Mobile Marketing and Back to School: Retail Must-Haves

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Mobile Marketing We have reached the dog days of summer when I, along with millions of other parents, eagerly prepare to send our kids back to school.  A large part of this preparation is the exciting, often mind-numbing and definitely expensive back-to-school shopping. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates during August and September shoppers will spend a total of $83.8 billion. Smart shoppers are increasingly utilizing mobile devices, including tablets, to search, compare and even transact the best back-to-school deals while they are in-store or online. Homework is not just for the kids anymore.

The NRF survey cites that mobile continues to be a primary driving force in the retail industry and that next to the holidays, back-to-school is the one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year.  Some key stats from the NRF’s 2012 Back-to-School and College Surveys:

  • More than 50% of those surveyed who own smartphones will shop in some way via their mobile device for both school and college merchandise.
  • Smartphone usage to research products and compare prices back-to-school for K-12 is 33.3% and college 31.5%.
  • Nearly seven in 10 tablet owners will utilize their tablets to shop for school and college items.
  • 58.7% of smartphone owners looking for school merchandise will use their mobile devices.
  • These numbers rise among 25-34 year olds, with the majority of smartphone owners in this age group using their devices to research products and compare prices for back-to-school (54.2%) or college (50.1%).

Like any good student, a learned retailer’s mobile promotion starts with good education and sound preparation.  And all mobile marketing begins by building a valuable mobile database of their best customers with compliance and security in mind. Consumers must opt-in to have marketing messages sent to their mobile devices.  Even if you feel that your existing in-house databases are robust now, the increase in foot traffic during the back-to-school season is an optimum time to continue growing your mobile express consent database.

For example, last fall Genesys worked with Stage Stores, a multi-brand retailer with 800+ stores in 42 states, to increase customer awareness of their back-to-school campaigns, and ultimately drive more sales. Using a text-to-win sweepstakes advertised online and in-store, customers could sign up for specific mobile reminders.  After entering the sweepstakes, Stage Stores could use this opt-in data to develop new, targeted, and more personalized mobile campaigns.  All with a text message open rate above 90%! Pretty impressive compared to the average retail email open rate of less than 17%. Read the full Stage Stores success story here. 

The back-to-school season is like the mid-term exam the leads up to the big finale for retailers – the holidays. Read how to build your mobile marketing database quickly and compliantly, Five Best Practices for Building Your Mobile Marketing Opt-In Database.

Now that you’ve grown your mobile database, you need to put it into action for the holiday season.  To learn more about mobile marketing in preparation of the upcoming holiday season and all year-round, read our Mobile Marketing Best Practices.

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Mike Romano

About Mike Romano

Mike is responsible for identifying, developing and managing key strategic partnerships for Mobile Marketing at Genesys. Mike came to Genesys in July 2013 with the acquisition of SoundBite Communications. He is a driven and focused leader with a proven track record of accelerating organizational revenue and profitability by developing C-level relationships, building high-achieving sales teams and growing strategic partnership channels. He has led the sales and channel growth of two public companies and three technology start-ups. Highlights include building the second largest online advertising network with OnAir.com and helping create the largest publicly traded senior housing company at ARV Assisted Living. Mike was a co-founder of SmartReply and also played professional baseball for the Cincinnati Reds.