Going mobile: how marketing strategies evolved and what’s next

Mobile technology is bringing together retailers and customers thanks to personalization of data

The way retailers interact with customers is more direct than ever. This is all thanks to the introduction of mobile devices, which are allowing instant feedback and providing great opportunities for one-to-one contact with the shopper.

Mobile technologies, like tablets and smartphones, have invaded our lives and modified the way we interact with most things during our average day.

This mobile trend is extremely interesting because of its short timespan to which it rose to power.

Many would attribute the beginning of the smartphone era to the launch of the Apple iPhone in June 2007, which after a couple of months sold over 1.4 million units.

Following this industry changing success, in January 2010, Apple released its first tablet which would be unmatched for the first couple of years by any competitor, and sold 84 million units by June 2012.

In the space of just a few years, we had become a mobile society.

This dramatic change in the way shoppers now interacted within the retail market, resulted in marketing strategies and budgets becoming obsolete, unless they included a mobile marketing component.

From the start of 2012 through the entirety of 2013, the mobile and tablet market share almost doubled to a sizable 21% compared to 79% of usage on traditional devices. A shopping revolution had started, and retail had to keep up.

As soon as retailers understood that this was not simply a fad and that a growing customer base had started to rely more on mobile devices to help make buying decisions, retailers started to respond.

The first step was to take advantage of mobile technology in order to interact with consumers in new ways.

Some grocers created mobile applications that allow personalization of the shopping experience, and can also intelligently suggest products to the shopper. While this is wildly advantageous to the customer, notice that the grocer is now able to collect levels of personalized data that could bring their reporting and data analysis to a whole new level.

A perfect example of this was in 2012, with Target’s prediction of the teen girl who was pregnant, based on her shopping patterns, and the data they received. The level of data a retailer can collect by personalizing and integrating with the consumer through mobile is a huge asset.

Mobile technology has truly changed the industry, introducing; online advertisements, flyer applications, and the ability to use in-store geo-location to find that specialized product the customer is looking for.

This technology is bringing together retailers and customers in truly extraordinary ways.

It’s simple, the retailers that are not leveraging mobile technology are going to be left behind.

In addition to how retailers can now leverage mobile solutions to interact with their customers, it is also possible to use similar technology to help drive their business forward.

It’s not only the customer’s life that has changed, many roles within the retailer have also embraced mobility to optimize their performance, such as:

Field Sales: The introduction of customer relationship management solutions, leveraged through mobile devices are arming sales individuals with all the information they need to make decisions on the road.

In-store: One gas and convenience retailer has armed their stores with a tablet based solution that provides them with performance updates across the store and category. In addition, the application provides weather information and the affect it can have on certain products – while deploying planograms to drive compliance.

Corporate: Head office teams are leveraging mobile devices to make better business decisions. This is in the form of solutions that deliver role-based insight, enabling them to answer key business questions rapidly, and then more importantly make this information actionable.

So what is the next step in mobile solutions for retailers?

The ultimate experience is a solution which adapts to the way the user wants to use it – proactively.

A one screen concept that ensures that no matter what the device; cellphone, tablet or traditional desktop, the user receives the most relevant experience tailored to them. This needs to incorporate all the data required to make the most optimal decisions, and alert the user when potential threats or opportunities are arising.