Eight out of 10 retailers to increase mobile budgets in 2015

With mobile on the rise it only makes sense for companies to be putting more money into their budgets. See here for Mobile Commerce Daily’s take on how retailers will use mobile to their advantage in 2015.

Eight out of 10 retailers in a recent survey said they plan to increase their mobile budgets by at least 20 percent in 2015, according to the 2015 State of Retailing Online report from Shop.org and Forrester Research.

Online retailers are seeing a boost in mobile sales, as the report also finds that mobile, as a percentage of online sales, increased 50 percent in 2014. Simultaneously, as mobile becomes a growing priority for marketers, budgets allocated to the channel are increasing.

woman and man hands with smartphone and tablet pc

“Consumers are flocking to retailers’ mobile sites at a faster pace and with more interaction than ever before, so naturally they expect retailers to offer fast, well-designed mobile services that meet their needs,” said Vicki Cantrell, senior vice president at NRF and executive director at Shop.org, New York. “With that in mind and with several years of mobile commerce now under the industry’s belt, retailers feel confident in their mobile investments.

“For retailers, when it comes to mobile strategies, small but continuous incremental changes really do go a long way to keep their savvy customers happy,” she said.

Mobile on the rise

According to the report, mobile remains as a top priority for retailers, and 58 percent of surveyed retailers placed it at the top of their list, which is up from 53 percent last year.

The survey also found that smartphone sales as a percentage of online sales grew from eight percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2014, an increase of 50 percent. Tablets’ share of the space also grew from 13 percent of online sales in 2013 to 16 percent in 2014.

Many of the surveyed retailers that listed mobile as the top priority also stated their digital marketing budgets remain modest, knowing consumers are coming to their mobile sites, whether they are ready for them or not.

Of those retailers surveyed, 32 percent reported spending less than $100,000 on their smartphone development efforts in 2014. Sixty-eight percent reported spending less than $1 million on smartphone developments last year.

Regarding tablets, only four percent said they have invested between $100,000 and $250,000 last year. However, eight in 10 surveyed plan to increase their mobile budgets by at least 20 percent this year.

The State Of Retailing Online research series, which aims to provide ebusiness and channel strategy professionals with annual industry benchmarks of marketing and business investment and activities, surveyed 71 companies in November and December 2014. Industries surveyed included apparel, footwear, general merchandise, home furnishings, and personal care.

Apps versus mobile Web

Once again, there is additional evidence that supports mobile Web over mobile apps, according to the report.

High costs to develop and manage company-specific apps, compared to optimizing mobile Web sites, have changed how some companies are prioritizing their mobile marketing budgets, the report says.

More than half (56 percent) of retailers surveyed said apps are not a key component of their mobile marketing strategy, and an even greater percentage agreed apps are not critical to their employee strategy either.

Still, omichannel presence is still a priority.

Retailers surveyed cited omnichannel efforts as their second priority behind mobile. The survey found 45 percent hope to improve or invest in programs, including buy online-pick up in store, ship-from-store and inventory visibility, which are up significantly from 26 percent who listed omninchannel efforts as a priority last year.

Additionally, nearly four in 10 (38 percent) surveyed said marketing optimization is their third priority for 2015, which includes initiatives around customer retention and acquisition.

“Apps are simply too expensive to build and maintain for most retailers, begging the question: what’s after apps?, said Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, New York. “We’ll see retailers focus spending on redesigning the core site, which benefits the site experience beyond mobile, and embracing responsive design, an approach that retailers favor over apps, with nearly half already applying it to their mobile site.”

Final Take

Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

Original article found here

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How accurate were last years predictions for mobile in tech 2014?

Every year there are predictions thrown around to see what new technologies will come about and revolutionize the way we do things. Below is a list from EzTexting showing which ones came true and which ones fell short.

At the end of each year, tech journalists look into their crystal balls and attempt to predict trends and changes in the coming year. How often are they correct, though? We took a look at some of the most popular prophecies at the end of 2013, and just how accurate these predictions turned out to be.

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First, some of the winners:

Prediction: “E-Commerce Will Thrive”

First of all, we know that e-commerce is thriving (with or without Amazon), so clearly this prediction was spot on. We’ve seen many emerging markets begin to adopt e-commerce, and we’ve witnessed Alibaba’s growth as the world’s Mecca of e-commerce. We’re still waiting for our drone deliveries, but no one can doubt that e-commerce will continue to grow in 2015.

Prediction: “Social Media Interactions During World Cup Will Break Records”

Not only did people around the world tweet, post, and message each other during FIFA’s World Cup games, we got to see the most widespread interactivity in the history of social media. The peak interaction first occurred during the final match between Germany and Brazil, and often featured the popular meme “Germany just scored a Brazilian goals.” They broke it again when the number of tweets broke 35.6 million, and 350 million people participated in World Cup conversation on Facebook. The prescient bloggers knew it would break records, and rightfully so.

Prediction: “Mobile Web Use Will Decline Significantly”

Many predictors foresaw that mobile web use would shrink – some even claimed that it would die. Well, it’s not dead yet: you can still search the web using the clunker-of-a-browser on your smartphone. Reports show that we have much more affinity for apps, however. Time spent using apps increased to 86%, while mobile web use dropped to about 14%. Perhaps we haven’t seen the end of the mobile web yet, but the seers of tech were right to assume that mobile consumers would use the web a great deal less.

And now for the losers:

Prediction: “IM to Replace SMS as the Messaging Platform of Choice”

This prediction has proven to be pretty far off. Despite a decline in SMS use in 2012, we saw a surge in the use of SMS for business and personal reasons in 2014. The simplicity and low-cost nature of SMS text messages appear to have made the platform desirable for businesses, which means SMS messaging isn’t going anywhere. (Let’s not forget that SMS generates much more revenue than IM, as well.) Not to mention Facebook’s new privacy policy regarding their messaging app, which definitely turned off users in 2014. So the sibyls of tech can’t be right all the time. SMS messaging lives on!

Prediction: “Smartphones Cheaper than a Carton of Cigarettes”

Web prophecies predicted that a smartphone manufacturer in China, Xiaomi, would make a global move in 2014. They also claimed that the ubiquity of the phones in China would reduce the price to less than a carton of cigarettes. Well, neither prediction occurred. That said, we may see Xiaomi’s presence in other countries, like Brazil and India, in 2015. And the price of Xiaomi phone certainly has dropped – you can now buy a phone in China for less than 25 US dollars (but it’s not yet less than a carton of smokes).

Prediction: “Google Glass Will Be Everywhere”

Wearable tech has been all the buzz in 2014, for sure. But when the Nostradamus’ of the web claimed that Google Glass would be seen all around this year, they made a critical error. The world is not ready to embrace wearable tech, especially recording devices that sit right in the middle of your face. Tech bloggers predicted upwards of 800,000 Google Glass units sold in 2014, but they’re barely reaching 250,000. We’ll see what’s to come for wearable tech but, at this point, it’s just not happening in any significant fashion.

So just as in any year, several predictions were right and just as many were wrong. What’s in store for 2015? Only time will tell, but – judging from last year’s predictions – we’re bound to see the pendulum of mobile tech swing toward further globalization.

Original article found here

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Mobile lessons learned from 2014 holiday shopping season

Mobile Commerce Daily goes through 2014 with a fine toothed comb to determine what were the ultimate lessons we should take away and utilize in retail.

A significant mobile win during the holiday 2014 shopping season was the number of retailers who regularly updated content for on-the-go shoppers while failures included a lack of cross-device consistency and inefficient click-and-collect experiences.

Overall, mobile sales and traffic spiked during the holidays similar to the past few years, pointing to the need for retailers to not wait until the last minute to put a mobile strategy in place for the holidays.

The Walmart app

“Mobile traffic spikes and sales spikes during the holiday season were beyond analyst predictions,” said Jeremy Jacobs, associate director of strategy at Resource/Ammirati. “Traffic and sales spikes traditionally carry over into the rest of the year with Q1 – Q3 volumes keeping the pace they generated during the holiday season.

“These spikes provide tangible and real revenue for companies that position themselves for success with smart strategies and investments in the early part of 2014,” he said. “Too often, retailers wait until later in the year to build mobile and then rush to get something in-market that lacks the punch and nuance of a well-orchestrated mobile strategy.”

Extra steps
It was clear from the number of retailers who made at least some effort to have a mobile presence that the retail sector took to heart results from the 2013 holiday shopping season about the importance of mobile for shopping during the holidays.  Mobile is so crucial during this time of year because consumers are time-crunched and pulling out their phones to sneak in some gift-buying and party-planning when they are free for a few minutes or to support their in-store shopping.

Evidence of the increased focus on mobile included more opportunities to search out of stocks and place orders online via a mobile phone while in a bricks-and-mortar store.

Many retailers also took the extra step during the recent holiday shopping period to give their mobile sites and apps a holiday feel with gift guides, seasonal deals and featured products.

Target_Kids_Holiday_Gifting_082014 Target’s Wish List app

For the upcoming holiday season, expect many retailers to follow the example set by the more advanced mobile retailers to alter content throughout the season.

The Home Depot updated its holiday gift pages to include items still available for shipping in time for Christmas and eventually updated content to include what was available in-store for local pickup once shipping deadlines had passed, per Resource/Ammirati.

PetSmart had a calendar to provide a full list of holiday-related activities and key shipping dates to help customers plan their trips.

“Advanced retailers altered content throughout the season to provide a more relevant and timely experience,” Mr. Jacobs said. “Little steps like this go a long way in building confidence in customers.

“Waiting until checkout to provide customer shipping assurances is too late, especially on mobile Web and apps where clicks and steps matter,” he said.

Consistent experiences
Another important lesson from the 2014 holiday shopping period is the need for consistency across devices, with many retailers continuing to emphasize desktop experiences over mobile.

This meant that experiences that were available to shoppers while they were at home on their desktop or laptop were unavailable on the devices they carried with them while they were out shopping.

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“Consistency in execution was not as good as it could have been,” Mr. Jacobs said. “Many retailers from mass to specialty prioritized desktop holiday updates over an all-encompassing approach across desktop, mobile Web, mobile app, and search on both desktop and mobile.

“One simple example is holiday gift guides,” he said. “Unfortunately, the emphasis was on desktop, so mobile views either didn’t exist or were not optimized.”

The right balance
Another lesson learned is the need to find the right balance between consumer demand for well-rounded mobile experiences and mobile sites and apps that are quick to load.

Mobile sites during the holidays were more data-heavy than in previous years thanks to retailers’ investments in bringing a wide array of products, features and functionality to on-the-go shoppers.

However, as mobile traffic spiked during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, retailers such as Best Buy, Neiman Marcus, Gamestop, J. Crew and others experienced outages and slowdowns. Having a mobile site that performs slowly or not all can be a big loss during the holidays, with shoppers likely to simply jump to another brand’s site and possibly not return.

“More shoppers are spending time on phones so retailers need to make sure that content is optimized for the phone — pages download fast, links are easily clickable,” said Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA.

Click and collect
One big fail during the 2014 holiday season that retailers will need to improve upon this year is the click-and-collect experience. This points to the need for retailers to invest in integrating their operations so they can provide the omnichannel experiences that shoppers are looking for.

“Organizational structures did not lend well to reducing wait times for prepaid/pre-ordered merchandise pick up,” said Sheryl Kingstone, Toronto-based research director for Yankee Group. “Next year, the process must go smoother.

“There were also many companies that were still not ready for the digital divide, where consumers demanded better mobile experiences,” she said. “Infrastructure must evolve to be more agile and real-time.

“The backend foundation that handle core processes such as order management, inventory and dynamic pricing needs to be addressed to enable consumer demand for click and collect, one hour delivery and cross-sell.”

Retailers also failed to fully embrace the opportunity to leverage location.

“There are not enough stores that offer location-based services during the shopping experience in real time,” Ms. Kingstone said. “There were mobile circulars and some mobile offers, but what about sales associates using mobile POS or tablets that are connected to enable a customer to request service based on location. “

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

Original article found here

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10 Incredible Mobile Marketing Stats 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC]

The average media consumption for one person is 7 hours of which 1.8 hours is spent on a mobile. This is just one of the more prominent stats from Text Marketer that shows that 2015 will be another big year for mobile.

A brand new year is upon us, and it is already gearing up to be a great and fascinating one for technology, in particular the smartphone.

The big technology giants are persistently trying to think of innovative ways to use the power of the nifty little hand held device to make our lives that little bit easier, whether through work or play. So if you’re a keen gadget fan and have always wanted a Back-To-The-Future-style hover-board, then this might be the year you’ve been waiting for.

Businesses have now woken up to the power of mobile marketing, not only through how lucrative it can be but also how relevant and convenient it is for their customers.

From appointment reminders being sent out by text to saving logistics companies and online retailers millions with the convenience of delivery details delivered straight to mobiles, retailers, traders and marketers love affair with mobile can only continue to grow.

Not to mention the additional benefit of savings that can be offered through SMS coupons and vouchers which can further increase sales and brand awareness!

2015 is going to be great year for the mobile but an even bigger one for mobile marketing, the stats below illustrate this and we only expect to see these numbers increase throughout the year.

Join the 2015 mobile marketing movement today with Text Marketer.

Original article found here

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Mobile push notifications: an effective but underused marketing channel

New research from Econsultancy shows that a fifth (20%) of companies now use mobile push notifications.

The findings, which are included in the Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2014, struck me as quite surprising given that it has the potential to be a very effective marketing channel.

I’ve previously written of my love for push notifications as I think they’re a very effective way for brands to engage with consumers.

For example, if I get a message from my Rolling Stones app then I’ll almost definitely open it up and see what Mick wants to tell me.

Similarly if I get a notification that H&M has a sale on then I’ll probably see what’s up for grabs.

Data from Urban Airship shows that push messages increase both engagement and retention by as much as 40% and 116% respectively (though it’s worth noting that the company makes money by selling its mobile marketing services).

Similarly, data gathered by Localytics from 28,000 apps found that users who enable push notifications have a nearly 3x higher retention rate compared to those who disable them.

But as our research shows, relatively few brands are making use of the technology.

This may change with the emergence of iBeacons, which rely on the use of apps and push notifications, but at the moment it’s still an under-utilised technology.

With this in mind, here’s a few examples of brands that are using push messages.

Brands using push notifications

ASOS

In an example lovingly pinched from Mobile Donky, ASOS sent this push notification to iPhone users to notify them of a 50% sale.

The copy certainly grabs your attention and it’s a compelling offer. I’d definitely click through to the app.

Debenhams

I’ve previously blogged about Debenhams’ clever use of push messages, which are timed to coincide with seasonal sales or events such as Valentine’s Day or payday.

These messages were enough to make me click through to the Debenhams app, even though it’s not really the sort of retailer I tend to buy from.

Walmart

I no longer have Walmart’s app, but when I did messages came in at the rate of about one a month.

They generally advertised seasonal sales, which is a useful and relevant way of engaging with app users.

Ladbrokes

Another example taken from Mobile Donky. Betting apps stand to make a lot of money from push notifications, as gamblers probably don’t need a lot of persuading to make an impulsive bet.

It would be quite easy to tailor these messages based on the user’s preferences (i.e. their betting history).

The Rolling Stones

I haven’t received a push message from the Stones in several months, and quite frankly I miss them.

The app would send me regular messages about tour updates, news, or just encouraging me to watch one of the band’s old YouTube videos.

For example, last year I received a message to tell me it was Keith Richards’ birthday, while another one let me know that the app now contained a new video of the band performing ‘Miss You’.

Things to avoid

The personal, direct nature of push notifications increases the likelihood that they will be misused.

By that I mean marketers need to resist the temptation to spam the hell out of everyone who has opted into push messages, as it will erode consumer trust and reduce the efficacy of the channel.

A recent survey of 1,000 consumers by the DMA found that while seven in 10 (69%) have enabled push notifications, 78% of those people said ‘they would immediately delete the app or disable the notification’ if they were unhappy with the push notifications they receive.

So what can brands do to avoid annoying their app users? Econsultancy editor-in-chief Graham Charlton has previously looked at this issue, but the basic advice is:

  • Tailor the messages by asking for people’s preferences.
  • Don’t spam everyone.
  • Don’t send messages in the middle of the night.
  • Use push notifications for something useful, rather than just adverts.

Original article found here

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