First came Black Friday, then Cyber Monday, thus creating the perfect bookends to a shopping-filled holiday weekend. Now a new shopping day has dawned –Thanksgiving Day itself, dubbed Mobile Thursday. This is shaping up to be a tremendous opportunity for retailers and marketers to leverage the mobile device; cutting through the clutter of traditional advertising and connecting with deal-thirsty consumers. This new day has now transformed Black Friday into a four-day shopping extravaganza! You no longer need to stand in line outside a store Thursday at midnight, the deals are delivered in the palm of your hand while the turkey is still on the table.
Mobile is now poised after years of false promises to finally hit critical mass this holiday season with four out of five US smartphone owners using a mobile phone to shop, according to a survey done in partnership by Google and marketing research firm Ipsos. The survey went on to say that 79% of these smartphone owners will use their phones to help with product searches and price shopping, and 70% of those will use their phones while inside a store location.
Although mobile commerce (M-commerce) is only expected to be 2% of total E-commerce in 2011, or $6.0 Billion, it is quickly gaining traction and is expected to grow to 7%, or $31.0 Billion, of E-commerce by 2016. In addition, a recent survey returned a very nice result supporting this growing trend. Of the 1,000 consumers surveyed — 62% said they’d be willing to make a purchase on their mobile device. This is only going to trend higher.
And how are retailers engaging these estimated 60 million M-commerce consumers this Thanksgiving weekend? Well, quite honestly, many retailers still have a way to go in developing an effective and integrated organizational mobile strategy, but at least they are trying. Many are still relying on purely tactical marketing methods such as mobile club/loyalty program calls to action or mediocre mobile applications that seem to have been quickly developed to keep up with new marketing trends and less about the customer experience.
While the above numbers and trends are encouraging, marketers taking part in Mobile Thursday shouldn’t forget that mobile campaigns and corresponding call-to-action offerings should still be tailored to individual customer needs that requires gathering accurate and timely customer information, and begins by gaining a customers’ opt-in/express consent to engage with them via mobile marketing.
For marketers and retailers, Thanksgiving Day 2011 marks the convergence of mobile capabilities with exploding consumer receptivity thus creating a new launch pad for the retail holiday shopping season. So, whether you are kicking back on the couch this Thanksgiving, or shopping in a store, don’t forget the newest tool in your savvy shopper arsenal – your smartphone is right in hand.