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The High Street Needs To Innovate or Die

The High Street Needs To Innovate or Die


Sadly, one in six shops in the UK currently lie empty. Since 2000 there have been 25,000 shops closed and it’s predicted a further 9,000 will shut by 2014. Recently, there have been far too many brand casualties like Republic, Jessops and HMV to name a few. It’s evident that brands are in constant danger of losing sales to the online space.

The Not-so Depressing Facts

A recent study by The Integrated Retailer shows that 65% of UK consumers would rather shop in-store (the basic human need to ‘try before you buy ‘ and impulse purchases still out-weigh an online purchase for a lot of consumers). To top this, it’s estimated that mobile coupon redemption rate will increase by 50% in 2013 (to 10 billion).

The facts are there, it’s up to brands to try and harness these to drive in-store sales. 
Incomparable to anything else, mobile is addictive. 21% of people would rather give up their TV than their smartphone. Yes to those sceptics out there, I understand you can use your mobile device as ‘TV’) – but If this hasn’t swayed you, take into account that 59% of the UK have a smartphone and 78% of them do not leave the home without it – it turns into a pretty powerful tool.

Without trying to bore you to death with stats I think the point I am trying to make is the opportunity to drive sales using a mobile device is endless – it’s about harnessing the power to do so.

The Current Offline Landscape

The affiliate industry has a huge mobile landscape and various publishers are doing some incredible things. From mobile coupons, location based advertising, augmented reality apps all the way to in-store cashback and more. The solutions are countless – it’s about creating the perfect solution to marry a marketing objective.

Whilst driving enormous volumes in-store is a must, we’ve seen a huge shift in some of our clients when it comes to in-store promotions. Driving footfall will always be a priority, but creating a campaign with intelligent insight is more and more relevant now we have the technology to do so. Mobile is by far the most powerful tool when it comes to in-store purchase behaviour – especially when you look at recent stats released by Google / Nielson entitled ‘Life 360 Mobile Search Moments’ - Participants who took part in this research were asked to record their mobile searches over a two week period. This resulted in more than 6,000 mobile searches being recorded. Nielson then did follow-ups based on these searches to see the actions which resulted from them. Soon, a pattern emerged and it was clear that there were 4 key actions.

  1. Website Visit (36%)
  2. Store Visit (17%)
  3. An actual purchase (17%)
  4. A phone call (7%)

Whilst these are pretty overwhelming stats to begin with, what’s more powerful is that 55% of these conversions happened within the first hour. In fact – if you break this down even further results show that 54% of mobile searches convert within 1 hour to an actual purchase. Take this information and put the user in an actual store and this figure jumps to 66%.

Now THAT is the trump card.

66% of users who conduct a search in-store made a purchase (and converted this in under an hour.)

So actually, whilst technology is incredible – and we’re all being the innovators of the industry, is it all actually all about just being found? Surely mobile search ads are just another annoying ‘spammy’ tool?! 

In fact, in the very same study is became evident that mobile ads are actually most effective during goal-orientated searches and searchers are more likely to notice ad’s when they are in a purchase environment (59% of this study actually said that they found the ad helpful.) 

Suddenly, my perfect shopping journey has become so much better with related content. 

Search Importance

Big brands harnessing the power of mobile to drive sales in-store but the importance still lies around search. To quote Steve Jobs, “You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new” – surely this is the same when it comes to search content. 

Controversially, the same can be said for real time bidding (RTB) mobile ads. The additional spin on this is that you can in fact create relevant content for specific users, in specific areas and serve up unique ads. The power for brands to create completely customized ads based on a user’s demographic and location now opens up an enormous landscape of possibility. 

Recently, and by far one of the best case studies I can truly find to encapsulate this is focused on location-based advertising. Blis-Media focus on a platform which allows RTB and strongly looks to target users based on their location. For example – ‘if one wished to target an AB1 audience, we expect to find them in an airport business lounge or five star hotel’ – Greg Isbister, CEO Blis Media. Gaining access to real-time user information means you can create a ‘profile’ around this user – and essentially, create a picture. Of course this means you can create a unique targeted ad which ultimately impact click through rates.

Using this data and ability to serve up unique ads depending on a user’s location means we can target as follows. 

Brands Falling By the Wayside 

Many brands will be left behind without the importance placed on mobile – not just using mobile to harness more sales, but using mobile to be found. 

Placing the importance on all the innovative things mobile does, and the ability for us to have such a greater understanding about a user, means more and more brands are harnessing the power to do so. Hitting customers at the right time means that brands like this will thrive in the vast ever-growing mobile world.

As much as I would love to believe that this, and only this, will save the high-street, I am under no illusion that there are many external factors that influence brands and their ability to use mobile powerfully, or summed up nicely, put mobile at the heart of their marketing plans.

Relevancy is key and I truly believe enabling users to find you is what will enable brands to capture the market.

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Angie Goodchild

Angie Goodchild

Angie is mobile & product manager at, one of the largest affiliates in the UK. Angie was hired to re-invent TopCashback’s mobile proposition (both for offline and online sales) and is purely focused on creating a truly amazing mobile experience.

Prior to working at Angie worked for a mobile coupon network provider, a large voucher code site and prior to that, was client side at BSkyB. Self-proclaimed mobile geek and lover of infographics, Angie has wide experience from working in different industries, and used this applied knowledge from various sectors to ensure TopCashback has one of the most advanced mobile propositions.

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