October is here and, simply put, if your holiday marketing plans are not finalized and ready to be executed, you are sunk.
That said, it seems that every year marketers let the same small details fall through the cracks. With that in mind, we've put together a checklist for companies as they run down their last minute planning for mobile campaigns -- an area that still seems to be hit or miss for many retailers.
Remember -- email marketing messages can be opened on mobile devices. Often they are only opened on mobile devices. Make sure messages are optimized for smartphones and during the holiday season especially, make the headline simple and short -- and easily searchable. Consumers pull up their messages looking for offers while actually shopping and needless to say, their inboxes are bulging this time of year.
Optimize your mobile site. Why, oh why, retailers, are you ignoring the biggest subtrend in e-commerce, which is mobile commerce? Too many retail sites are still not optimized for mobile devices, a process that often requires an entirely new ground up development project but is well worth it in the end. Web optimization company Yottaa found that many of the top 500 e-tailers use unique m-dot sites, according to MobileCommerceDaily. These URLs redirect users an average 3.03 times before taking them to the right site, resulting in a poor user experiences and ultimately, lost retail sales. As MobileCommercialDaily noted, research has found that just a one-second delay in site response time can reduce conversions by 7 percent. Another data point is provided by The Search Agency, which reports in its latest quarterly report, "The Mobile Experience Scorecard -- Restaurants & Catering" that the top 50 restaurant and catering companies' mobile sites were very slow to load (on average over 70 seconds) and 40 percent don't have a button to click to order or reserve. Some 32 percent of the sites analyzed use Responsive Web Design -- Google's recommended format -- but no site serving the updated format were able to pass the page speed test, with average page load time over one minute, according to The Search Agency.
Mobile video is not the same as television. You'd never know that by the ads that typically run on mobile sites. They are usually 30-second clips that are very similar to television network ads. While this might make sense from a branding perspective, it ignores the many interactive possibilities that mobile video ad platforms offer.
Take care with SMS marketing. The case for SMS marketing is an easy one to make. It is cheap, it is easy, it is targetable, and did I mention that it is cheap? It is still a popular channel for marketers for these reasons despite the many other channels also available to reach customers. But use it with care -- more so than other ad types, SMS marketing can quickly become annoying and invasive to customers if the messages are not wanted. So be vigilant with the opt-in process, and while you are at it, make the message a value-add one for the customer. In other words, don't just tell them about a holiday sale but offer an exclusive additional 10 percent off with the SMS.
It's not all about the sales. You clearly made investments in technology, now use it for more than just marketing. Here's one example: long lines are endemic during the holiday season and can't be completely eliminated. Some beacon-related technologies are being used by retailers to address this problem by allowing customers to pay in store via their mobile devices. Here's another example: San Francisco International Airport is reportedly getting a pilot project ready that will use beacon technology to help blind travelers navigate through the airport. Imagine tweaking that technology to help customers find, for example, the restroom or customer service desk while in the store.