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Mobile Makes a Major Impact this Back-to-School Shopping Season

Posted on August 24, 2015
By Shamala DN

It’s time again for students to get ready for another year at school and for parents to plan and research this year’s back-to-school shopping. Traditionally, this meant a trip to the mall, but the mobile era has introduced new ways to research, compare, and shop. Even if consumers do visit a store, mobile devices are impacting the way they shop, as almost all shoppers are influenced by the information they obtain on their phones.

Mobile devices present a unique opportunity for brands to create excitement and a sense of urgency, and to activate shopping while consumers are on the move. As we all become more tethered to our phones, it is important for brands and marketers to adopt mobile marketing strategies and create effective mobile campaigns to stay ahead of the competition.

Smart Phones = Smart Shoppers

According to a National Retail Federation survey, the total combined spending for back-to-school and college will reach $68 billion this year, and the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $630.36 on back-to-school shopping in 2015. Recent research by InMobi revealed that this back-to-school season is expected to rake in more money than even the holiday shopping season, with 25 percent respondents planning to spend “much more” during back-to-school. Smartphones empower shoppers with access to more knowledge about products and a greater ability to comparison shop than ever before. Accordingly, smartphones are becoming the go-to shopping tool for parents to research and organize their back-to-school purchases, with 33 percent of respondents reporting that they would prefer to use their mobile devices to assist the process. The majority (46 percent) still shop in stores, but 22 percent of respondents said they plan to make a purchase using their smartphones, almost twice the amount of those using desktop or laptop computers.

The top five activities for which consumers intend to use their web-enabled smart phones this back-to-school season include downloading or using apps to research products, purchasing products, looking up retailer information (location, store hours, directions, etc.), researching product reviews, and redeeming coupons. In addition, 38 percent of consumers surveyed planned to use their smartphones to compare prices and products while in a store, underscoring the continued importance of “showrooming” for many retailers across a variety of retail categories

What This Means for Merchants

Brands and retailers should work more efficiently and strategically on offering a mobile friendly and responsive user interface, geo-fencing, mobile-only ads, coupons, and exclusive discounts and savings. Here are some tips that can help make mobile marketing a rewarding experience this back-to-school shopping season :

Prepare for mobile-first back-to-school madness: Smartphones have become a great tool to aid consumers through their path to making a purchase. Consumers are searching on their mobile devices for information on clothing brands, backpacks, school supplies, comparing quality across several brands, and looking for peer guidance via social media or reviews, but often looking for a physical store to make a purchase. This mobile experience is an integral piece of the customer journey and one that can significantly influence their shopping behavior. In addition to responsive Web design, context-specific information, and geo-specific ads and messages, brands can consider adding special elements to their mobile apps that help customers identify the products that are best suited for them. It is important to keep the consumers engaged through multiple touch points both online and offline during the last few weeks of the back-to-school shopping season.

Omni-channel presence: Consumers are always on the lookout for better offers across multiple channels. To meet the consumer at every point of conversation, it is important for brands to maintain a consistent presence across the channels and integrate search campaigns with display, email, and mobile marketing. Equally important is to ensure the messages are brief and compelling across all the channels and devices. Social channels can be used as an extension to push interactive campaigns that reflect on the entire back-to-school and everyday consumer experiences. Last-minute offers are another commonly employed tactic to evoke a sense of urgency and convince the customer to make a purchase before deals run out.

Location-based targeting: According to a survey by Eyeview, 66 percent of students who received ads for a nearby store are likely to be inspired to make a back-to-school purchase. Shoppers are responding to in-app push messages from retailers near or inside stores, and retailers have been busy adding personalized content. Brands can identify and target consumers in real time with ads that reflect on location, intent, and needs. Geo-location tactics should be better leveraged along a customer’s path-to-purchase, as geo-targeting combined with personalized ads is shown to engage shoppers to seek products in stores.

Brands and retailers that do not have a strong mobile presence need to rethink their digital strategy this back-to-school season to successfully engage the customers on the path to purchase.

For more inspiration, check out our Back to School Research Study on InMobi Insights!

Infographics: http://www.inmobi.com/insights/on-demand/consumer...

PDF Report: http://www.inmobi.com/insights/whitepapers/

Original Article Appeared In Data Informed on August 21st 2015. The article can be found here

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