Social Media Mobile: The Next Battleground for Online Retail

Online retail marketers face a more complicated, marketing world today than ever before. Technology has created an online consumer, heavily influenced by a barrage of various digital and social media channels, and the evolution of the mobile platform where conversions take place at the slightest whim. Even if you are aware of the key tactics in this new marketing world and have tried a mix of campaigns (external, paid, social, etc.) to improve your site traffic and conversion rate, your efforts may still fail to deliver the results you need if you’re not being strategic.
The biggest boom in advertising has been in mobile, in fact, mobile advertising is the key driver of growth around the world with a forecasted spend of $64.25 billion worldwide on mobile in 2015, an increase of nearly 60% over 20141. With the success of mobile, it seems that even a well-designed magazine, TV or web ad campaign would be less effective if mobile wasn’t included in the mix. So what is it about mobile that makes it such an ideal marketing landscape and where do you start?  
The Social, Mobile Generation
Web 2.0 has brought us not only the advancement in technologies that make websites run faster and  look more pleasant, numerous social media platforms have been built and are used by a wide range of population. In fact, search and social media will still account for the largest share of US mobile ad revenue in 20152. One reason why social media is so ideal for advertisers and is a great place to start capitalizing off of the mobile revolution is that it makes it possible for companies to reach a large and diverse audience in a short period of time with minimal effort. It also introduces a model that allows users and companies to interact and collaborate with each other in real time and in increasingly more personal ways.
In addition, the widespread adoption of smartphones has helped the influence of social media go beyond the boundaries of time and space. Although people use smartphones for different purposes, most of them fall into the two biggest categories: content-creating and content-consuming. A mobile user can send a tweet to their Twitter followers to comment on a movie they saw by the time they walk out of the cinema. Or they could post a picture on Instagram of the beautiful sunset at Mount Haleakala to suggest others visit as well. These actions create content which ultimately influence others, while the user plays the role of content-consumer at that same time.
With all the conveniences of a smartphone, people influence others around them via social media either accidentally or deliberately. To help illustrate this better - if you are looking for a good place for dinner while on a business trip in a new city, you might check out the Yelp reviews of restaurants nearby to help in your selection. Or if you’re having trouble deciding between purchasing two items, you might poll your Facebook friends for their feedback or check Amazon reviews to see which product performs better. In a nut shell, with the help of smartphones, social media is able to influence individuals at any time and any place, in any form, from anyone and to anyone. 
When it comes to mobile, the opportunities are vast but you also need to have a well-devised and executed plan. Mobile consumption is spontaneous and swift; how can you capture the attention of this fast-moving target? How do you move content-consumers to conversions? And how do you ensure your visitors social/mobile experience is a positive one? Well, it’s time to take a serious look at how you engage your audience through social media channels on mobile platforms. 
Our Mobile Strategy team has helped many brands create a solid, mobile strategy; here are a couple of things you should consider in order to meet the needs of the ever-changing, mobile marketing industry:
  1. Be mobile-friendly.
    Any retail business should have a well-designed mobile application or at least a responsive website. Your customers need a place to research for their buying decisions, gather information about your business, or consume content and if your site isn’t up to par, they will be moving on from your site and on to another company’s. But be aware of a hastily implemented app or responsive site, the professionalism of your app or website will significantly determine your customer’s preference and trust in your business. 
  2. Be real.
    Any retail business should have a dedicated team to manage their official social media accounts. One core idea of Web 2.0 is to build a system that allows the active interaction between publishers and subscribers. In reality, customers expect and resonate more with an actual person responding to them behind the organizations account. Never make your social media account another newsletter whiteboard.
  3. Engage brand-influencers.
    It’s a good idea to network with various independent, social media content creators to promote your products and services. Reviews or advice from a familiar individual is much more convincing than one from a company, perceived to be trying to sell something.
  4. Be agile.
    Incorporate convenient mobile payment methods into your campaigns properly. Since visitors are constantly consuming information, it’s hard to predict when they are ready to convert. In fact, they might not even know when they are ready! Therefore, the best strategy is to make the transaction as convenient as possible. There are many different easy-to-use, mobile payment solutions available so take advantage of them.
  5. Know your data.
    It is important for any company to understand how their campaigns and customers interact by tracking the mobile app and website. Analytics tracking will allow you to make data-driven decisions and adapt campaigns and other investments as you gather direction from your data. In fact, you can implement a customized tracking system that allows you to integrate all of your data channels to help you track customers as they interact with your brand across each of your channels. 
The Rise of Social Media Commerce.
The last piece that encloses the social media ecosystem on mobile is the mobile payment. It is hard not to emphasize the importance of mobile payment when talking about ecommerce business models. Not only are mobile operating system providers, i.e. Apple and Google, putting a lot of effort into their own mobile payment systems, but social media providers are starting to build their own mobile payment platforms. The newly introduced ‘Send Money’ functionality in Facebook Messager and the money transfer option in WeChat, one of the most popular social media app in China, are paving the way for social media payment solutions. 
These different mobile payment methods greatly simplify the steps a user takes to complete a conversion. For example, in order to submit a transaction through some mobile applications, all you need to do is type in your password or simply let your phone scan your finger for ‘one-touch payment’ as the iPhone does for iTunes. These mobile payment methods don’t interrupt a user’s normal social media activities; as a result, it provides the user a smooth conversion experience and transfers the user to another influence/conversion path seamlessly. 
Do you need help with your mobile strategy or implementation? 
Feel free to reach out to us at or leave a comment below!
By Yang Zhang
About the Author:

Yang Zhang is a Senior Analyst at Stratigent.

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