Cart Abandonment is a major problem for retailers

Don’t lose your customers’ during the last mile.

“I want those shoes! Not the ones you’re recommending because you don’t have my size, those shoes!” I yelled this at my computer screen a few nights ago when a retailer did not have the shoe size I wanted. “Gah! Now I have to look elsewhere, maybe I should just buy them from Amazon.”

I am not alone in my cart abandonment story. According to 29 unique studies examined by The Baymard Institute, the average rate of cart abandonment is 68%. Cart abandonment is a serious issue for retailers, and has helped spawn the entire retargeting marketing industry. So, do I expect a retailer to have my personal size and preferred style available at all times? No, that’s not efficient. Instead, retailers should do something simple; just let me know when my item will be back in stock. I know, sounds crazy simple but it’s a tactic few retailers use. Retargeting can be a good route, but think about it from the customer’s perspective. They went to your site, you didn’t have what they wanted, then for weeks you taunt them with pictures of items they can’t have. How rude!

So how can you resolve your cart abandonment issues? The truth is, I didn’t really need those shoes right then. I just need to know that I will get them eventually. So how do you resolve the cart abandonment issue?  Email and text alerts work great. A simple checkbox like the one below serves two distinct purposes; it eases my troubled mind and opts me into a mobile program.

Stuart Weitzman integrates mobile messaging for back in-stock notifications.

See more on how Stuart Weitzman integrates mobile messaging into their ecommerce site.

By letting me know I will have those badass kicks when they arrive, I am a much happier customer. Since, I happily shared my mobile phone number, I might receive a message like the one below:

Example of back in-stock notifications via SMS

Now, retailer, you have something really special, my digits. You have my number, my permission to send me messages, and you know my shoe size. Now start sending me some sweet deals on fly new shoes. Without this tiny little notification widget on your website I was unsatisfied, infuriated, and heading to a different retailer. Add in a “notify me when avalaible button” and I am happy, planning on heading back to your site, and a new member of your loyalty program.

My summer tan is quickly fading and all of a sudden it’s dark at 5pm. People everywhere are carrying some type of pumpkin flavored drink (what even is pumpkin spice anyways?!) and deep down, I know: it’s coming. The strange mix of dread and delight that settles in at the onset of holiday shopping mayhem. Time to deck the halls, right?

It’s also that time of year when you’re taunted by every form of advertising, urging you to not feel guilty for shopping. And for me, that means lounging in bed on a lazy Saturday morning clicking “Add to Cart.” Usually it’s more like, “One for you and, okay… one for me.”

So the question becomes: how do you encourage your customers with extra short attention spans (thanks to too many PSL’s and non-stop family time) to stay focused for 5 minutes and not end up on some Buzzfeed article in search of momentary solace from “holiday cheer”?

The answer: Don’t overwhelm and over-advertise to your customers. Instead, streamline their experience and cut through the holiday chaos by building personal relationships over mobile.

According to Deloitte, mobile interactions are expected to increase store traffic by 50% this holiday season. That’s a deal that can’t wait ‘til Black Friday. So, how do you make sure you’re taking advantage of the projected $55 billion budget to be spent on mobile marketing by 2015?

tapjoy_holiday-shoppingHoliday Shopping Habits of Mobile Consumers, Source: Tapjoy

Below are six tips to help make your customers’ shopping experiences merry and bright:

  1. Create exclusive mobile-only offers. Let your customers feel extra special. Make these offers time-sensitive and send them on specific major shopping days (i.e. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Eve).
  2. Celebrate mobile coupons. Consumers are projected to redeem 10 billion mobile coupons this year alone, according to research from Juniper. That makes consumers 10x more likely to redeem a mobile coupon than a traditional print coupon. Sorry, Valpak!
  3. Don’t forget about social. During the holidays, companies feel particularly giving.  Many brands sponsor and promote their favorite charity on social media, and donate a percentage of their profits for a worthy cause. Use the power of social media to make it simple for your customers to share great mobile deals on their social networks. Viral sharing campaigns, whether charitable or offer-based, are extremely successful and provide your company with more exposure and, in turn, more customers.
  4. Let your customers play. Your target customer may be adults ages 18-50, but at our core, we are kids that still love the thrill of games and winning. In fact, 74% of people play games for more than 2 hours per week. Create gamified experiences for your customers through surveys, spinner coupons and surprises.
  5. Make sure your site is mobile optimized. This is pretty much a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many reputable shopping sites I visit redirect me 3 or 4 times until I land on a poorly designed mobile site. Talk about a suboptimal user experience and total loss of my dollars.
  6. Send your customers targeted messages. SMS is the most direct and personalized channel to reach your consumers. Not to mention, it’s exponentially more affordable than television, radio and print, and has a measurable ROI. Create personalized interactions with customers who have opted-in to your SMS program and remember that these are your most loyal customers. Make them feel that way by using customer data to send targeted, meaningful messages at the right time.

Now there’s no longer an excuse for those mass emails or redundant jingles on television. You now know that mobile marketing and holiday shopping go together like a good scotch and a fireplace, so make me feel special and make it super simple for me to shop. Next time I’m lounging around in my pj’s on a Saturday morning and I receive a text with your promo code, I’ll most likely use it.

For more retail marketing know-how, check out our retail marketing LookBook. And, as always, feel free to give us a holler. We’d love to connect!

MMS or “Multimedia Messaging Service” is making its mark and savvy marketers are taking note. What’s the difference between MMS and SMS? The difference is an increase in engagement and interactivity. Using MMS allows brands to send video, images, and audio directly to a customer’s phone. MMS has all the standard mobile messaging stats: 97% open rate, majority of messages opened within ~4 minutes, and if you’re sending coupons, you can expect a 10x redemption rate compared to traditional channels.  If that’s not enough, here are some enticing MMS stats:

  • 45% of consumers are more likely to return to a retailer after seeing a video
  • 50% of customers feel more engaged with a retailer after watching a video
  • 30% average conversion rate for MMS messages

To learn more, check out our MMS eBook:

You might be wondering why everyone isn’t using MMS already, given all the compelling reasons we’ve outlined here (and in our eBook). The answer is that until recently, MMS has been a huge pain! Mobile phones are changing size, shape and operating systems so quickly that it’s been incredibly difficult for mobile messaging vendors to send a perfectly sized image or video for every device. Unless a vendor edited a unique version of each video or image, the end user would receive a wonky image or video– not the best branding for your company.

Fast forward to today, and things are much different. Instead of manually editing every photo / video and incurring costly sending fees, you can simply log in to a mobile messaging platform that supports MMS (like Waterfall), upload an image, and let the software do its thing. This is a huge step toward effortlessly engaging a customer in an image-focused culture. With the incredible ease of sending MMS, we expect major brands to be integrating MMS deeply into their programs in the near future.

The explosive use of mobile by consumers and businesses has resulted in a shift of traditional and digital marketing budgets to the highest conversion medium available – mobile. Leaders in the mobile marketing evolution like Waterfall are seeking out strategic partnerships and acquisitions to help clients drive mobile customer engagement across the entire customer journey. As a cloud mobile marketing leader, we are thrilled to announce the acquisition of the mobile marketing services division of Archer USA, Inc.

The acquisition expands our solution portfolio, strengthens the partner channel and further establishes our dominance in the mobile marketing arena. We’ve helped brands, retailers and agencies build meaningful customer relationships through mobile messaging by combining mobile engagement solutions and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies for more than a decade. Building on our commitment to give our customers the most robust mobile solution on the market, we will leverage Archer’s solutions to power innovative video processing, real-time rich media message personalization, enterprise-grade messaging gateways, and secure, encrypted delivery capabilities. The combined platform gives marketers deliver personal and timely campaigns for the highest quality and relevant end-user experience.

Interested in learning how market leaders like 7-Eleven, ABC, Acxiom, American Eagle Outfitters, Anheuser-Busch, Constant Contact, Experian, FedEx, Microsoft, Neiman Marcus, Nuance, PETA, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, the U.S. Army and Western Union are tapping the power of the Waterfall platform to drive successful mobile-enabled marketing initiatives? We’d love to share our stories and best practices with you.

Today is Veterans Day. In addition to being grateful and giving our thanks to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, we’d also like to give a special nod of the head and touch of the heart to Walter S. (Steve) Sechrest. 

The father of our CEO and a 20-year veteran of the Air Force, Steve is a retired Lt. Colonel F-4 fighter pilot with service in both the Vietnam War and the Cold War in Western Europe and Turkey.

On behalf of the entire company, Steve, I want to express our profound gratitude for your past service and to say we’re thinking of you on this day, in your current battle.

One more fight, sir.

Finding an SMS marketing vendor is a lot like dating. You want a provider you can depend on, one that blends seamlessly with your friends (other CRM / email systems) and one that will continue to help you grow. But how easy is it to find your perfect match in the SMS dating world?

Rob Woodbridge from Untether.TV, a blog navigating the mobile marketing world, interviewed Greg Hickman from Mobile Mixed on the top 5 best SMS marketing vendors. Greg named Waterfall as his top choice for an SMS Marketing Provider, citing multiple reasons, including some of the following, which we are deeming as must-haves when choosing your provider:

1) Software

Technology and innovation move fast. You want a partner who can not only keep up with today, but also continue evolving long-term. Choose a partner who can help you analyze your campaigns’ success with segmentation tools, A/B testing, API connectivity and the ability to fulfill your SMS marketing dreams with customization. Make sure your partner has history with adding new channels to its offering, as well as data management.

2) Compliance

This one’s a biggie. You want a partner who will protect you and stay up-to-date on the ever-changing mobile marketing compliance rules. Waterfall’s Head of Strategy, Matt Silk, sits on the governing board for the Mobile Marketing Association and helps shape these regulations. You can avoid campaign hiccups and audits by finding a partner who will take care of your needs, and together, develop a compliant action plan with continued check-ins.

3) Support

Choose a partner who is supportive and responsive when times get tough. The worst thing is to have an unresponsive or uncaring partner, and the same goes for your vendor relationships. A good partner will not only help mitigate issues, but constantly provide feedback to ensure your campaigns are as successful as they can be, warranting you the greatest ROI. A strong support system is key for having an effective SMS marketing campaign.

4) Integration

You want your mobile messaging provider to seamlessly integrate with your other systems. Choose a partner with a cross-channel marketing and CRM understanding for complete campaign success and customer lifetime value. Be sure that your provider has a robust API and maximizes customer data.

There you have it – our outline for the most important qualities in your search for the perfect SMS partner. To learn more, check out our in-depth guide to choosing the best SMS vendor, complete with a handy checklist, and for even more information, visit Waterfall.com.

Industry data and vendor surveys are certainly not something new. In fact, we are inundated with facts and figures on a daily basis and most of us are left wondering what it all means. Specifically in our industry, most research centers around how and when brands engage with consumers via mobile devices. But for most marketers the challenge is on the basics of mobile marketing like how to measure effectiveness – less about what message you are delivering or when.

At Waterfall, we decided our best source of information on the mobile marketing industry is our customers. We work with some of the smartest, mobile marketing savvy people in the industry who use technology and test messages and forms of communication every single day. So, what did they say?

It was interesting for us, as there seems to be a significant disconnect in the industry perception of how brands are using mobile to push campaigns. For example, our survey found that most marketers measure mobile campaign success by lead conversion rates but call out brand awareness as their number one mobile marketing priority.

mobile-marketing-effectiveness

However, when asked about mobile marketing priorities, marketers are very clear — driving mobile purchases is not the most important (30 percent), whereas building brand awareness and increasing customer retention are very/most important (70 percent and 68 percent respectively). Interestingly, respondents were divided about the importance of mobile to drive in-store traffic/sales – 28 percent cited it as not important, while 24 percent thought it was one of the most important mobile marketing priorities.

mobile-marketing-priorities

Feel free to reach out to me for the complete survey data from our press release and check out a few more stats below.

Last week was the FutureM conference in Boston. This conference focused on giving brands insight into the future of marketing. Like any business conference, it was chock-full of jargon like omni-channel, CRM, cross channel, CPC, millennials, CES, etc. However, one theme stood out amongst the laundry list of marketing ideas: Strategy before technology.

Representatives from Alex and Ani, Talbots and Rue La La discussed different technological solutions they had implemented to improve customer experience and drive sales. Notably, each one stressed that they had failed in the past by implementing a technology or a new channel without having a clear reason for why they were doing it. Developing an app, building a mobile website, and investing in social media were all avenues they went down with no real plan: not surprisingly, it did not produce optimal results.

Marketing technology has been evolving rapidly in both the number of channels (Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.) and the ways in which marketers can track specific customers. FutureM speakers noted that while marketers have no control over what new channels exist, they can control the way they track customers via these channels.

Lollapalooza’s RFID wristbands, where festival goers could purchase food, drink and merch with just the wristband, are a prime example of simple technology that provided an easily trackable ROI. Marketers stressed the importance of picking a metric they wanted to move, coming up with a strategy to move that metric, then finding the technology to accomplish just that.

From small online retailers to giants like Mastercard, marketers appeared to want to get back to basics. Marketers had a strong desire to cut campaigns that used the newest technology in favor of simple technology that can be easily tracked. It’s ironic that FutureM was less about new technology and more about what has worked in the past.

To learn more about how Waterfall keeps it simple and effective with all things mobile marketing, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.

 

Before you lock yourself into holiday planning and execution, there are a couple of great events just around the corner that Waterfall will be attending, and you should too.

1) Shop.org Summit September 29-October 1, Seattle, WA

5,200 professionals will gather in Seattle for the Shop.org Summit, a 2½ day event specifically for digital and multichannel retailers. Get the rush of discovering new ideas, getting actionable takeaways and building strong relationships with the brightest and most innovative players in the digital retail world.

2) eBev2014: Navigating Digital, Mobile and Social Media Marketing in the Beverage Industry October 1-3, Atlanta, GA

The world’s premier digital/integrated beverage marketing conference. With presentations from the industry’s finest marketers focused on driving business results, as well as input from the leading agencies and technology providers, eBev 2014 is truly an all-inclusive forum for sharing wisdom, fostering business relationships, and building for the future. Hear from a full spectrum of beverage brands, including: PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller, Coca-Cola, Pernod Ricard, Unilever, Bolthouse Farms, FIJI Water, Bacardi, Vermont Hard Cider… and many more! Waterfall is leading a panel, two roundtables and running an interaction engagement campaign with amazing prizes. We also have discount passes, contact us now at sales@waterfall.com if interested.

Be on the lookout for live updates on Twitter from @matthewsilk and @michaelweaver. We’ll be posting our take on top sessions for those who can’t make it to the events in person.

In you are attending or would like to attend, please let us know as we’d love to connect.

The recent Econsultantcy/Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2014 Digital Trends provides empirical survey data underlining what we at Waterfall know and live—that the future of marketing is mobile, with segmentation/personalization mission critical to the content delivered via targeted mobile marketing to specific customer groups or individual consumers. The recently published report draws on a global survey of more than 2,500 marketing and Internet professionals carried out at the end of 2013. The high level findings concluded that:

  • Customer experience, mobile and content marketing are the major imperatives
  • Personalization, social, data and cross-channel campaign management are the most critical needs and focus
  • Increased importance is being attached to understanding customer behavior on mobile devices
  • Companies are prioritizing the use of data from different channels to optimize overall customer experience

While the evolution toward a unified approach to digital marketing is a key characteristic and goal of best-of-breed brands and companies, only 23% of the respondents believe they have the marketing technology they need to succeed. This is both good and bad news. The bad news is one would hope that marketers would be further down the road in responding to what today’s consumers are already doing with their digital devices. The good news is this gap represents an amazing opportunity for “on the ball” brands and organizations to gain a competitive advantage. They just need to get the right technology solutions up and running to address the new marketing paradigm of targeted mobile marketing.

These findings also point to the fact that the mobile evolution will not be achieved simply with technology. Key expertise and resources – both external and internal – need to be invested and deployed to address these pressing needs and opportunities.

Adobe Survey Findings On Targeted Mobile Marketing

Overall, the report repeated over and over two imperatives: (1) the need to engage customers via targeted mobile marketing, and (2) that this engagement must be personal in nature.

Across company and agency respondents, the #1 most exciting opportunity in 2014 is “mobile,” chosen by 1 in 5 respondents, followed by “customer experience,” “content marketing,” “multichannel campaign management” and “personalization.” Mobile cuts across all customer experiences, tying them together. It has the ability to fuse the digital and physical world, and connects the dots of the retail customer experience.

In comparing B2C vs. B2B, again the #1 single most exciting opportunity for the respondent organizations in B2C marketing is “mobile” (22%). The #1 opportunity for B2B is “content marketing” (24%), with “customer experience” second (15%) and “mobile” third (10%).

For B2C, the top priority digital-related area for 2014 is “ targeting and personalization,” with 1 in 3 respondents indicating that relevance of customer messaging was their primary focus, closely followed by “conversion rate optimization,” “social media engagement” and “mobile optimization.”

Of particular interest was when the marketers had to look in the mirror regarding this sea change. When asked if they had the marketing technology they need to succeed, a whopping 44% said “no.” An additional 33% said they were “neutral,” which in reality probably adds even more to the “no” column. Only 23% confirmed a “yes”. This underlines the critical disconnect between how today’s customer wants to communicate and engage with brands, and brands’ inability to speak the same language. It’s as if the proverbial tin cans connected with string are missing a can at one end (listening with string in your ear is not a good look).

A Quick Pitch

So, what to do, what to do…..ah yes (here it comes)! Give us a call. If you, like most marketers and agencies, know that mobile must be addressed and in a big way, Waterfall is here to help you with the two big elephants in the room–targeted mobile marketing and personalization. We have the technology to master mobile messaging in all flavors, including SMS, MMS, push, IVR –even social messaging delivery.

Why mobile messaging you ask? Because it’s the glue of not only mobile engagement, but customer engagement across all digital and traditional channels. Overall, it’s important to understand that technology is useless without the expertise to help build and measure the success of mobile initiatives against specific business and marketing objectives.

That’s where our team comes in. We have seasoned professionals that can guide you from strategy to execution and continue to monitor mobile initiatives across the customer lifecycle.

Executing Targeted Mobile Marketing

OK, pitch over. The point here is that marketers and agencies have clearly voiced their needs and perceived opportunities in the marketplace. There are companies who are there to help, just give them a call and they’ll be happy to show you how easy (and affordable) mobile-enabled personalized engagement can be.

Any other questions? Please let us know by posting to the comments.