Retail Mobile Marketing: Creating a Strategy to Drive In-store Sales
This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Retail mobile marketing is when retailers use marketing campaigns such as text messaging and push notifications to target consumers on mobile devices. The idea behind this marketing tactic is that you should meet consumers where they already are—on their phones—and get products in front of them, incentivize them to buy, and even drive them into your store.
In the following sections, we will look at how you can create a retail mobile marketing strategy in just five steps.
Step 1: Define Your Mobile Marketing Goals
The SMART goals methodology, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, can help provide the framework to determine the goal for your retail mobile marketing strategy. It is the first step to ensuring you and your associates understand your strategy—and how you can achieve it.
At my store, for example, we used SMS outreach/text messaging—letting customers know about special offers and new arrivals—as our primary mobile marketing strategy. As an example, our SMART goals for this effort were:
- Specific: Yield a 6% or greater conversion rate from text to sale.
- Measurable: We will use click data to see how many users go from the text link to our site and determine how many of those users end up making a purchase.
- Achievable: Use contact information from the loyalty program to contact customers before every sale or store event. Also, send new arrival information (bimonthly) and personal recommendations (monthly).
- Relevant: We operate on a limited-quantity, low-price, and fast-turnover model, and this is what our texts will help create excitement around. Our customers desire this insider information, and it will be exciting for them and incentivize them to shop.
- Time-bound: We hope to reach our 6% conversion rate from text outreach in six months.
Step 2: Understand Your Customers
To ensure that your mobile marketing efforts will resonate and inspire sales, you need to understand your customer base—including their preferences, demographics, and needs. Without this, you can’t have a successful mobile marketing strategy. Here’s where to start:
Understand the who, what, and why by analyzing the data you already have.
- Who is generating the most revenue?
- What are they buying—and how often?
- Why do they need these products?
You can tap into customer relationship management (CRM) software to help with some of the heavy lifting. Alternatively, you can also use your point-of-sale (POS) system to gather this data. POS Systems offer marketing tools, reporting, and analytics insights to help you create a clear marketing plan based on your customer profile and behavior.
What better place to start than with the people interacting with your customers daily? The key here is to focus your questions on who your team thinks are your store’s best customers, as this will ensure that your marketing strategy will target the right audience.
- What do you think your best customers have in common?
- Why do you think your best customers keep coming back?
- What seems to be the most important to your best customers?
- How do you think our products help solve your best customers’ needs?
What are the purchasing behaviors of your customers? How do they shop online? While your customer data may not give you a concrete answer, you can tap into trends and insights to better understand.
For example, convenience plays a huge role in consumer behavior. According to the National Retail Foundation’s 2020 Consumer View report, 83% of consumers say convenience while shopping is more important now compared to five years ago. Additionally, 52% say that half or more of their purchases are influenced by convenience.
There is much to be learned from consumer research. You can see some of our top retail stats for 2022 in these articles to get the freshest insights into your customer base.
- Online Shopping Statistics Retailers Should Know
- Omnichannel Statistics for Retailers
- Retail Statistics: The State of In-store Shopping
- Point-of-Sale Statistics To Know
If you start noticing similarities during your research, you can consider segmenting your customers to take your audience insights a step further.
Segmentation (CRM): This is when you divide your customer base into segments based on a certain variable (age, location, purchase history, etc.), and study that segment of your customer group so that you can better understand and target their needs and preferences to create more personalized experiences.
One way to use segmentation in retail mobile marketing is to identify which customers respond to mobile marketing initiatives and which don’t. For example, at my store, we found that our older clients found receiving texts invasive, while younger audiences liked to stay in the know. With this knowledge, we removed our oldest segment of customers from our SMS marketing list and sent higher volumes of text to younger shoppers.
Did you know?
Two-thirds of consumers expect companies to understand their individual needs and expectations.
Step 3: Decide on a Single, Simple Message
It is vital to keep your mobile marketing message as simple, clear, and straightforward as possible. Recent studies find that while Americans are spending an average of 4 hours and 30 minutes on their phones each day, the average attention span is down to 8 seconds. To reach consumers effectively, you have to get their attention quickly.
To start crafting your mobile marketing message, ask yourself how your message can address your customers’ needs and wants—which you should have a good grasp of after doing your research. Begin with their most important need. Use your messaging to highlight how your store addresses it, and then deliver your message succinctly.
Using customer needs as the basis for your messaging can be a driving force in ensuring your retail mobile marketing strategy is as effective as possible.
That simple message, however, is only as effective as your marketing platforms. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you risk losing your customers’ interest because of a subpar experience, regardless of your message.
One way to check if your website is mobile-friendly is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. All you have to do is enter your website’s URL to receive a full analytics report, with clear action items to address, in seconds.
Google Optimize is another tool you can use to better understand what your customers engage with the most by testing your website’s content and performance. This tool provides advanced targeting tools to provide the best content to your best customers, too.
Have a mobile app—or looking to build one? Aim to prioritize functionality and performance over fancy features. And remember: Always test it from a consumer’s perspective.
Step 4: Launch Your Mobile Marketing Campaign
Once you have your mobile marketing campaign planned and ready to go, it’s time to put it out into the wild. Where you should focus your campaign will vary between customer groups (and should be revealed by your research). However, there are a few key places nearly every business can benefit from leveraging.
Most US consumers (99%) search online for a local business, with 98% reading online reviews. With Google My Business, you can ensure your business listing is as up-to-date as possible with accurate location, hours, website, and contact information.
Already have customers opted-in for text communications? Then SMS marketing is a must-have for your mobile marketing strategy, especially if you’re incorporating time-sensitive, in-store promotions into your campaign.
According to a 2022 Twilio SendGrid report, SMS is one of the most preferred channels for audiences to connect with businesses, along with email—although SMS sees a much higher open rate (94%) than email (14.5%.)
Remember, these messages have a short character count limit—so keep your communications clear and concise with the necessary information on the promotion, the deadline, and any applicable links. Always send your texts at an appropriate time, too.
While email marketing open rates aren’t as high as those of SMS marketing, email is still growing—and definitely isn’t going anywhere. The key to ensuring your email communications are as effective as possible is to think, of course, mobile-first.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Write short, compelling subject lines. This space lessens on mobile, so keep your subject lines between 25–30 characters.
- Use the space beneath the subject line. Referred to as preheader text, this is where you can quickly summarize your in-store promotions to entice users to click.
- Ensure your copy is scannable. Shorter paragraphs are easier on the eye, especially on a mobile device.
- Include a single call to action (CTA). Be intentional about what you want your customers’ next step to be, and ensure your CTA button is near the top of your email.
Step 5: Test & Learn
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful retail mobile marketing strategy. But, analyzing, testing, and learning as you go can ensure you’re on the right track.
If you use the SMART goal methodology outlined above, the framework is already set for you. If you decide to compile data monthly, this is the perfect time to see what is and isn’t working and how you can adapt moving forward to achieve your goal.
Learn more about how to use retail data analytics in your store to track results.
A retail mobile marketing strategy isn’t only for driving ecommerce sales. Mobile marketing can also help businesses of all sizes drive in-store sales with the added benefits of gaining better customer insights, improving your in-store experience, enhancing your brand, and so much more.
As you create your mobile marketing strategy, keep in mind that marketing trends and insights are ever-changing—so make this research a priority for your business to ensure your mobile marketing strategy is as effective and successful as possible.
Social media is an integral piece of any marketing strategy. Here, you can develop creative ways to highlight your in-store offerings through engaging videos, graphics, and other interactive capabilities like polls and Instagram Stories.