Tree branches will be bare this holiday season. How about the shelves of SMBs and other brick and mortar businesses?
That, in large part, depends on efforts put forth now for engagement with consumers via their mobile devices.
Digital interactions will influence 50% of in-store sales by the end of 2014, according to Deloitte. And much of it is in front of us. The holiday season accounts for up to 40% of a retailer's annual revenue (ExactTarget)
What’s the new norm this year? Smartphones, showrooming, beacons, as well as greater consumer expectations.
Consumers have long memories, especially if you disappoint them. But what if you wow them instead?
Here are 10 ways to use mobile to fill your stocking this holiday season:
Build opt-in lists early before distractions
-- We all get busy with family visits, parties, and time away from our routines. Entice customers and prospects to join your mobile VIP clubs now via prominent calls to action. Then nurture the relationship in the weeks and months before the frenetic holiday season.
Feature and promote mobile-only deals
-- Consumers love any deal, especially those that are exclusive. Incent mobile users by giving them discounts, access or other perks to be active and to talk up the program to family and friends.
Enhance metrics around coupon redemption
-- More than 66 million digital coupons were redeemed in 2013 – a 141% increase over 2012 (Inmar). If you weren’t able to optimize last year, what have you done to track redemptions in real or close to real time to have accurate measure of a program’s success?
Listen while you work
-- Your customers and prospects – and your competitors’ customers and prospects – are using their devices to talk to those in their networks. Follow sound social practices, and, listen, at the minimum. Better yet, be proactive and strategic.
Consider new payment options
-- Nearly everyone can be a small business with payment technology via Square, Amazon and others. Apple’s entry into mobile payments with Apple Pay will raise interest and push adoption. What will you say to customers when they ask why you don’t use modern payment methods?
Realize that the customer journey is cross-screen
-- Story-tell along the customer journey. Rely on each medium's strengths. Make efforts in different places and at different points of the day. Capture interest and tap into existing behaviors.
Ensure that your organization has capacity to fulfill
-- Avoid anticipointment – ensure that you can meet demand. Align efforts with back-end functional leaders with communication being critical. Ensure that everyone has the same expectations.
Be firm but also be nimble
-- The best plans anticipate but also prepare for optimization. Think ahead of ways to enhance your program and other roads to take if your initiatives aren’t producing the anticipated results.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs)
-- It might be redemptions of coupons. Or sales off your mobile web site. Or clicks to your product pages. Or a sizeable increase in your opt-in database. Determine what you want to measure, then do it.
Determine how you can add mobile to your other campaigns
-- Does your direct mail piece have a mobile call to action? How about your newspaper ad or radio spot? Do you have mobile engagement opportunities in your brick and mortar locations?
It isn’t too late, but you don’t have a minute to waste. Do the majority of the work before the eyeballs and foot traffic increases.
Your year may very well depend on it.
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.