The best way to reach a holiday shopper might just be through their smartphone. That’s why marketers will be leveraging mobile in their holiday shopping strategies this year, with new and creative strategies that focus more on omnichannel solutions and less on generic mobile coupons.
According to the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, nearly 60 percent of marketers plan to leverage mobile in their marketing strategies this holiday season. Although less than 10 percent of marketers say they plan to focus on generic mobile coupons, retailers will be offering bargain hunters other ways to get a deal. Mobile coupons are still popular, especially among millennials. In fact, eMarketer estimates that there are close to 130 million digital coupon users in the U.S.
According the to 2016 Purse String Survey done by Valassis earlier this year, more than 70 percent of consumers say they have looked for coupons or offers while in-store via their mobile device. For millennials, that number is 90 percent. EMarketer also found that nearly two-thirds of millennial internet users searched social networks for coupons in the third quarter of 2015.
The BDO survey found that of those planning to leverage mobile in their holiday marketing strategies, about one-third will focus on targeted ads. About the same number plan on prioritizing social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. Other promotional tactics planned include branded apps, which 20 percent of CMOs say they will use. Twelve percent plan to rely on flash sales and daily deals to lure customers.
As consumers have grown more tech-savvy, their expectations for retailers have increased, and many marketers say they plan to focus on keeping experiences across channels simple and seamless. Among survey respondents familiar with the concept of omnichannel (64 percent), one-third plan to adjust their marketing strategies this holiday season to provide more cohesive shopping experiences across channels. For most, this will come in the form of consistent pricing. More than 90 percent of those surveyed plan to focus on consistent pricing, and more than 80 percent will focus on promotional strategies across channels. However, the latest innovative omnichannel technologies, like digital in-store technologies, are being overlooked by most of the industry. Although these tech advances can help retailers stand out from the competition, none of the survey respondents say they plan to use them this year.
Overall, retailers are expecting an even brighter holiday season this year. The BDO survey shows that CMOs are predicting a 4.7 percent increase in sales this year. That figure is tied with the highest projection ever in the 11-year survey.
“Conditions seem favorable heading into the holiday season this year,” said Natalie Kotlyar, national leader of BDO’s Consumer Business practice. “But the pressure is on for retailers to identify the optimal mix of promotions and pricing across channels. It’s arguably the toughest decision retailers will make — and the most critical factor in their holiday season success.”