Even as e-commerce grows by leaps and bounds in 2020, driving retail footfall still needs to be a key goal for retails brands both during and after the 2020 holiday shopping season. For many brands, physical retail stores are still their lifeblood, and will likely remain so for a long time. Yet, one of the best ways to drive in-person retail sales may actually be mobile in-app advertising.
According to eMarketer, over 80% of all retail sales in the U.S. this holiday season will occur at shopping centers and other brick-and-mortar locations. While they predict that total in-person retail sales will decline this year, it will still make up the lion’s share of all spending leading up to Christmas.
This aligns with what our own data shows as well. In a survey conducted by InMobi in July of over 1,500 Americans, we found that many people were still buying items like kitchenware in person.
One reason why physical retail is still central is because BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) has emerged as an increasingly popular shopping option. According to eMarketer, the number of people saying they are utilizing this shopping option rose by 13 percentage points between February and June 2020.
For years now, headlines about the decline and demise of brick-and-mortar retail have abounded, as e-commerce (and m-commerce) grow significantly. Yet as the data shows, consumers are still spending a lot of money at physical retail locations – even during a global pandemic.
While many consumers are still going to physical store locations to buy or pick up already purchased options, they are learning about what to buy through mobile. In a survey we conducted in September of over 1,600 adults in the U.S., we found that mobile is central to today’s shopping journey.
For one, 62% of Americans said they will be browsing and buying through mobile this holiday season. And, nearly half said they'd be buying more from mobile compared to last year.
In addition, 53% said they discover new products through mobile ads. After seeing an ad for a product that interests them, 40% said they visited the brand’s website while 23% said they found the brand’s location to visit; in comparison, just 15% said they purchased a product directly afterwards.
Americans are increasingly spending more and more time on their mobile devices, and this was true even before 2020. While most of us are largely stuck at home, mobile has been key to how Americans learn about new products, entertain themselves, communicate with others, etc. Retailers should take advantage of this trend and reach their consumers where they are through in-app advertising.
Not only is in-app advertising a great way for retailers to identify, engage and acquire their best consumers, it also offers a host of other advantages. For one, the wealth of data available in app enables retailers to more easily understand and reach their best customers, including around when they use apps, which apps they have on device and which kinds of ad creatives they’re most likely to notice, among other key data points. Further, in-app data can be combined with any existing retail analytics to even more targeted advertising.
In addition, in-app creatives can be enormously useful for driving in-store sales. For example, one great tactic is to include a dynamic map within the ad creative that shows the target consumer where the retail brand’s closest locations to them are and how to get there. Many retailers have successfully leveraged this creation option to boost conversion rates.
Of course, the final piece of the puzzle is connecting in-app advertising data with in-store retail sales. How can brands be certain that the people who saw one of their mobile ads later made a purchase at a brick-and-mortar location without relying on physical people counting?
Yet again, this is where mobile data can be applied. Instead of leveraging a people counter, brands and their in-app partners can gather relevant footfall data directly from the consumer’s device. With in-app advertising, it’s possible to determine precisely who specifically saw an ad and then later visited a store – after all, most of us have our smartphone on us at pretty much all times. In addition, in-app advertising data can be overlayed with either customer service insights or data from the likes of Nielsen or IRI to measure brand lift.
Curious to see how this works in the real world? Be sure to check out our case studies that highlight how InMobi successfully helped a global sportswear retailer and a major home goods retailer boost footfall and in-person sales through mobile advertising.
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