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For ecommerce businesses looking to amp up their digital presence and beat out their competition, knowing the trends sooner is always better. In fact, it’s how you make sure your company is the one leading the industry, not following the breadcrumbs of those who analyzed the data and got a head start.
You already know that mobile is taking over the online shopping industry, but do you fully understand how this shift impacts nearly every aspect of your marketing? From SEO to email to checkout, being mobile-friendly is about much more than responsive web design — which you likely implemented 12 or more months ago.
In fact, in 2014, Mary Meeker predicted the rise of mobile apps, rather than mobile web, as consumers’ preference. Why? Because apps are cookie-free zones, meaning less ads and more convenient maneuverability. In other words, the ecommerce businesses that will win the loyalty and purchasing power of the internet will be those that focus first on consumer experience, with a particular investment in convenience and speed.
What does this mean for your mobile site and presence? Quite a bit. Whether you‘ve issued your own branded app, are using apps like Shopkick to expand your brand presence or are simply using a responsive site as your mobile touchpoint, your SEO, checkout and email experiences must be congruent with consumer preference and leading industry trends. We’ll break down these three key mobile marketing functions with expertise pulled from those working closing with enterprise-level ecommerce platforms all over the world.
SEO Trends: Mobile-Local Search Provides Improved Consumer Experience
When it comes to the biggest SEO trends in 2017, there are only two that matter: mobile SEO and local SEO.
“Google is focused on optimizing for mobile search and expects search queries from mobile devices to outpace those coming from desktops in 2015,” says Simon Serrano, SEO Manager at Bigcommerce. “Therefore, every business should make sure they have an amazing mobile version of their site that is fully SEO optimized and provides a great user experience. Sites who continue to use a desktop version of their site for mobile users are going to start seeing their mobile rankings drop.”
With mobile on the rise, local search becomes even more important. Most smartphone users are invested in locality recommendations, and have their geolocation data already turned on for improved maps, restaurant listings and more. Ecommerce can benefit from locally focused marketing, especially at the enterprise level where many stores also have brick-and-mortar locations.
Local SEO allows your mobile consumers to personalize their shopping experience. In today’s shopping world, consumers expect both choice and personalization options.
“As a CMO, your mobile strategy should include not only the choice of which channels to invest in (e.g., mobile apps, mobile sites), but also the level of personalization provided by these experiences,” says Ray Pun, Strategic Marketing for Mobile Solutions at Adobe Systems. “Every experience has implications in terms of opportunity cost, branding and loyalty:
- Revenue lift: How much incremental revenue will be lost if we don’t personalize?
- Brand image: Will the customer perceive that my brand lacks innovation and customer focus?
- Customer loyalty: Will my customer leave my mobile experience and switch to a competitor’s?
My key message to inspire your team is to ‘think mobile unique to deliver mobile delight’ for your customers.”
In fact, in July 2014, Google updated Pigeon with a new algorithm to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results more closely tied to traditional web search ranking signals. This means that while location and distance searches on Google are now more accurate, the importance of your SEO increases as well. Shorten both your on-page and meta content to optimize for smaller screen sizes, title tags and descriptions. Failing to create a good experience for mobile shoppers could result in lower conversion and a decrease in Google mobile-local search rankings.
Improve Your Mobile-Local SEO
- Claim your Google Business Listing
- Upgrade to a mobile-friendly responsive design
- Edit copy guidelines to fit mobile search (i.e., the shorter, the better)
- Diversify your marketing strategies and focus on quality. Google will reward trusted brands.
Mobile-Local Marketing Options Beyond SEO
Global Positioning System (GPS): GPS is considered the gold standard of geolocation because it does not require an internet connection. All modern smartphones have built-in GPS capabilities. According to the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) Location Terminology Guide, GPS is passively active as long as consumers have their settings enabled to allow access to this information — and most do automatically.
According to MMA, GPS has a few cons: It’s best used outdoors because “interference with building structures” while indoors limits the technology. Also, the audience that marketers can target with this technology is more limited because GPS opt-in may vary by each app used by the consumer.
Wi-Fi Triangulation: Wi-Fi triangulation targets people inside of stores and in dense urban areas by using sensors to collect information from nearby customer smartphones as they attempt to connect to Wi-Fi service. MMA notes that it has high reach and mid-level accuracy. For example, Nordstrom used this technology to detect customer movements and time spent within their stores in order to “increase staffing during certain high-traffic times or change the layout of a department.” However, the technology raises concerns about consumer privacy and the right to collect information about consumers via mobile devices without their knowledge or consent.
Bluetooth: Consider Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) indoor mapping for brick-and-mortar stores. Apple’s iBeacon is an example of Bluetooth technology. iBeacon uses BLE to send and receive signals with other Bluetooth devices, such as a transmitter in a physical store. Apple has rolled out iBeacons in its retail stores to deliver relevant communication to customers. For example, when walking around the Apple store, you could receive a push notification from the Apple Store app to tell you about accessories for sale, even leading you to their mobile site to purchase if the in-store lines are extremely long.
For more information on how the mobile shift affects your email marketing and checkout experiences, download our free 2015 Ecommerce Marketing Trends guide.
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