Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday shopping used to be a meticulously planned event, but in today’s world shopping or the booking of services can happen anytime, anywhere. Mobile technology has revolutionized the shopping experience, and many consumers now buy gifts in their spare time rather than getting everything done in one hectic day, such as Black Friday.

Research indicates that people use their smartphones as many as 150 times per day in one-minute increments, and while email, texting, and social media are frequently the focus of such usage, these sessions also include web searches. It is these times, or “moments,” that marketers must capitalize on, especially in light of “short, purposeful” mobile shopping increasing 64 percent over the last year.

“For marketers, these moments are an open invitation to engage… At Google, we call these micro-moments,” wrote Mark Lawson, Google’s Director of Ads Marketing. “They’re the moments when you turn to a device — often your smartphone — to take action on whatever you need or want right now. They’re the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy, and I-want-to-do moments that are loaded with intent, context, and immediacy.”

Shoppers even use their mobile devices when shopping in-store to research and buy products. Google notes that 52 percent of consumers look to their phones for holiday shopping before going to stores, and over 80 percent use their phones in-store.

"[There is] potential to connect with customers in the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do or I-want-to-buy moments when [they] are making decisions," said Claire Mudd, Director of Small Business Marketing for Google. "Mobile is changing the way we live, and changing the type of information customers expect from businesses online. When mobile users head to the Web, [you should] be there, be useful and be quick."

So what are some of the best ways for marketers to make the most of “mobile moments?”

Ensure Online Listings Are Complete

According to Google, consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to buy from businesses whose online listings are complete. Updating listings with seasonal information, including images and store hours, is strongly recommended, as consumers want to know what they’re getting before they enter a shop.

Make Changes Now

There’s no time like the present to optimize mobile versions of business websites, as consumer attention spans are shorter than ever, and they won’t wait for an outdated site to load—they’ll simply move on to a similar site. Investing in a mobile-friendly site before the holiday shopping season gets underway is therefore very much encouraged.

Anticipate Consumer Needs

Today’s consumers have developed “digital reflexes” in that they automatically reach for their phones to learn something, watch a video or otherwise be entertained, or talk to friends and family. Marketers are learning to anticipate consumer needs by sending the right message or notification at the right time and right location. Rather than interrupting a consumer’s day, it’s important to help out by providing information.

Location-based notifications are one way to do this and might include marketers sending notifications to consumers near their stores. Offering a discount on an item the consumer has previously browsed in the mobile version of the marketer’s site and mentioning that the brick-and-mortar store is a few steps away is a great incentive to shop.

Remember, be quick, useful, and timely. Mobile marketing doesn’t have to be complicated to be very effective.