The success of HotelTonight and other mobile-first business models indicates that brands can benefit from prioritizing mobile investments. At last week’s Digital Leadership Academy, L2’s Intelligence Group Director Claude de Jocas laid out a few areas of mobile where brands should focus their investments.
Digital-savvy brands design content with mobile users in mind. For example, Origins launched a mobile-first redesign with personalized search tools, and Sephora introduced mobile-specific educational features such as a pocket contour class and color correcting crash course. By using augmented reality and gamification to explain new product categories and techniques, the Beauty retailer attracts customers’ interest in these new areas.
The popularity of mobile payments is soaring, with about a third of consumers between 18 and 34 using their smartphones to make transactions. Walgreens was the first retailer to integrate its loyalty program into Apple Pay: after a Balance Rewards card has been entered into Apple Wallet, the shopper’s loyalty card is automatically “swiped” when he or she pays with Apple Pay. Such integration is rare across the retailers tracked in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box, although nearly half of surveyed brands plan to integrate mobile wallet functionality in the next year, suggesting that brands are actively looking to improve in this area.
Mobile as the connective tissue
Mobile app users visited retail stores 12 more times per year than those who didn’t use the apps, testifying to how mobile increasingly connects online and offline retail experiences. In less than a year, Walmart has rolled out mobile experiences to support price comparisons, in-store shopping, list-building and pick-up. Brands that fail to launch such services could find themselves playing catch-up.
WhatsApp took less than six years to reach a billion users – a figure that took Facebook over eight and Gmail more than 11, and a testament to the rapid growth of messaging. Facebook Messenger and Kik are trying to monetize this trend. Everlane lets mobile shoppers opt-in to real-time updates via Messenger; similarly, H&M and Sephora replicate the experience of interacting with a salesperson with chatbots on Kik.