In today’s market, leading with a mobile-first digital strategy is a must. Mobile-centric commerce represents the present and future of retail and should be the first – and last! – consideration in your brand's strategic plan.

Between May 2016 and April 2017, 55% percent of emails were opened on mobile phones. Content must be optimized, readable, responsive, and functional on mobile devices. With top brands regularly reaching out to their millions of subscribers, non-optimized emails and sites can damage branding efforts. Seemingly small mistakes can significantly impact the way consumers perceive, interact with, and prioritize their consumer loyalties.

Quick Wins. Impactful Results.

Quick wins, like using shorter subject lines, clean templates, and highly visible, clear call-to-action buttons can show immediate, impactful results. Best-in-class brands will go further, drilling deep into existing consumer data to segment and send out a plurality of emails that use optimal subject line length and link emails to brand mobile apps or mobile-specific content. Brands put their reputation on the line with each campaign.

“Marketing efforts, and in effect your brand, will be deprioritized by a growing number of subscribers and customers if a generic mobile marketing approach is taken. It’s now essential to reach your audience with a voice that speaks to their needs and their specific tastes.

In the past, the natural growth in mobile ownership and usage meant that all you had to do was accommodate a mobile experience and you would see growth in traffic and conversion on your site. We are now reaching a saturation point in the penetration of smartphone ownership in the US. Those who aren't moving toward customization through data segmentation, will quickly fall behind competitors and lose market share in the process.

The nature of how customers interact with their phone means it is now the best place to connect with prospects uniquely with optimized, smart data, and personalization. This can't be done without showing customer knowledge - understanding personal tastes, levers to activate, how they like to be contacted, when they like to be contacted, and what granularized products they may be interested in. Clean, organized data and basic machine learning allow the modern retailer to do that." - E-commerce legend and CTO of One Rockwell, Paul Healion

Going the Distance

But it’s not enough to have dynamic, device-designed emails if companies stop their efforts there. Mirroring the desktop version of a site for mobile dimensions is – contrary to popular belief – not optimizing your brand.

In a report released by Gartner Media’s L2 in October 2017, only 12% of mobile mirrored sites had UX that was specific to the medium. Brands can – and must – do better. The site experience needs to continue the commerce conversation in a way that is specific to the mobile experience. This presents an opportunity for brands to distinguish themselves as apart from the pack when it comes to site experience and interaction, as these are not yet widely adopted practices.

Industry leaders are utilizing uniquely mobile experiences, mobile-specific U features, and streamlined, uber-efficient checkout processes to differentiate themselves from competitors. “The modern user journey to conversion isn't a straight path from email to desktop to purchase” explains 20-year industry expert Healion.

“Giving customers the tools they need in the medium they are experiencing your brand, is paramount if you want to see increased engagement and loyalty. Understanding how your customers want to interact with your brand specific to the channel is fundamental to customer retention.

If, for example, you don't offer multiple one-click checkout options you may alienate a portion of your early-adopter customer base. Don't just default to the lowest hanging fruit solution like Apple Pay. Have that and also offer Amazon Pay and Google Pay. If you have a growing Asian market presence, Alipay is essential, but look beyond that too."

Optimize to Survive – and Thrive

In an increasingly on-the-go e-commerce culture in which over 26% of desktop sales also have a mobile touchpoint (Criteo), customers are demanding that brands reach them where they already are. A happy marriage of desktop with mobile-specific design and functionality can bring synergy, efficiency, and long-term stickiness to the brand’s purchase journey.

“Generally speaking, mobile must be a holistic, overarching, and consistent pillar of commerce in order for brands to be competitive in the future and keep pace. Today, it’s the most important strategic cornerstone for retail brands to survive and thrive.” - Healion

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