Speaking at a trade conference in Chicago earlier this week, Facebook's Head of U.S. E-Commerce Jeremy Lewis made his pitch for mobile for retailers, saying that it's no longer optional because it is undeniably the future.
“Mobile isn’t a thing. It’s the thing,” Lewis said. “Every company needs to invest heavily in mobile.”
Lewis went on to explain that to date, developers are handing in 1,000 new mobile apps for iOS and Android every single day — and those apps are coming out because users keep eating them up. He further noted that 70 percent of all retail traffic during holiday 2015 online didn't come from computers, but from mobile devices.
“According to Facebook data, in 2016, 37 percent of all purchases take place on mobile devices,” Lewis said. “In addition, 60 percent of omnichannel shoppers say they’ll make more purchases on mobile this year.”
And the writing on the wall in unmistakable: retailers that want customers, particularly young ones, have to look to mobile to keep those customers while also offering services that speak to the existing, possibly older, set.
“It’s important to look at both your existing customer base and the customers you want to acquire in years to come,” he said. “Millennials want mobile apps, while older users still prefer the mobile web.”
Lewis also called out the importance of video and content built for mobile experiences. According to Facebook, users watch 100 million hours of video each day and that number is bound to grow.
“Every marketer has to learn how to leverage video to build their company,” Lewis said. “You have to be very thoughtful about creating video expressly for mobile. It’s all about the first three seconds — you’ve got to get [consumers’] attention. Make it short and snackable. We’re trying to come up with all different ways to help companies share their stories with consumers.”
But, even more important, mobile isn't about the device (said the device-neutral Facebook) but about the user on the other end of it.
“92 percent of retail sales still happen in-store, but everyone has a phone with them. 65 percent of people use phones in stores,” Lewis said. “You need to have a way to capture the intent 'signals' taking place with this cross-device activity. These signals allow you to reach the right people along the purchase path, and deliver more timely ads.”
“The traditional marketing funnel is dead,” Lewis said. “The path to purchase is not linear, because people have so many different ways to discover, research and buy products. Marketers have to adjust and develop strategies around specific audiences for that.”
The challenges are there - and undeniable. But running from the mobile future, or denying it, will not help. And will cost retailers a tremendous chance to connect as never before with customers.
“The phone presents an incredible opportunity,” Lewis said. “What better place for your brand to create awareness for yourself, and to demonstrate to consumers why they should buy your product?”