5 Ways Retailers Can Win With Mobile Shopping Apps This Holiday Season

By Molly Garris, Digital Strategist, Arc Worldwide

Retailers have gone mobile. With evolving mobile marketing strategies, consumers can browse items; compare prices, read ratings and reviews, look for deals and more — all from their phone. As digitally savvy shoppers refine their smartphone skills, are retailers’ mobile shopping tools meeting the mark?

Here are some suggestions for how retailers can avoid frustrating mobile shoppers during the busy holiday shopping season and beyond:

1. Don’t make me wait: load time counts
Mobile connections are still advancing, and we’re left with what can sometimes remind us of our dial-up Internet days. While much of the blame lies with a person’s connection and/or phone, there are optimizations that can be made to mobile web sites and apps to speed up the user experience. For example, mobile sites should use compressed file sizes for content rendering and look to eliminate excess scripts and code. Test your mobile site and apps and look for ways to improve delays.


2. Don’t make me opt in: I just want to use your app!
These users are on the hunt and don’t want to take time to register for your database. Allow them to shop first and then opt in. The more value you can give, the more likely they’ll want to hear from you.

3. Don’t bump me from a great experience to a poor experience: keep it streamlined
Pushing your app shopper to a website that’s not yet optimized for mobile is going to cause an instant drop-off. If you cannot add all desired functionality into your app, ensure your web site is optimized for mobile. Also, don’t limit your mobile web site’s functionality. New web development tools bring features like geo-location and offline usage to mobile webs ites. Take advantage of this to deliver smarter experiences that can be used just as seamlessly as an app.

4. Give me context: be meaningful
Holiday shopping can be ruthless. When one shopper beats another shopper to the store’s last discounted vacuum cleaner, it leaves one shopper feeling discouraged and defeated — this is obviously not good for business. While the same deal may have rested on the store’s web site, the defeated shopper has no way of knowing this without tracking down a busy store representative. Don’t forget to tell shoppers about your mobile shopping tools. Add in-store signage and reminders on your circulars, emails and desktop web sites.

5. Let it be fun: great experiences go a long way
Shopping apps feel dull and boring. How do you capture the attention away from those Angry Birds? While the most successful mobile experiences are customized and utilitarian, smartphones, like iPhone and Android-powered phones, were built for experiencing music, games, hi-res photos and beautiful designs. Why not dial up the entertainment factor of your experience? One of our shoppers wished he could hold up a sweater’s color next to a photo of his mom to help him visualize whether or not it matched her style. If Benjamin Moore can make buying paint fun, can’t we make shopping for clothes more fun?

Molly Garris is a Digital Strategy Manager at Arc Worldwide, serving as the agency’s in-house mobile marketing subject matter expert. She leads internal and external mobile education, strategically guides accounts across the agency with mobile solutions and assists with managing large, complex mobile campaignsfor clients including Purina, P&G, Whirlpool, Allstate, McDonald’s, Walgreens, Altria, Comcast, Norton, United Airlines and Kellogg.

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