The retail landscape has changed beyond recognition. Intelligent devices are creating a culture of interconnectivity and consumers now expect a flexible shopping experience that reflects their interests and device preferences. 

Driven by mobile, the barriers between online and offline retail are dissolving. According to Deloitte, one-fifth of offline sales are influenced by mobile activity, such as comparing prices, checking in-store availability or reading product reviews. For retailers this crossover has opened the door to a host of new opportunities.  

Mobile device usage generates large stores of data. In fact, research from Cisco shows that mobile data traffic increased by 69% last year. This wealth of information enables retailers to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and prospects. Armed with detailed consumer insights, retailers can achieve more accurate targeting than ever before, increasing both online and offline revenues. But first, they must learn to use the right data and follow best practices to make a lasting and positive connection with shoppers. 

So, how can retailers successfully harness the power of mobile data for more effective cross-channel marketing?

Getting to know customers through mobile data

Last year Deloitte found that 63% of UK and German shoppers used multiple retail channels before purchasing. A quarter (25%) of shoppers used their mobile to compare prices while browsing in a physical retail location. There is no question that such behaviour has made the path to purchase more complicated. Yet the use of smart devices also produces a data trail that allows the consumer’s journey to be tracked as they seamlessly switch from one channel to another. 

Instead of relying on limited metrics — such as spend size, transaction history and CRM data — retailers can combine their existing analysis with mobile, significantly enhancing their understanding of purchase habits. With the addition of mobile data — such as location, audiences, content searches, and user preferences — retailers can gain a complete view of user activity from initial interest to the final conversion. Not only can retailers map individual paths to purchase, they can also gauge the effectiveness of each interaction with particular brands or products.  

Use mobile data to meet the consumer’s needs

Mobile data equips retailers with the information needed to implement real-time, personalised targeting, increasing engagement, conversions and brand awareness. Online retailers can take advantage of individual consumer insights — such as interests and location — to identify potential customers. Not only can they target influential touchpoints in the customer journey, they can also deliver relevant offers to prospective customers, enhancing conversion rates. 

Offline retailers can also utilise mobile data to understand consumers and build brand awareness. For example, a coffee chain looking to increase morning footfall could use geo-location technology to serve mobile ads to local consumers displaying the nearest store distance. 

Look at the whole picture to understand results

For long-term success, retailers must ensure they focus on more than the numbers. By analysing patterns of data over a period of time, using location data and content consumption behaviour, they can identify and target the right audience. 

Using geo-location data, retailers can also pinpoint the best channel and time to reach their desired audience when they will be at their most receptive. Location data may reveal that a campaign promoting a lunchtime meal deal generated high purchase rates amongst professionals in close proximity to the stores. Using this information, the marketer could set a target radius for future campaigns, serving tailored messages to local professionals using their mobile device in nearby retail stores.   

But tailoring campaigns is only the first step towards better marketing, and an accurate understanding of performance is crucial. Mobile location data allows marketers to measure ROI on digital and offline spend, enabling them to correctly attribute purchases and enhance future campaigns.

Mobile and connected devices have transformed the relationship between brands and consumers. The latter want to immediately access products via the channel of their choice, and they expect a united brand experience. With ComScore research showing that mobile devices account for 60% of the time spent browsing retail sites, the focus for online and offline retailers is clear. To maintain relevance with their customer base, retailers must take advantage of the insights offered by mobile data. 

The combination of mobile insights — such as location-based data and real-world interests — with existing metrics is powerful. By harnessing mobile data, retailers can create cross-channel strategies that dramatically increase revenues online and in store.