Online retail sales were up 44% year over year in Q2 to more than $207 billion. For comparison’s sake, last year, Q2 online retail sales grew just 13.3% year over year. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar sales have already dropped 14% in 2020.
Successful retailers have had to test new channels and innovate quickly to meet consumer demand. But with retail disruption on full display, brands need to consider embracing new ways of doing business with mobile at the centre to engage with shoppers this holiday season.
Embrace Mobile Agility
Forget about sweeping quarterly plans. This holiday season, brands need to win in real time with granular contextual intelligence.
Frequent A/B testing is a critical way to maintain and control market share. Target “is putting a premium on being really responsive” and agile this holiday season, chairman and CEO Brian Cornell recently said. “We are taking a much shorter-term horizon as we are thinking about the business.”
But real-time insights will benefit retailers beyond just this holiday season, as SMS texting and apps become key avenues for building individual customer relationships.
Five-year-old direct-to-consumer beverage brand Dirty Lemon, for example, has primarily used text commerce via SMS to double revenues annually, while GameStop increased global e-commerce by 800% last quarter by focusing on building individual customer relationships in recent years.
Making a case for mobile has never been easier. Per eMarketer, mobile sales will reach $314 billion by the end of 2020, growing more than 155% since 2016. And academic research has found retail app users buy 33% more frequently and spend 37% more than non-app users.
Create New Touchpoints for Engagement. With social distancing orders still in place, many consumers are adopting buy online and pick up in store as well as buy online and return in store numbers will only grow. This presents new opportunities for merchants.
Whether consumers purchase online or in store, retailers should engage them in an orchestrated way through text messages, push notifications and email. Customers want to know if their order is ready to be picked up, if it’s sitting on their doorstep, or if their return has been processed. Post-purchase engagement builds loyalty, as long as the messages are relevant.