- Retailers will make mobile marketing a key part of their strategies to lure shoppers during the upcoming back-to-school season, the second-most important time of year after the winter holidays for the industry, according to a study by discount promotions company RetailMeNot. While a small slice of retailers don't have an omnichannel approach for back-to-school promotions, 89% will make mobile and 88% will make social their top marketing priority this season, per the study.
- Sixty-two percent of retailers and brands will partner with companies that are considered experts in online and mobile advertising, and about 80% of companies will start their promotions earlier in the season than previous years. Forty percent of retail marketers began their promotions as early as May and June, just as kids were finishing up the school year.
- Price cuts will be heavily emphasized this season, according to the study, with 81% of retailers and brands offering more deals for back-to-school than they did last year. Seventy percent of retailers will issue mobile offers through a partner platform.
Mobile marketing will be an essential way to reach consumers heading into the back-to-school season, even as they do much of their shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, RetailMeNot found. Seventy percent of consumers will look for deals using a mobile device, while 54% will do most of their back-to-school shopping in a physical retail location. With such a large percentage planning to use their smartphones for shopping later this summer, retailers clearly need to have robust mobile strategies in place to reach consumers throughout the customer journey, including discovery.
Last year, Google observed a shift toward mobile activity, with a 35% gain in searches on smartphones. Meanwhile, three out of five searches happened on a mobile device. The tech giant also saw evidence that mobile searches were more likely to indicate a later visit to a brick-and-mortar store.
Three out of four consumers report money is a stressor this year, while 82% of parents are looking for deals, RetailMeNot said. The finding supports other economic data that show that consumers just aren't in the mood to shop. Retail sales fell 0.2% in July from the prior month as Americans cut back at clothing stores, supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and bars, according to the Commerce Department. It was the second straight month that retail sales declined. About half of the study's shoppers said price is the biggest determining factor in what they buy, while 36% of parents said they look for more savings during back-to-school than any other time of the year.
Overall, the adoption of mobile payments has lagged, but with 18% of millennials planning to use Apple Pay for their shopping, retailers would be wise to offer mobile payments both in-store and online. The upcoming release of iOS 11 opens up access to the NFC chip that supports Apple Pay to developers for the first time, suggesting there are likely to be new uses cases around this technology ahead, including loyalty programs and location-based promotions.