With 3 billion smartphones in use by the end of 2017, mobile is fast becoming consumers’ primary touch point, according to a recent webinar, titled: “The Smartphone & Tablet Experience.”
The webcast, hosted by Monetate, highlighted several emerging mobile trends and implications, and showcased successes at Threadless, a retailer that streamlined mobile optimization to boost conversion rates.
During the session, Thomas Husson, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, discussed the “mobile mind shift” — the consumer expectation that any desired piece of information or service is available, on any appropriate device.
The challenge now for marketers is to deliver on the “mobile mind shift,” Husson said. “Companies, not just marketing departments, must provide any desired information or service to any appropriate device at the customer’s moment of need.”
Referring to device differences, Husson said the mobile phone is a personal device, but that most tablets stay home. “Smartphones have more to do with communications. The mobile phone is ‘pocketable’ — always on-the-go with consumers.” Users constantly are finding and sharing information, using apps and checking messages. “Tablets, on the other hand, are portable devices that are used in select sections of the house.”
Forrester predicts a number of changes in the mobile industry within the next three to five years: First, there will be fewer overlapping use cases among mobile phones and the PC or tablet. Second, the number of use cases will expand dramatically.
“It’s critical that retail marketers take a ‘mobile-first’ approach,” noted Husson. “However, this does not mean that mobile takes a higher priority over other devices and channels. ‘Mobile-first’ means marketers design for mobile at the start rather than using a retrofit approach — forcing your web site to fit a mobile screen.”
To create a “mobile-first” approach, retailers must differentiate the experiences they offer by making those encounters more relevant. To best differentiate, Husson suggests retailers modify their traditional marketing approaches to encompass the unique benefits of mobile. These include:
- Intimacy — Being able to engage with consumers in a new way;
- Immediacy — Delivering real-time options to customers, regardless of device; and
- Context — Paying close attention to situations, preferences, tastes interests and past purchases.
Threadless Improves Mobile Conversion Rates
Threadless, a T-shirt design and selling web site and online community of artists, implemented a mobile-optimized site ― but experienced low mobile conversion rates of 0.13. As described during the webinar, Threadless leveraged ActionBuilder by Monetate to refine content, increase flexibility and improve conversion rates.
Each week approximately 1,000 designs are submitted to Threadless online and put to a public vote. The company then reviews the top-scoring designs and chooses approximately 10 to bring to market, based on average score and community feedback. The chosen designs are printed on clothing and other products, and sold worldwide through the online store and at the Threadless retail store in Chicago.
To help manage the winning designs, Threadless uses ActionBuilder to add new content to sections within the e-Commerce site, and remove content that is not optimized for mobile users. “ActionBuilder has improved how we serve dynamic content to specific audiences to drive relevance,” said Todd Lido, Marketing Director at Threadless. “The tool provides flexibility to create new placements in rapid fashion within any limits. It has greatly accelerated our ability to go from idea to action, anywhere on our web site.”
When Threadless first realized that certain HTML 5 elements on the mobile site were not rendering on smartphones, the company used ActionBuilder to replace those elements automatically. As a result, Threadless saw improved conversion rates within a six-month period.
Other mobile initiatives achieved through ActionBuilder include:
– Credit card information saved;
– Email optimized; and
– Homepage merchandising improved.