior. In 2015, look for Samsung or Google to ramp up their efforts to make Android more commerce friendly.
Your mobile website is your actual website.
Seems pretty self-intuitive, but it has taken years for the idea that mobile web is this unknowable "other web" to finally be put to bed. Responsive ate mobile web. Responsive is finally growing up and becoming a useful alternative to stand alone mobile websites. Sure, speed issues and complexity in setup might plague some, but many of those problems have become ironed out as server-side responsive has become a norm offering for major ecommerce and publishing platforms. In 2015, ecommerce will absorb mobile web, but apps emerge as a true omni-channel strategy.
Launch it and leave it doesn’t work.
When marketers first embraced apps, the cycle of development was measured in quarters. So it was no wonder that an average retail app would sit static for nearly a year between updates. Fast forward to an Age of Agile, and users have become more demanding that their favorite apps keep up with hardware and software updates on their favorite devices. Many retailers, however, have not caught up with this faster-paced development cycle. It’s an odd attitude from an industry that updates web functionality monthly, updates store décor weekly and digital campaigns daily. Look for brick-and-mortar retailers to learn from the positive results of their digital only counterparts and keep their 2015 apps as fresh as their produce.